My Birth Story
I was shocked but excited to discover I was pregnant, I had always been such a maternal person. I was convinced my pregnancy would be a breeze. I eagerly awaited my growing bump and struggled not to let on to anyone but close family that I was pregnant. Unfortunately I suffered from awful morning sickness which lasted all day so work cottoned on quite fast.
At around 8 weeks I started to get pains on one side of my abdomen and was sent to the hospital for a scan with a suspected ectopic pregnancy. Thankfully everything was alright, seeing my babys’ heartbeat made it all seem so real. It was suggested I had a UTI and I was prescribed a course of antibiotics, which seemed to help and the pain eased. At around 12 weeks I started to get abdominal pains again. It was always put down to a UTI although my urine tests were coming back negative. I was having trouble sleeping because of the pain but no one seemed to have any answers. On top of it all my blood pressure dipped quite low and I was regularly fainting. My GP signed me off work.
Eventually someone seemed to have an answer to why I was in so much pain. I was told I had round ligament pain which was caused by the ligaments stretching to make room for my growing baby; unfortunately there was nothing they could do. I learnt to live with the pain but then it started to change, I was getting sharp stabbing pains in my groin and it was painful using the stairs. I made an appointment with my GP I never made it to the appointment because I woke up 2 days later in agony. I could hardly separate my legs and could not get out of bed, using the stairs was impossible. I phoned my partner who called the doctor for me and came home. The GP came around to see me and examined me. He explained it was a problem with my pelvis and was unlikely to improve throughout the pregnancy; I needed to see a consultant.
The next day I went to the hospital so see the consultant. I was walking very slowly, practically shuffling. I was called through and an SHO examined me (I never saw the consultant). He poked my pelvis so hard I nearly screamed and asked where the pain was. I explained my groin and hips were agony, I had some pain down my thighs when I walked and slight lower back pain. He told me it was a problem with the ligaments from my spine and said I would need to see a physiotherapist; I would receive an appointment in a few weeks. I was shocked and explained that I could not walk, I needed something sooner. Eventually he agreed to put me through as an urgent referral. I took the referral to the Physiotherapist department myself to speed the process up and on the way I read it. I was shocked to discover he had ignored what I had said and had altered my symptoms to fit his diagnoses. He had stated the pain was in my back and thighs and had not mentioned my groin or hips.
Thankfully, the physiotherapists were fantastic. The first person to look at me knew straight away what was wrong from the way I walked before I even opened my mouth. She fitted me with a pelvic belt and made an appointment for me to see a specialist. She also gave me information on Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction; at last my condition had a name.
I read up on SPD and discovered round ligament pain can often lead onto SPD. I had been lucky my GP had recognised the signs, as it is often put down to being ‘one of the pregnancy aches and pains’ so ignored. I found out SPD is caused by the production of the hormone Relaxin in the body, which softens the ligaments in your pelvis in order to make your babys’ passage through your pelvis as easy as possible. With SPD it causes the ligaments to soften too much, which allows for increased movement in the pelvis. This can lead to a great deal of pain and discomfort.
When I saw Mo, my physiotherapist, she was surprised at how bad my case of SPD was. She manipulated my pelvis to make it more comfortable and gave me some exercises. She also gave me some crutches and warned me that some women end up in a wheelchair. I was determined this was not going to happen.
I had already been signed off work so I was now stuck at home every day. Walking was getting more and more painful and I was in agony trying to turn over in bed. To get in the car I had to sit down and then swing my legs in together and vice versa to get out. If I forgot and opened my legs it was agony. It took me 5 minutes at least just to get up the stairs, especially at night when the pain was at its worse. My partner tried to help but there was not much he could do. Some nights he would go out to the kitchen or the garage just so he could not hear me sobbing as he felt bad that he could not help me. I wore satin pyjamas to bed as it made it easier to roll over but it was still agony.
One night I got fed up with it all, I was going out for a meal with my girlfriends and went out without my crutches, I was fed up with it taking over my life. That night I did not sleep, I just sat on the edge of the bed, exhausted but unable to lie down with the excruciating pain.
After weeks of agony I caved in. I contacted the Red Cross and arranged to borrow a wheelchair until the end of my pregnancy. I felt low and deflated but I refused to let it overshadow my pregnancy. With every kick I smiled, even when the kicks were aimed at my pelvis and it felt as though I was tearing in two.
My first time out in the wheelchair was around the supermarket. Tony pushed the trolley and I wheeled myself, I was very conscious of the way people looked at me, especially when they spotted my bump. It was as though someone in a wheelchair could not be pregnant. I had been in the shop less than 2 minutes when someone first cut in front of me. I assumed they had not seen me, then it happened more and more and I realised people were intentionally doing it because they did not want to get stuck behind a wheelchair user. Tony was getting some vegetables so I stopped for a second at the side, to rest my arms. Suddenly I felt the wheelchair moving, someone had physically moved me to get to what they wanted. They obviously felt asking me to move would be too difficult! I was livid; I got the car keys from Tony and left the shop, tears stinging my eyes.
After that I was nervous about using the wheelchair and used my crutches again but soon it was impossible to go out unless I used the wheelchair. With the help of Tony I grew in confidence and although people still looked down at me and cut me up, I did not care. My mum took me to Peterborough to do our last bits of baby shopping and we laughed about her pushing me about again, as she had when I had been a baby myself.
Unfortunately, the SPD was now so bad I could not use the stairs at all, so every night Tony made me up the sofa bed for me before going up to bed. I missed him so much and hated what was happening to me. I called the hospital one morning when the pain was too much and they took me in, they examined me and prescribed some stronger painkillers, they hardly touched the pain. I felt terrible taking them, worried about what harm I was doing to my unborn child.
About a week later I woke up screaming in pain. I was due to see the midwife that day (at home) but I called the hospital. They told me there was nothing they could do for me. I called Zoe (my midwife) and she said she would sort it out. When she arrived at my house she told me to pack an overnight bag and get myself to the hospital as she had called them and told them they had to admit me.
I called my mum who left work and came to pick me up. She took me to the hospital and I was prescribed diamorphine injections. I felt terrible but they assured me the baby would be monitored and I was in so much pain I did not argue. That night I felt slightly better but by the morning I was back to being in agony. I was moved to a bed closer to the door so I would be closer to the toilet as walking was becoming increasingly difficult. I was put onto 2 doses of morphine a day with extra painkillers in between, on the 3rd day I got a lot worse. Tony was with me and getting ready to leave for the night, I lifted myself forward to say goodnight and my pelvis locked. I was in absolute agony, screaming and crying in pain. Tony held me and called a midwife who tried to move me, increasing the pain ten fold. Eventually, the pain subsided, they gave me some painkillers but from then on I could not bare weight on my legs at all. I had to be helped into my wheelchair to go to the loo and helped in the shower. One night the midwife made me use a bed pan instead of taking me to the toilet. I felt like I was not a person anymore. I started pushing to be induced and I wanted to know if I was going to be capable of giving birth. They assured me I would be fine, started a course of prostaglandin gel to soften my cervix and induce labour. I needed gas and air just to open my legs far enough for the gel to be inserted.
It went nowhere, the gel did nothing, and in the mean time I was pushing more and more morphine on my unborn baby. I was desperate for a natural birth but it was all getting too much, I asked for a caesarean and was told if I had not gone into labour in 2 days they would. That night it was decided for me when the foetal heart rate rose. They monitored me all night and at 2am took me through to the labour ward. I was monitored again but it had calmed down so they decided to check again in the morning.
I was exhausted after a week with no sleep; the consultant suggested I might have a busy day tomorrow so she prescribed sleeping pills. That combined with the fact that for the first time in a week I was not in a room with 4 snoring pregnant women, I slept.
The following morning I spoke to a midwife who said that whatever happened I would not be in until the afternoon. My mum had called and been told I had been sent through to the labour ward and was panicking so I called her and told her I would speak to her later. She spoke to Tony and he went to work.
A monitor was attached to my tummy and the heart rate was monitored again. I could tell it wasn’t right straight away and after 20 minutes someone came through and told me I was having a caesarean straight away and started prepping me. Someone told me Tony had been called and told to rush back from work; he had only just walked in the door and worked an hour away. The next bit is all a blur as I was taken through to the theatre. Thankfully my friends mum was working there and she helped put me at ease. I was given a spinal block and had a drip put in my hand then a catheter inserted. I was panicking Tony would not get there, then someone came in and told me he had arrived, the next thing I knew he was there next to me, looking very sexy in his scrubs. All I could think about was that I had been told because of the morphine the baby would be floppy and might need resuscitation. The midwife asked if we had a preference and Tony admitted he wanted a little boy. The next thing I knew there was crying and the midwife said ‘it’s a boy’ and Tony grinned as they lifted up my little boy to show me. He had thick dark hair which really shocked me and he was perfect. They asked if we had a name and we both said Edward so it was decided then and there.
I breastfed Edward as soon as I was back on recovery, he then slept until 8pm. I was on a high and felt on top of the world, although I was still in pain from my caesarean scar, I needed morphine and painkillers still. We had a good night, although Edward was hungry and did not want to sleep much I managed without having to ask for help.
The following morning I had the catheter and drip removed, with the aid of my crutches I walked very slowly down the corridor to the shower. It was painful and stiff but I felt great. Tony arrived at 10am; we sat on the side of the bed. I was holding Edward and I saw a friend I had made on another ward come in. I got up and walked over to her without the aid of my crutches, I did not even realise I had done it until Tony pointed it out. I was amazed, it did not even hurt.
I carried on recovering well. My physiotherapist was amased when she walked in to see me, not only to find me with a wonderful baby boy but also sitting cross legged on the bed. The consultants then admitted they were worried about how I would feel after Edward was born; all were stunned by my recovery. I went home 3 days after Edward we born.
Apart from the odd twinge my hips are now completely back to normal. I can walk easily, even long distance.
I am thoroughly enjoying being a mum to Edward, he is an absolute joy and it was worth everything I went through just to hold my baby boy.
(My story told until Edward was 6 weeks old)
This is a members article by Madzwalker