Monday, August 20, 2018

Pregnancy and Pelvic Pain-- Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction

5 months pregnant

6 months pregnant
 I had a relatively smooth pregnancy. Just a few hiccups here and there, but everything was very manageable. I actually enjoyed the baby bump and the privileges that came with it. In fact, as per my closest friends, I looked really great during my pregnancy--even better when I wasn’t pregnant!  

All was well until a week before I gave birth. I started feeling a sharp pain on my pelvis— on my pubic bone area—which I found out later is called the symphysis pubis. It started as a slight discomfort, something not to worry about as it seems to be a normal part of pregnancy. My OB even confirmed that my pelvic muscles were just loosening up in preparation for delivery. But in two days the pain went from manageable to severe. It made walking, adjusting positions in bed, getting dressed, getting in and out of the car, more or less all activities which involved movement of legs, very painful. Stepping one leg forward felt like my pubic bone was being torn apart. From then on, I used a wheelchair whenever possible.  

I even went to my OB squirming in pain. I wanted to give birth already and schedule my CS the next day. Still, she thought it’s just part of the pregnancy and I’ll go back to normal soon after delivery. We stuck with our original schedule for the cesarean  operation, which meant I had to endure the pain for four more long days.  

Thankfully, my husband was beside me the whole time. He was the only one who understood the pain I was going through. For one thing, he had experienced pain due to bone/ spinal column alignment and had rough days when he can’t walk as well. And simply because he is a very caring and under standing husband. He helped me mobilize throughout the day. Most specially when I needed to go in and out of the bed. Going to bed was a step by step process— I sat down, he carried my leg one by one so he can place them on the bed, I put my arm on his neck then he will lower my body on a laying down position. We do this in a very slow manner. I felt helpless. 

I can’t wait to give birth already.  I started reading on what I was experiencing, every symptom led to Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD), also called Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP). I pointed it out to my OB, but her response was that we should just wait and see.  

Then came the day of my delivery. It happened so quickly. I didn’t feel pain because I was on anesthesia. I won’t go into the details of the delivery because that is another story in itself. I will focus on the recovery. 

At first, I can’t decipher If the pain I was feeling was from the cesarean operation or my pubic bone. But after trying to go to the restroom two days after the procedure, I knew already that the pain on my pelvic bone was still there. The challenge then was that I had to ambulate to help air out my abdomen— a painful side effect of cesarean operation. The thing is, I can’t even go down my bed without help. At that time, going to bed is even more painful compared to prior my delivery that two nurses had to help carry me. One time I just cried while the nurses were trying to position me back on the bed. I felt really helpless. My hormones not yet being intact may have added to more indescribable feelings. 

X-ray of the Symphisis Pubis. Normal gap is 2.5mm. Mine reached 4.69mm
Five days after the operation my husband and I decided to visit an Orthodontist. As per the x-ray scan, my symphysis pubis had a 4.69mm gap, wherein this should only be a 2.5mm space for the ligament. That was what’s causing the pain whenever I move. The good news was that it will cure on its own, but I had to be on bed rest; minimise movement as much as possible.  

I was right, it is SPD! 

Right now, I am still on the road to recovery. I found a global support group on Facebook specifically for those who have pregnancy pelvic pain. I found another Filipina who also is recovering from SPD. And was pointed to a physiotherapist who can help me with my recovery. I have weekly sessions with the physiotherapist and was prescribed daily exercises. I am also doing acupuncture on a weekly basis. 

My OB and acupuncturist said I cannot go back to normal again. My physiotherapists believes otherwise. I believe the latter.  

3 weeks post operation
Photo by Frank Callaghan
I can walk already (3 weeks after my delivery), however very carefully. I still don’t know when I can run, bike or swim again. Hopefully, soon.  

As for my little one, I only hold her when she breastfeeds. Slowly I am able to carry her while standing up. I can’t wait to get well and be able to fully take care of her. 

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