In my pregnancy with Joni I had Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP), which used to be called Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction (SPD).
It wasn’t easy for me to work and the nature of my job meant that I couldn’t work from home so I was forced to be signed off from 26 weeks. Great you might think. Not so great. I was utterly miserable. Walking the smallest distance was incredibly painful, I ate a lot and put on a lot of weight. It was actually quite a dark time. I was completely unsupported by the midwife, physio and hospital – in retrospect I was naive – I should have kicked up a lot more of a fuss.
So what is PGP?
Well, this website is really useful and anyone suffering can find a mountain of information from the Pelvic Partnership.
Basically it is instability of the pelvis – the website describes it as:
“Usually in PGP the pelvic joints, which should work together in a ring-type system, are not working normally. Often one joint becomes stiff and this causes irritation in the other joints (you may not even feel pain in the stiff joint). By treating the stiff joint, a manual therapist can help the joints to function normally again, and allow the irritation at the painful joint to settle.
Frequently in PGP one of the three joints in the pelvis, often one of the SI joints at the back, becomes slightly stuck and the joints start to move asymmetrically. This then puts extra strain on the other joints which start to move differently and can become irritated and inflamed, leading to PGP.”
So, anyway, its back. With avengence. Earlier than before. This was predictable and I was ready for it. Kind of.
It’s really helped that I had it before, because I knew what to expect this time. I spent quite a lot of the time I was pregnant with Joni and jealous of those people who had complication free pregnancies. You know, 4 mile walks to bring on labour, being able to go shopping for baby stuff without crying in the middle of Mothercare because you can’t take another step etc.
Some things haven’t changed though, which I expect are similar experiences that people in all sorts of invisible pain have:
– Feeling like people don’t believe me
This is especially true at work, people don’t understand it and can’t be bothered to have the imagination to try to understand it. It would be really easy to just believe that I want some time off so I’ve come up with a complaint that there is no proof for.
– People forgetting or not ‘getting it’
I bore myself silly reminding people that my pelvis hurts. It hurts. It hurts. It hurts to walk, sit and stand. It’s constant and then sometimes it ramps up so you can’t actually do one of those things. It’s invisible so people forget. Chris is threatening to make me a badge (probably to make me shut up!)
– Pain is exhausting
I’m sure you use more energy when you’re in pain.
– Pain is depressing
People in pain are more likely to get depressed, people with PGP are more likely to get antenatal and postnatal depression. I can totally understand why.
Pain is frustrating
– There are loads of things I want to do that I just can’t. I’m trying not to get angry about it.
So, the thought of 4 more months of this pain is quite demoralising. But something that I just have to do. This weekend it’s got to the stage where lifting Joni hurts and the pain is waking me up and preventing me from falling asleep.
The doctor has signed me off work, driving all that way and then sitting at a desk all day is impossible.
So I’m kind of better prepared and kind of handling it better. Trying not to get too down about it and not to moan too much.
Just really hoping the next weeks fly past and I don’t eat my body weight in lard again to make myself feel better*.
*it didn’t make me feel better, it made me fat.
In other news, I’m 23 weeks now and feeling loads of kicking (obviously Chris has notified the Reading FC Youth Academy). I’m spending a lot of time trying to come up with ways of making our tiny house appear larger (with almost no money to spend and no chance of moving) any suggestions are more than welcome!
Also: Joni is well, and has been for 3 whole days!! Long may it continue!