If you has asked me 3 years ago what SPD was I wouldn’t have a clue – and I doubt that the majority of people do either. Then in December 2008 I was pregnant and at around 8 weeks I started to get some really nasty pains in my hips and pelvis.
I mentioned the pains to a friend of mine that is a physiotherapist and she said it sounded like SPD. I did a little search and everything I read said it was most common later in pregnancy so I thought OK it could be but doesn’t really sound like it as I’m only 8 weeks pregnant.
At 12 weeks I mentioned the pains to my midwife and she said “Unless the pains are so bad that you can’t walk then it’s just normal pregnancy pains”. The pains got worse and worse, I couldn’t walk around the school I was working at without it being agony and needing to sit down to recover. Then at 14 weeks pregnant I was sitting on the floor and went to get up and realised that I couldn’t even moving my leg on the floor was pure agony. I just didn’t know what I had done. Mr Toddlingintomadness and myself went up to the minor injuries unit and I was checked over. They couldn’t “see” anything wrong and gave me crutches with a “see your GP as soon as you can” and off we went.
I made an appointment with my GP and he looked me over. After an examination he said I had SPD and perscribed me pain killers as by this point even with the crutches it was painful to walk as well as telling me to self refer to the Woman’s health physio department at the hospital. I did and at 18 weeks I had my first appointment – yes it was SPD or now known as Pelvic Girdle Pain as it doesn’t just affect the pubic joint but the whole pelvic girdle and I was realigned. It appeared that due to being hypermobile and the relaxin hormone produced in pregnancy the ligaments in my pelvis had started to weaken and loosen in preparation for birth a little too much. Fortnightly from then on I was seen until at 24 weeks the physiotherapist said that I was too loose they would realign my joints and by the time they had finished and I had sat up it was out of alignment again.
At 20 weeks pregnant I went for a shopping trip with my mother around Cambridge and by the Monday I was yet again unable to get up or to walk – I was signed off work by the GP for a fortnight to rest and get better – this was 23rd April 2009 – little did I know that this would be the last time that I would work as the SPD got progressively worse from that point onwards. By 22 weeks pregnant I couldn’t even manage to walk to the loo in the house without crutches and walking to the car was an impossibility even on crutches so I was told to contact the red cross to borrow a wheel chair for the remainder of my pregnancy. I was on the strongest dose of pain killers that I could have pregnant and was needing Mr Toddlingintomadness to help me get dressed – preparing for a day was a military operation making sure that everything that I could need would be within crutch distance of me. Where other pregnant ladies got to go and look at lovely baby stuff in stores I looked on the Internet. I knitted, sewed, painted, read, used the computer and watched endless TV.
I was told repeatedly that once I had given birth the pain would go – within a few weeks I would be back to normal – I was starting to forget what normal was. This kept me sane. The consultant agreed to an induction (another post I feel) and on the 12th August we went in for induction. On the 15th August after 4 days of induction at 8:59pm Littler Tiger was born by emergency c-section. After the birth he was taken to neo-natal and I foolishly thought that things would improve quickly. They didn’t first there was still swelling on my pubic bone that made it impossible to move – little did we realise at first that this was SPD but also an abcess forming from the c-section wound. However once that infection had cleared it became obvious that the SPD hadn’t gone. Yes it was a little bit better – I could walk to the loo without crutches but I couldn’t walk outside without support of the pram or crutches which from a wheel chair was a huge improvement but the pain was incredible if I did walk. I couldn’t get on the floor with Little Tiger so floor time and tummy time was limited to when Mr Toddlingintomadness got home from work or the weekends.
I was still seeing the physio department regularly to be realigned again and again and again – every fortnight they were putting bits of my hips back into place. 4 months came and went and I started core stability class with the physio department – again a little improvement was seen but not what they and I were hoping for. Some research was presented to me about breastfeeding and SPD so I took a leap of faith and at 6 months stopped breast-feeding. Within 2 weeks I could get on the floor and up again. By 7 months I was back to normal again.
How 3 little letters could have affected my life so much that for over a year I was basically disabled. I was one of the unlucky ones that the SPD continued postnatally – but of those group I am lucky in the fact that stopping breast feeding sorted out the problem.
When I fell pregnant again in July 2010 my biggest fear was SPD – how could I cope with a toddler and be in a wheel chair again. Luckily SPD wasn’t a problem to the same degree that it had been – yes I had twinges but they were manageable with resting – little did I know about what else could affect you in pregnancy – Gestional Diabetes and Cholestatis – some more posts to follow.
Although the pregnancy and postnatally I found great support from The pelvic partnership