When I got pregnant I never thought I would be writing a 8 months postpartum update, but here I am, doing just that. Just as no pregnancy is the same, neither is every birth or every post-partum journey.
So why am I writing about mine? Because I know there is at least one woman out there that will need to read this to seek help.
From the beginning
If you have been following my pregnancy updates, then you know that for most of my pregnancy I suffered from pelvic girdle pain. Basically, because of hormones and what not, I felt miserable in any position that required me to move. Walking, sitting, squatting were all hell. I would get sharp pains in my groin area that sometimes would radiate to my legs. This condition made it hard for me to complete everyday tasks like going up the stairs, turn in bed, get out of bed, pick things off the floor and even sit down and get up. I downplayed the pain and put up with it because I was told there wasn’t much I could do. I could take some pain reliever, but other than that, delivery was the only solution. So I bid my time until the baby arrived.
If I could have wished for the delivery I had, I would have. It was as close to perfect as it could get. I prepared myself for the worst and was so surprised how good it was. Ok, good is probably not the right word, pushing a human out never feels good! But you get the picture. I didn’t need any surgical intervention and within 6 weeks I was physically better and back to somewhat my normal self. What’s even better, the pelvic pain I felt every time I moved carrying a 35 lb load was almost gone. Things were looking up!
After the stitches were gone, came the weight loss. I practically lost most of the weight by the 8th week postpartum. After that the weight kept dropping and since I had nothing to loose the weight, it was like a party in head. “YEAH! IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!”
I actually recently dropped below my pre-pregnancy weight by 2 lbs which is just the cherry on top!
So what’s there to complain?
The only thing that started bothering me was that since delivery I started having trouble sitting and specially getting up. My tailbone area would hurt like crazy and the pain was so debilitating that sometimes I couldn’t get up by myself. 6 months after giving birth, I decided that whatever had been “damaged” during birth should have healed by then, so I went back to my OB/GYN for an exam.
The diagnosis and treatment
After an external and an internal exam, my doctor agreed with me that I should not be experiencing the type of pain I was in, so she referred me to a pelvic floor physical therapist. If you haven’t heard of that before, you are not alone. I hadn’t either. Basically they specialize in working muscles you never thought you would need to work out. They are so hard to find that it took me 2 weeks with the help of my insurance to locate one in my area that would take my insurance. But we did and so I have been working with her for the past couple months once a week.
My diagnosis consisted of several things: a separation of my abdominal wall, weak pelvic muscles, tension caused by long-term pain during pregnancy and a bruised tailbone from delivery. I was a mess in other words. My therapist was able to pinpoint the muscles that needed to be addressed and prescribed several exercises, including a ton of kegels. Right away, I started seeing results. I was able to stand on my left leg, which I hadn’t been able to do since my second trimester and was able to go on walks without sharp pains. Sitting and getting up is still painful, but I am confident that this too shall pass.
The thing that was the most surprising to me was all the tension I had been holding in my pelvis. My therapist says it’s commonly seen on people with chronic back pain and injuries. The body guards against the pain and tenses up. After a while, you don’t even know you are holding yourself in a knot. I had no idea, but I was so tense that I was causing my muscles to work overtime.
Several weeks later of exercises, massages, heat and painful needling, I am on the road to recovery. I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner. If I had asked for it during pregnancy, I may have saved myself months of muscle weakening.
But, in hindsight we are all geniuses, right?
I am just glad that I listened to my body and didn’t just chuck it out as my “new normal”. The situation would have been a lot worse if I had waited longer.
The Silver Lining
There is almost always one, isn’t there?
So I am getting back in shape, and I also recently found out that my vision improved after pregnancy! That sounds unbelievable, but the doctor double checked. I am pretty sure my hearing did too. I think the path to superhumans starts with hormones… just saying! In addition, yesterday I got a phone call I had been waiting for 3 months. My blood sugar levels are back at normal level – which they haven’t been in more than 3 years. “WE ARE GOING TO SIP BACARDI LIKE IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY” Yeah! Not really. I am still breastfeeding…
You can read more about my journey to beat pre-diabetes here.
You can watch my video on my postpartum update here.
I hope this 8 months postpartum update was helpful to you ladies going through the same thing.