I’m currently 8 weeks postpartum. The homebirth was wonderful. In fact it was my shortest labor yet, only 18 hours. The problems didn’t surface until after the delivery. According to a friend (mom of 7), I have officially joined the “sisterhood of mom’s of large babies.” Trust me, this is one sisterhood that you do not want to join.
I now suffer from pubic symphysis separation (PSS) due to the labor of BabyG3.
Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) is a condition that affects pregnant and/or postpartum women. The symphysis pubis is a joint in the very front part of the pelvic bone structure. There is cartilage that fills the gap in the bones. During pregnancy, hormones such as relaxin soften this cartilage allowing the pelvic bones to be more flexible for delivery. Some women, however, have too much play in the pelvis causing a large gap between the bones. This makes the symphysis pubis area extremely sensitive to touch. The pain is a result of separation of the symphysis pubis.
SPD causes pain in the front of the pelvis when touched. You may also feel pain in the lower abdomen, hips, inner thigh and groin areas. Marked increased pain with activities such as walking, climbing stairs, lifting your legs, or any other large movements involving the pelvis are key symptoms. You may even experience a clicking type noise with movement as well.
SPD is most often a a temporary situation and one that will resolve itself once the cartilage softening hormones decrease. Although there is no "cure" and it cannot be prevented in subsequent pregnancies, it does not mean that you will automatically experience SPD each pregnancy or birth.
In addition, my back felt as though it was broken in several places for the two weeks after delivery. I was in P-A-I-N. The pain was far greater than I’ve experienced with the previous five pregnancies, labors, and postpartum. It was borderline disabling. I was in so much pain that I actually took heed to the medical advice that was offered – bed rest, no excessive stair climbing, and wait the full 4-6 months before returning to active exercise. NO excessive stair climbing, how is that even possible when I live in a two-story home and have little ones. Active exercise for me at this time includes anything more than a short walk at a pace that puts me in a sweat. The advice was given by a midwife who appreciates that I am open to life and will most likely have more babies. She informed me that the relaxin, a key player to my aliment, will continue to be produced in my body for up to 4-6 months. The ultimate goal is to allow my body to properly recovery from a major life event, labor & delivery, so I do not have to live with long-term crippling pain and all it’s ramifications.
Taking things slow postpartum is not easy for me. I “bounce back” rather quickly from labors and almost always have returned to my pre-pregnancy routine within days of delivery. I believed that I was an exception and was eager and willing to forgo the necessary recovery that is recommended for new moms. I strongly believe that many of my current aliments (in addition to those listed in this post) stem from pushing myself too hard too soon postpartum. I was warned but I’ve learned the lesson the hard way.
Praise God that I had improvements at around three weeks postpartum. I’m sure the bed rest and resisting a desire to return to my normal routine as I have done with previous babies helped the healing process.
I began to walk at four weeks postpartum for a min of 15min. once a week. This amount of exercise is so not impressive unless you have experienced any related pubic symphysis issues. It has been humbling for me, to say the least. I logged one of my first postpartum “workouts” in my DailyMile and was reminded of where I left off a little over a year ago, a high-intensity workout. It’s been another opportunity for me to ditch my all or nothing tendency.
Most recently I took a 1.78 mile walk. I strapped on the baby (all 12.5lbs. of him) in a front carrier and headed to the clubhouse for a swim team meeting. The walk may have set me back. I must admit that I made several mistakes during my walk. My first mistake was leaving 20min too late to make the start of the meeting. My second mistake was trying to speed-up to compensate for my late start. I was not ready for an increase in pace. It compromised my foot strike and caused blisters. The third mistake was to put on shoes, thinking it would ease the blistering and help me speed up. Instead, the shoes caused immediate back & IT pain. As if that weren’t enough, my pain returned from my PSS. I was somewhat of a wreck.
I’ll have to scale back a bit and get some quality recovery before heading out again. Also, I will most likely not be carrying baby g in the front carrier for long walks.
I’ll continue to dial in my eating and nourish my body with real food.
pictured from left to right: short-ribs with quinoa berry salad and roasted asparagus, courtesy of Tiffany & family. sweet grapefruit. eggs with salsa and avocado. mixed eggs, salsa, and avocado. bruschetta chicken. baked cheese tomatoes. apples and chicken. ground turkey with homemade taco seasoning with lime cilantro rice, homemade guacamole and salsa. steak salad with feta, avocado, and homemade dressing.