If you haven’t yet read the intro to this series, you should do so before reading on for some context.
As if barfing my face off day in and day out was not enough, in about the 6th month of my pregnancy, I began feeling much more like an 85-year-old than a 25-year-old. There were three specific types of physical pain I experienced during my third trimester (hence three parts to this post), but this segment also easily deserves 3/10 of the pregnancy series because these aches were, well, that painful.
7. Back Pain. Like many pregnant women in their third trimester, my lower back began aching quite a bit from the pressure of the baby and from postural changes that occur while growing a babe. I won’t go into detail here about the back pain I experienced during pregnancy, because it actually became a much more significant problem after giving birth (I will blog about my recovery and the few weeks following Caleb’s birth once I complete the pregnancy series).
8. Rib Pain. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I am short and petite. Unfortunately, my body did not recognize that fact as it went about growing a baby. While most other short/petite people (in my experience) grow huge tummies that stick out super far to accommodate the baby (plus their own organs), my tummy grew the positively minimum amount required (in contrast to pretty much every other part of my body). Please reference below a picture of me and my friend, Ally, exactly one month before Caleb was born (we are of a similar height and build, and we were at the exact same point in our pregnancies). You may need to click on the photo and enlarge it to see better, but her belly protrudes a solid4 inches further than mine.
So what? Well, since Caleb was not growing outwards so much, he evicted all my existing organs and wedged himself all up ins my rib cage. There were times when I legitimately questioned if his leg was caught in between two of my ribs. Yes, I realize that is not anatomically correct, but I could swear he was training to be the next karate kid because my ribs felt like they were being used as punching (kicking?) bags. Every time I sat down, I had to lean back and continuously push Caleb downwards to relieve the overwhelming pressure on my ribs. It was incredibly uncomfortable, but nothing compared to the…
9. Pelvic Pain. The other bodily aches were a challenge, but it was the pelvic pain above all else that was the dignity-crushing-clincher of my last trimester. I’m sitting here debating which was worse – the pelvic pain or being terribly sick for all nine months…and really, it’s a toss up. At about 6 months, I developed a condition called pelvic girdle pain (PGP) and I’m not entirely sure why I got it, but two causes of PGP mentioned on wikipedia are “hypermobility, genetical ability to stretch joints beyond normal range” and a “history of pelvic trauma”…which I suppose could both be explained by my cheerleading/dancing days growing up…please reference picture below (both my feet are touching the wall):
Ok actually, as I examine that picture in this moment, I know exactly where the PGP came from, haha!! In any case, it is no doubt the worst (chronic) pain I have ever experienced and certainly the most debilitating. As the pain in my pelvis quickly intensified, I required assistance to stand up, roll over in bed, get out of bed, walk any notable distance, get in and out of a car, and go up and down stairs. Additionally, I developed a sharp shooting pain that would radiate down my right inner thigh at random times while walking…stopping me dead in my tracks for several moments.
For the entire last month of my pregnancy, I slept in our living room recliner because it had become too painful to get in and out of bed (even with assistance), and I could no longer lay on my side (let alone sleep), because the pain was far too intense. Moreover, when I was in labor, the nurse kept making me turn on my side to wake Caleb up (which I had not done in a month), and I am not exaggerating when I say the pain in my pelvis easily matched the pain of the contractions. It’s impossible to describe what the pain was really like, but the best picture I can paint is a feeling like my pelvis was getting dislocated over and over again while simultaneously being crushed by something very heavy (i.e. Caleb).
Do you understand now why I felt like an 85-year-old?? I walked as slow as one, required as much assistance (if not more) as one, lost most of my personal freedom like one, and of course, lost my bladder control like one. It was a very difficult and frustrating situation for me, because I couldn’t do almost anything or go anywhere by myself. It was embarrassing at best. Wikipedia actually describes the psychosocial impact of PGP rather accurately: “PGP in pregnancy seriously interferes with participation in society and activities of daily life; the average sick leave due to posterior pelvic pain during pregnancy is 7 to 12 weeks. In some cases women with PGP may also experience emotional problems such as anxiety over the cause of pain, resentment, anger, lack of self-esteem, frustration and depression; she is three times more likely to suffer postpartum depressive symptoms.”
Well, that was a fatty downer. However, in the spirit of keeping these posts optimistic, I’ll leave you with this encouraging thought: if Sean ever decided to leave engineering, he has more than enough experience to launch a highly successful career as a hospice nurse. Such a well-rounded husband.
The other 9 ways pregnancy crushed my dignity:
Also, read about Caleb’s birth:
And here’s the adventures we had after Caleb’s birth:
Caleb’s Afterbirth – the Hospital (Part 1)
Caleb’s Afterbirth – the Neighbs (Part 2)
Caleb’s Afterbirth – Breastfeeding Blues (Part 3)
Caleb’s Afterbirth – Body Slammed (Part 4)
Caleb’s Afterbirth – Am I an Incompetent Parent (Part 5)