The last 24-hours have been incredible for me. I’ve been inspired to step up my efforts to raise awareness of pregnancy related pelvic instability and offer support to the thousands of other momma’s out there.
At the suggestion of my husband, I created both a Twitter feed and a Facebook page related to the blog, community building and accurate information about the different conditions and treatment options related to pelvic injury during pregnancy and childbirth.
I also coordinated with a research librarian at the university where I work to be able to use interlibrary loan to check out medial journal articles related to pelvic instability caused by pregnancy and childbirth. I’ve found a few online and the Pelvic Partnership, which I have found very informative, has a bunch of citations on its website.
The better I feel the more important I think it is to get good information to other women — and medical professionals. I’ve got a lot of learn. Today I exchanged emails with a volunteer at the Pelvic Partnership. The all-volunteer charity is based in England, according to Google maps about an hour and 20 minutes outside of London. The partnership has support groups, conferences and informative brochures. They even celebrated a support day on Nov. 17, where women, their family members and friends gathered for as much as six hours to hear speakers and just be together. Combatting the isolated feeling that comes with pelvic girdle pain is the group’s primary goal, along with distributing accurate information. I wish something like that existed in the U.S. Believe me, I have looked and haven’t found anything even close.
Maybe this will help other women know that they are not alone. That there are ways to feel better, stronger and more independent.
(A quick note about definitions: Pelvic Girdle Pain is apparently the preferred term in the UK for symphysis pubis dysfunction. This is a separation at the symphysis that is less than 1 cm and does typically resolve itself. Some describe it as the less awful sibling of diastasis symphysis pubis, which occurs when the gap is 1 cm or larger.)
I’m convinced that had I had other moms to talk with about what I was feeling I would have pushed for an x-ray much more quickly. Before my diagnosis, the only woman I knew with any pelvic trouble related to pregnancy worked at the birth center where I had my son. In her case, she said, she wore a support belt during pregnancy and as soon as her son was out her pain was gone. In my case, I had pain at the SI joint for the last 2.5 months of my pregnancy that got worse as the baby dropped. I was told it was round ligament pain. (I’m learning that instability of the pelvic ring at the SI joint often is mistaken for round ligament pain.) I treated that pain with heat and massage and went on about life, happy to be pregnant with a healthy boy. It wasn’t until I felt that tearing in the midst of labor that I had serious problems.
Had I found resources earlier and been able to talk with another mom I know I would have searched out alternative therapies, maybe even come to the decision to stop breastfeeding on my own, so my hormones could return to pre-pregnancy levels. (My hormones should be back at their pre-pregnancy levels by the end of March, based on the estimate of six-months post lactation that I received from a local lactation consultant. I will be healing from surgery until at least the end of August.) Instead, by the time I had an x-ray I was desperate for a solution and I was lucky enough to be referred to a doctor who knew he could fix me.
I can’t change the past for myself or my family, but I want to do everything in my power to help other moms now and in the future. This experience has changed me. It has changed my family and I want to make sure we use that change for good. I am hoping by sharing the research I will do in reading those articles, as well as working to make new connections with others interested in pelvic pain I can provide good information for a good cause.
Mommas, you deserve answers and you deserve the chance to play with your child.