ESSSSSSS PEEEEEEEE DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE…
There are plenty of symptoms, illnesses, side effects and all sorts of shit that they don’t tell you about being pregnant and giving birth. One of them is SPD. Have you heard of this before? No, me neither. In fact, I think the only people familiar with this horrendous acronym are those that are unfortunate enough to have experienced it themselves.
I woke up this morning feeling like I had been run over by a 150 ton truck. This is no exaggeration. We all know that you’re not expected to sleep much throughout pregnancy, especially after your first trimester. Sleeping with the extra weight and this protruding tummy can make for a restless night. However, should you be like me, who has always had an absolutely horrendous relationship with slumber ever since committing myself to the PERMANENT nine to five lifestyle, you will actually appreciate the sleep that comes with being pregnant. Why? Because, at least you actually sleep! Most nights sleep will not be uninterrupted. There is some tossing and turning and you will be conscious that you are lying on your side and not on your back and that the baby is not being squashed. But the point is sleep is present and for that you are grateful. Well, with SPD, whether you are an insomniac or a beautiful deep sleeper, you will dread sleeping like the kids in Freddie Kruger’s Nightmare on Elm Street. With most illnesses or ailments, sleep usually helps to cure or lessen the symptoms. Whilst in slumber, we are able to momentarily forget our body is under the weather till we wake. Well, with SPD, trust me, it is the opposite. The only way to escape the god awful symptoms is to wake the hell up.
SPD stands for Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction. According to Wikipedia:
SPD is a condition that causes excessive movement of the pubic symphysis, either anterior or lateral, as well as associated pain, possibly because of a misalignment of the pelvis. Most commonly associated with pregnancy and childbirth, it is diagnosed in approximately 1 in 300 pregnancies, although some estimates of incidence are as high as 1 in 50.
So, firstly, what are the bloody odds that I would experience this condition? A friend, who has also experienced it herself, told me it was actually common amongst dancers due to our flexibility. She told me this about three months ago and at that time, I was quite proud to be part of the SPD dancer’s club. Of course, at this point the symptoms I was experiencing were particularly mild.
Sometimes, wait for it, my down below would click! Yes, click. Full on click. I mean, I am a clicky person in general. My knee clicks, my toes click and occasionally, to my despair, my back clicks. But hearing my down-there click, especially for the first time, freaked me the hell out. Along with some clicking of the down below, or the pubic bone, as Wiki calls it, I was also experiencing an intense pain on the pubic bone. Imagine someone pressing against your pubic bone with extreme pressure – not in a sexual way – as though they were trying to crush it to pieces. I used to feel this weird pressure sensation every time I stood up from my desk or from lying down. It would last maybe a minute or two and would disappear, I am guessing, once my body had realigned itself. I would feel the same sensation for a second or two, when I might turn over in bed at night. However, this sensation completely disappeared and I never felt it again for months. So, I just assumed with my back pain easing up and me no longer being sat at a desk nine hours a day at work, that maybe I had diagnosed myself incorrectly.
Well, last night SPD reared its ugly head again and boy did it come back with a vengeance. It literally felt like someone had hammered away at my pubic bone and then set it on fire. Each and every turn I would take in bed, the burning, battered and bruised pain would shoot through my body from my pubic bone. The pain was so strong and intense that I was literally crying out in pain with every move I made.
Sleeping with my C pillow supporting my head, back and hips, cushions from my living room wedged beneath my stomach and a memory foam pillow between my legs, every turn at night had been seriously considered and kept to a minimum, because it involved rearranging each and every one of these pillows and cushions every time. However, since my shoulders have been cramping and aching, due to the pressure they are enduring from me sleeping on my sides, I HAD to switch sides throughout the night more frequently. The switching of sides became so frequent that I soon mastered how to flip my pillows, cushions and rolled up towel pretty efficiently. But last night, I lay on my aching shoulder that was cramping from the weight of my body resting on it and pulsating in pain far longer than I should have, in sheer fear of having to turn my body over and experiencing that scorching, blazing burn between my legs.
Each turn I would make I would scream out in physical agony, trying to coordinate my legs to assist my turn with as little pain as possible. Then once I had finally managed to have my knees facing the desired direction, I would release my body weight from my shoulder and twist to face the same direction as my legs. My upper arm and shoulder that had been laid on felt like a dead weight that I would have to haul across my body and that would seize up in the process. Once facing the direction of my bedside table, I threw my arm to reach out to my bedside table to find my phone. I was convinced there must be something on Google that would help me to tackle this torture better. So, I Googled:
HOW TO SLEEP WITH SPD?
And I read forum entry after forum entry after entry on Net Mums and Community Baby Centre. Can I just say, Google gets a bad rep for paranoid pregnant women driving themselves crazy. At the dead of the night, crippled by pain and a fear of parting my legs, the only thing that made me feel good was reading all the complaints from pregnant women suffering from SPD just like me.
Some of the entries I read, women were experiencing SPD so badly they were having to use crutches to get about, some of them were being affected by the pain in their lower back and lower abs. Some were finding the pain so debilitating that they were debating starting their maternity leave sooner and then complaining about their husbands’ lack of sympathy, who insisted they stay at work and keep that pay cheque coming in.
God, I just wanted to meet these women and tell them, I feel your pain! I delighted in the women who were still in the stages of hating their husbands – been there done that. And felt deeply sorry for the women that still had to battle work and the commute with the aches and pains of pregnancy plus the vicious agony of SPD. I don’t think I could have made it to work in my current state without my pelvic bone either snapping in half or setting on fire on the journey in.
Some handy tips that I had learned for SPD sufferers is:
- Sleep with a band tying your legs together
I considered this and NO, I will not be attempting this one. It sounds far too BDSM for me.
- Wear silky pyjamas to bed, to make turning over at night easier.
I love the idea of cold silky pyjamas. However, I am not so keen on making turning over any easier. With every turn comes that excruciating, debilitating, deathly abuse to my pelvis which I would much prefer to avoid.
- Sleep with a pillow between your legs
I have been sleeping with a pillow between my legs, so I am not sure about this one.
- Purchase a Snoozle Slide Sheet
This is something I had not heard of before, a slippery, slidey sheet that makes switching sides in bed a dream. Whoever thought that turning over at night could be such an epidemic. It’s crazy! But the benefits of the Snoozle are indeed, quite enticing. I just don’t know if I want yet another foreign object in my bed, in addition to my C pillow, my cushions, my rolled up towel and my eye mask.
Benefits of a Snoozle according to Snoozle.com:
- Helps you move around, turn and switch sides in bed easily.
- Makes your movements in bed smooth and faster, so you don’t need to put in as much effort, flex as many sore muscles and move as many inflamed and creaky joints.
- You don’t need to use your muscles as much to lift your body up from the mattress before turning, you just slide from side to side.
- You can get out of bed more easily.
- Helps you move around during labour, especially if you have Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP). (Put it on your hospital bag packing list).
- Great for when recovering from postpartum Pelvic Girdle Pain.
- Helps you sit up and slide back down in bed.
Are any of you suffering or know anyone who is suffering with any pelvic pains throughout your pregnancy or postpartum? If you’ve used the Snoozle Slide Sheet, let me know what you think!