My pregnancy was going pretty well in the spectrum of pregnancies. As I entered my 6-7th month of pregnancy, I noticed my growing body was beginning to become somewhat of a hindrance. For one, my dehydration led me to desire a lot of water or fluids but I couldn’t be in one place without going to the bathroom at least three times within the hour. To make matters worse, I already had frequent bladder before pregnancy- I couldn’t drink an entire bottle of water without succumbing myself to the next three to four hours of chronic urination.
Worst candidate for pregnancy, right?
Then there was the back pain. Oh, the bloody back pain. Around June/July, I decided to invest in having my hair braided; something I had never considered doing before. However, once I realised that my already thick, unmanageable mane was only getting thicker due to less shedding and my vitamins and diet, I needed an easy alternative. Easy. I chose braids. Braided hairstyles were the rave at this time so I knew I’d be able to find someone who could recreate what I had envisioned for my final look. Eventually, I found a stylist who does a really great job, so I picked a style, bought the braid and had it done. Three (felt like five) pounds of boxed braids at butt length.
What the hell was I thinking?
When my back pain began, I blamed it on a number of circumstances. I tried not to sit down often at work as I was under the impression I was squeezing my bladder in this position thus increasing the frequency of my urge to pee. Not sure how true that was. However, when I did sit down, the modern, metallic stools at work had no back support whatsoever. As a matter of fact, they had no back whatsoever. Sitting down for long periods of time at work , as much as I tried not to slouch, did no favours for my back. Also, as flat shoes were the most comfortable type of footwear at this moment, I was always on flat surfaces which, quite frankly, didn’t help the situation either. However, of all the reasons I could list to rationalise my excruciating back pain, you would not believe the biggest culprit of them all.
Yes, granted, the braids were almost the weight of a newborn, pun intended. I could have practically been carrying my unborn baby on top of my brain. I used to tell my doctor he had to account for the braids when recording my weight from the scale. Which he never did, mind you. Hmph. Of course, while I did feel a lot of stress on my neck from the weight, my first thought when my back pain started wasn’t exactly, “Oh, it must be these braids.” I mean, I was pregnant. Back pain is like Top Five Pregnancy Symptoms. One day, eventually, I couldn’t take the braids anymore. As I began relieving my head of the extensions, I started to experience a light-headedness. My neck and head had become so accustomed to the weight of the braids that removing them had left me disoriented; it had shifted my center of gravity and screwed up my equilibrium. Needless to say, standing up didn’t exactly feel safe. This feeling took a few days to pass but that wasn’t all I noticed. The back pain which plagued me every night as I tried to get comfortable and every morning as I rolled gingerly, and not very gracefully, out of bed each morning had significantly reduced. It wasn’t completely gone, as expected, but definitely reduced. I felt like I had shed a molt and this was the new me. As beautiful as those braids were, I’m never doing that to myself again.
If the back pain wasn’t enough of a horror story for you, you’d be delighted to know that it gets worse. I thought the back pain was a bitch, that was until the pelvic pains began. Symphysis pubis dysfunction. In English, basically your hip ligaments are stretching and realigning to accommodate the pregnancy and the shit hurts. Really hurts. Especially considering my hips are already next to none existent and although I was fit, I wasn’t entirely flexible. In this regard, I imagine my hips had to do a little extra work. The pain was at its worst whenever I tried to climb out of bed and climb back in. Which happened five to six times a night thanks to my overactive bladder. Some nights I would get up and my first thought would be, “This baby is trying to kill me.” Walking was also becoming painful, although one would never tell by how I walked. I had vowed never to be a “waddler” if I ever became pregnant but at times the pain got to a point where I felt I needed a wheelchair for transportation. That way, my legs could be placed close together and I wouldn’t be over-extending my ligaments. Walking. Simply walking was an over-extension of my ligaments. Sweet Mother Nature.
The most irritating part?
In my research, while baby forums highlighted the possibility of pain, they also recommended that if it was as severe as I’ve described, then it should be mentioned to your doctor. They went on further to say that depending on the level of pain being experienced, certain measures could be put in place by your delivering doctor or midwives or nurses to help alleviate this pain which will most likely intensify during labour. I wasn’t paranoid but on my next doctors visit, I voiced my concerns. My doctor was not intrigued. After no real response, I said, “I guess you’re going to tell me this is a normal pregnancy symptom, right?” “Yea, pretty much”, was his response, before recommending that I dose up on Paracetamol a.k.a ‘one of the weakest pain medications EVER’. *cue grunt* This was the conversation between my doctor and I every time I brought up any symptoms, really, so eventually I just surrendered to the process. The pelvic pain never really subsided, and seemed to be worse at night or after sitting down for long periods of time but I coped with it like a champ.
“The end is just beyond the horizon”. That’s what I had to keep telling myself whenever I was plagued by some pain or inconvenience. I also had to remind myself that this was all for a worthy cause; what the beautiful end result would be. I had to come to reality that I had no idea what was in store for me come labour day, even though I imagined the pain would be ten times worse than what I was currently experiencing. I had to use these pains as almost a preparation for the big day; this was my reassurance. Sort of. Really, all the sugar- coating in the world didn’t change the facts.
This baby was kicking my ass.