Pregnancy Ramblings – Diastasis recti in pregnancy
So i’m now just over 15 weeks pregnant & its been week or so now since we announced the news about expecting our fourth and final baby. When I say ‘final’, it still feels pretty alien to be, as I didn’t ever think I would have to make a decision like that being the age I am. And its something that can’t be a definite as nothing in life is certain really is it, but I can say that 99% it will be our last. We have always wanted to have a big family, and I mean four is still a big isn number considering by the time this little one arrives – they will all be aged 5 and under. We are super grateful for our babies we have, and we just think its now time to focus on becoming a family of six and evolving through that together. Now this baby was a shock to us, a happy shock, but something that has taken some getting used to, for me more so i’d say.
One of the main reasons is that I have been thinking of ways in which I can start repairing my Diastasis Recti (tummy split, a super bad one at that). I have spoken with my gp and physiotherapist about it so many times and with no definitive answer it was just explained in a number of ways as 1. Having big babies, 2. Having them close in age, 3. Having had an unknown back to back labour which was incredibly fast meaning a lot os fast pushing putting more strain on my tummy and back. and 4. Not having the support when I needed it after my first three children. Before we found out about this pregnancy, I was told that I would need surgery to repair the damage and that it wasn’t wise to carry anymore children. Well, thats now been put on hold for a few years as I will more than likely have that surgery once i’ve finished breastfeeding our number four! Until then, I need to focus on maintaining as healthy as I possibly can throughout this pregnancy and eventually come to terms with whats to come afterwards.
Now in regards to labours, I would say i’ve been pretty fortunate to have had straightforward ones (number one went a bit pear-shaped two hours after birth as I suffered a haemorrage and lost a lot of blood but recovered well) babies 2, and 3 were very fast and again I felt like I managed and recovered okay, but not as well with regards to my tummy muscles and back pain. When I was expecting our third, I had horrendous hip and back pain to the point where I couldn’t walk for days, and this would be recurrent. This also led to the guilt when I felt bad that I had two little girls to keep happy and all I felt like doing was sobbing in pain or trying to grasps any rest I could. I mean it wasn’t all doom & gloom, I loved being pregnant with all three of them, its something that has come naturally to me to enjoy (except those early weeks, my goodness they’re awful aren’t they?). I think it’s literally been the toughest parts, like for any expectant mother who is overdue – that it is a pain in the arse, and you crave to have your body back and baby in your arms, for your body to not feel totally overpowered by this huge baby bump – and in my case, literally a pumpkin sized bump slotted on the front of my body with no other weight elsewhere, the strain was unreal. And with all three I went ‘overdue’ – really dislike that term, as I am a firm believer that baby will come when he/or she is ready, but when you have other things going on in life, and you have the constant questions of ‘Baby not here yet’ – (clearly not!), it makes the ‘overdue’ phase to be quite appropriate. Anyway I think this contributed to the damage to my tummy, along with the factors I mentioned above.
So this time around I am not looking forward to the pain, the weakness in my back and just how it makes me feel extremely alien to myself, I want to enjoy this pregnancy like I did my others, more so if thats possible as it is our last. I just keep having awful dreams that my poor tummy will give way and it won’t last, or my uterus will prolapse or something, (thanks google)… I have an appointment with a consultant this time just to talk thing through taking on board of the weakness, and they also like to know about the haemorrhage to be on the safe side. but I have faith, Our bodies are resilient, incredible actually and I didn’t think I would be able to do this two, or three times let alone four. I just need to remember that along with caring for little ones – I need to make myself a priority too (another post coming on this soon!) Heres to wishful thinking!
Its a funny thing as well, As other than me, my partner, my gp or my little ones no one knows the extent of my diastasis Recti, people just think because I don’t gain post-pregnancy weight, ‘i’m okay’, ‘there’s nothing wrong with your body!’ – they haven’t a clue. To me, its a hell of a lot more that the way I look, I mean yes, stretch marks, and my oddly shaped tummy is something I still have to get use to, but i’m grateful for those things in a way as they’re proof to me that I did what I did, and carried three (well four!) babies. To me, the way its effected my health is what bothers me, it effects what I can eat, what I wear, the intense pain I get through my tummy and back, the way it effects me through pregnancies now, the way its effected me mentally – its been something i’ve lived with and will do for a while yet. Its something not a lot of people have awareness of, or seek advice for. It kind of gets dismissed with ‘oh do exercise and it’ll heal’, where as some people are past that stage, I’ve been told that the gap has literally fused the way it is, will have to alter again during this pregnancy, and will probably worsen at the end of this pregnancy – with surgery being the only option.
Surgery. Thats a word I dislike too, it’s something I didn’t think I would have to link to giving birth to my children, but it will do and to be honest – when the time comes I’ll probably be sh*t scared, its something I’ve thankfully never had to go through having surgery but again its the preparation I will have to do I guess. Even though its a rubbish thought, I’m still thankful for what my body has achieved, three beautiful babies and a fourth next year. There are so many people out there who haven’t been as lucky and my heart reaches out to them with so much love. In life there comes sacrifice I guess, and i suppose this is mine. It will also hopefully strengthen my mind, body and soul to become me again as much as I love being a Mama – I need to feel strong in myself again. I’m under no belief that it will happen over night, with all things it times time.