Birth, motherhood, pelvic health, Pregnancy, Prolapse

Pregnancy After Prolapse – Birth Story {Part 1}

Going into this pregnancy, after previously experiencing prolapse and having a pretty good idea that my birth of my first contributed significantly to that, labour and birth is what I was most worried about. I had discussed it previously with my PFPT before getting pregnant, and again during pregnancy. I wanted to do everything I could to mitigate any risk, while keeping things as ‘natural’ as possible. While I 100% respect some women’s decision to have a c-section after prolapse to mitigate risk, that just didn’t feel like the right choice for me.

Leading up to birth in the third trimester, I focused my movement practice on keeping my PF and TA engaged, but also allowing them both to relax when appropriate. This is something I struggled with baby number one, and I wanted to ensure I had balance between the two this time around. I did a birth prep course that focused on mindfulness and relaxation through labor and birth and really dialed in my alignment and breathing strategies to ensure my core unit was functioning optimally.

In addition, I planned on having a homebirth. For me, this was the option that would ensure I would be as relaxed as possible during labor and birth. Not stressing about rushing off to the hospital, not worrying about being on the hospital’s timeline, not feeling like I was ‘wasting a room’ if my labor didn’t go as fast as anticipated. These were all things I didn’t want to worry about. Being able to stay home, in my own environment and eat and drink my own food and have my family and things close by made all the difference. I had midwives who aligned with my values, and ensured to communicate them all of my worries, concerns and wishes.

My midwife team was amazing. They heard and validated all of my fears and concerns about birth, were accepting my my story of my previous birth all while reassuring me that this birth would be the birth I was hoping for. They assured me that birth is usually much easier the second time around, and seeing as I was in such a good frame of mind there was no reason to be worried or stressed. I did still have a degree of concern, though, because we all know birth is one of those things that has the potential to go completely differently than is planned. Luckily, that wasn’t the case for me.

I had my 39 week midwife appointment on a Wednesday. We chatted about how I was feeling, I mentioned that my mother in law was scheduled to arrive on that Saturday to help care for Nugget when the baby arrives and my midwife says ‘Ya, we were talking about it, Saturday would be a good day for you to have a baby!’ and we all laughed, because baby’s never follow a plan. As I left my appointment I joked that I would see them Saturday, and went on my way.

Saturday arrived and I woke to find I had lost my mucous plug with a bloody show. I made a note of it, but didn’t get too excited since it can sometimes take days or weeks for labor to start after the mucous plug is lost, and it can regenerate. We headed out the door that morning to run some errands and pick  up my mother in law at the airport. Riding in the van on the way to the airport, I was feeling some tightening, but riding in cars had brought on braxton hicks since about 34 weeks so, again, didn’t think much of it. We got home, and the tightenings continued, and they were pretty frequent, like every 5-7 minutes, but not painful and I could easily talk through them and no one around me really knew what was happening. Even still, I started to pay more attention to them and started keeping track of them.

I gave my husband the heads up on what was going on around 3 in the afternoon. I told him I wasn’t sure if ‘this was it’ yet, but I thought he should be in the loop. We decided to head out for a walk to the park and just enjoy some time with Nugget, because of the impending potential that this could be our last days as a family of 3. We had such a great afternoon, swinging on swings, letting Nugget run around and guide our walk, and just enjoying him. I’m so glad I was mindful enough to ask my mother in law to take a photo of us, I will always cherish this photo of some of our last moments of just the 3 of us.

family of 3 KCFITNESS

After we got home from our walk, I was more convinced that this was it. I had gotten up earlier than normal that day and we had been running around so I decided it would probably be a good idea to take a nap, in case things ramped up and I ended up being up all night like I was when Nugget was born. Before I did that, I gave my midwife a call just to let them know what was going on, they agreed that a nap was a great idea and asked me to call back when things started to intensify. I laid down and surprisingly I was able to fall asleep quite quickly despite the tightenings. I was able to sleep for about an hour, but when I woke I found that the tightenings had all but stopped. They had completely slowed down to 15-30 minutes apart, though they were a little stronger than previously and took a bit more of my attention when they did come. I was so grateful that my water hadn’t broke yet, because that meant I could labor as long as I needed to without worrying about potential complications. As a result, I wasn’t worried about things slowing down, and knew my body would allow my baby to come when she was ready.

{CONTINUED HERE}

 

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pelvic health, Pregnancy, Prolapse

Pregnancy After Prolapse – The Second & Third Trimester

Wow.

Where has the time gone?

I can’t believe I am nearing my due date already! This pregnancy has blown by so fast! I guess that’s the difference between pregnancy number one and number two! Chasing a toddler around really makes the days go by so much quicker!

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for me!) there isn’t a lot to report from my second trimester! It was everything you hear the 2nd tri to be, sleeping better, no more nausea, started feeling baby kicks (the best!) and the anatomy scan at 19 weeks!

I also visited a pelvic floor physiotherapist during my second trimester this time. That was a new experience, and something I wish I had done during my first pregnancy! It was like a tune-up for my core and pelvic floor. I’ve seen both of the physios at The Downtown Sports Clinic in Calgary, and I cannot recommend either of them enough. I saw Hilary this time, and she is equally as knowledgeable as Kristen and just as supportive of keeping women as active as possible.

I initially made the appointment because I had started having some SUI (stress urinary incontinence) as well as some heaviness, and I am happy to report that after following Hilary’s recommendations, the frequency of leaks has decreased dramatically, and only ever happens when I’ve been slacking on my physio exercises.

One thing that has snuck up during second tri and continues now is swelling. Oh the lovely water retention in pregnancy. I believe this is part of the reason I was having heaviness. Yes, swelling down there. Luckily, I have found a solution – regular epsom salt baths!

I cannot recommend epsom salt baths enough, to everyone, but especially to pregnant women! I mean, baths in general feel great on the pregnant body. The buoyancy of the water helps relieve some of the general aches and pains, and the heat can sooth sore muscles. I find for myself the epsom salt (magnesium) helps release some of the water causing swelling everywhere and I feel lighter after I get out. Plus, the magnesium absorbed can help prevent or lessen leg cramps that often plague pregnant mamas.

Throughout the 2nd trimester I was able to continue working out. Early on, I had written myself a basic strength training plan that included a lot of core exercises to keep connected with those muscles and help minimize my diastasis recti. Now, this did not by any means, prevent a DR, I definitely have one! And some studies suggest that 100% of women have some degree of abdominal separation by the time they reach 35 weeks pregnant, so I am by no means surprised. I had a separation with my first baby, and I have one now. Though I do feel a lot more connected with all of my core muscles because of the intentional training I’ve done throughout pregnancy.

Late into my 3rd trimester, I am noticing a few things that I wasn’t really mindful of the first time around. I’m finding it easier and easier to ‘forget’ about my pelvic floor. It has remained easy to keep my transverse abs engaged, but my PF have a tendency to ‘turn off’ and I have to consciously recruit it, which I as regularly as I can! I have continued my PFPT exercises throughout, but I find if I miss a day or two (hello, pregnancy brain) then it becomes even more difficult to connect with those muscles when I return to them. I believe this illustrates why women need to see PFPT and learn how to contract & relax those muscles consciously, so when the heaviness of a full term pregnancy takes hold, she can still recruit those muscles when needed, and they will be easier to connect with postpartum.

When it comes to my prolapse, it really hasn’t bothered me at all since after seeing my PFPT months ago! Though, from what she said this is common, as once the uterus becomes large enough to rise above the pubic symphysis, it pulls the tissues up and a lot of women report a relief of symptoms in later pregnancy. Headed into labor and birth, I hope I can use all I’ve learned from PFPT and my own experiences to minimize any worsening of the prolapse. I just hope I’ll be able to heal it all up again like I did the first time around!

Be sure to follow my Instagram or Facebook, or subscribe to this blog to read my follow up postpartum!

{Click here to read my Birth Story!}

Pregnancy After Prolapse (5)