Maternity Physiotherapy

June
Week 18

I started maternity physiotherapy this week which my doctor referred me to after explaining to him the physical problems I have been having since gaining pregnancy weight on my belly. Let me break this down for you so you know exactly what I am going through.

– I am currently suffering from SPD

– I have lower back pain

– My hip is extremely painful

– I have piriformis syndrome, a neuromuscular disorder which is related to the sciatic nerve. Therefore, sometimes when I walk my leg gives way and a fall to the ground.

All of the pains I am having is on the right side of my body and I have been waddling since being 11 weeks pregnant because of this. I was very anxious about the different pains I have been having – they have made me feel somewhat depressed and unhappy as I have never experienced such discomfort before all I kept thinking is my belly is going to get bigger plus more weight gain equals more pain. How will I cope? I remembered the strategies my counsellor provided me with to manage with my anxiety. I regularly use mediation through taking deep breathes to help me relax and I started swimming classes to help with exercise that would not be strenuous or cause me anymore pain. Physiotherapy is to help strengthen my back and piriformis which will in turn improve my mobility – hopefully it works.

My husband purchased me a body pillow to help me sleep better at night something the physiotherapist suggested to help take pressure off my stomach when laying on my side. I must say it has worked somewhat especially with the pains I have in my thighs and the piriformis syndrome. Women expecting twins or multiples are recommended to buy a firm body pillow as the pregnancy weight we carry will help to balance our bodies during the night on the pillow. My body pillow was purchased from Amazon but there are so many websites you can purchase them from so shop around for a good deal and good quality as you want it to last.

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD)

June
Week 15

I had my last counselling session this week for my anxiety I wouldn’t go as far as saying my feelings of anxiety have completely disappeared but I do feel more in control. My counsellor advised I continue to use the techniques she provided me with to manage my anxiety episodes when they occur. I felt quite confident about this as they have worked in the past. Just to recap here is what she suggested I do:
– breathing techniques
– meditation
– counting to 10 slowly
– exercise
– eat a well-balanced diet

There are many other techniques if none of the above work for you – there’s no harm in trying it’s a big step to take and there is support out there available to you. Please visit your doctor who can help with this. I also use this anxiety website which I have found to be a great coping tool.

Back in April’s blog (week 10) I said I spent time doing research for information about twin pregnancies and I couldn’t find an informative website devoted to twins – well I found one, or should I say my counsellor did. I discussed not being able to find a twins website for information and advice during pregnancy and she recommended a site called ‘Tamba’ who are based in the U.K. and provide information and advice for twins and multiple births. They don’t have an app but their website is tamba.
I have signed up to their weekly newsletter, they have an advice line you can call and provide different sessions you can attend (some chargeable) in different parts of the UK. There are lots of useful tips available for twins and multiples. Check it out!

For the first time I experienced Pelvic Girdle Pain (also know as Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction – SPD). I’m sure there are plenty of pregnant women carrying one baby, twins or multiples who have experienced this agonising pain. Unfortunately for me I was on a plane with some girlfriends going to Prague for a few days (short pre-birthday trip). When we landed and I started walking down the stairs of the aircraft I felt the most excruciating pain in my pelvis area and nearly lost my balance. I had no idea what it was or where it came from – to be honest I was petrified. I actually had an anxiety attack because I thought I would have to go to hospital in Prague and didn’t want to do so in another country. When I got to my hotel I called my mother who works in a hospital and described the pain to her. She diagnosed it as Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction Syndrome (SPD) which I researched online and knew I had it instantly when looking at the different images and reading the different symptoms. Doing the research and knowing what condition I had helped the anxiety go away. Also I remembered one of the tools to coping with anxiety which was to take big deep breathes to help you to relax. SPD is a very common condition in women which improves after child birth. Luckily the pain subsided some what and I was able to enjoy my short break.

Nuchal Scan

May
Week 12

I’m now 12 weeks pregnant and feeling rather heavy and fat. I know I’m only 3 months but the physical changes that are taking place with my body are very noticeable especially for someone like me who is use to going to the gym regularly. I’m eating more than I should do and it’s because of the nausea and awful bitter taste I have in my mouth. I’m more anxious than ever and still attending counselling sessions which are really useful as I can openly discuss how I’m feeling and coping.

I would really advise anyone with a mental health issue to seek professional help and support it’s really useful. Also the last thing you want to do is suffer in silence it’s best to avoid stress as when you’re stressed so is your baby (in my case, babies). If you can’t get or don’t want professional help then speak to family and friends it’s really helpful to talk to someone about how you feel. There are also pregnancy groups that you can attend, other mums you can share your issues with and vice versa – don’t be left feeling like you’re alone on this journey as I am living proof that talking to someone helps.

I’m feeling more anxious than usual this month as I have my Nuchal scan this week. Once again I had my husband by my side telling me not to worry. I wish I was as relaxed as him. Just to explain the procedure this is a scan that takes place between weeks 11-14 of pregnancy to assess how baby’s are developing and to see of there are any birth defects such as Down’s syndrome as well as major congenital heart problems.
The NT scan measures the clear (translucent) space in the tissue at the back of your baby’s neck. Babies with abnormalities tend to accumulate more fluid at the back of their neck during the first trimester, causing this clear space to be larger than average. Throughout my scan I had this awful tight feeling in my chest, I couldn’t breath properly, I was praying my babies were ok. I was so scared, worried, nervous all at once. Here I am in the image above laying on my back, my anxiety kicking in full effect. When the doctor told me both twins measured 1.3mm fluid behind their neck I was relieved. If fluid is a thick as 3.1mm I would have been referred to have an amniocentesis test which involves a long needle being inserted into your stomach and fluid being withdrawn. Please be aware there is a risk of miscarriage through this procedure (seek medical advice first).

Once I was given the news of the measurements of fluid as well as my blood test results the chest pains I was experiencing subsided and I felt I could breath properly again. I spoke to my counsellor who said it sounded like I was having a mild panic attack – no surprises there then! This happens often.

Research Week

April
Week 10

I called this week ‘Research Week’ because I spent a lot of time online researching information about babies and twins. As I said when I started this blog there is undoubtedly a lot of information out there about the development of babies but not as much for twins. However, I found some useful information with regards to the changes pregnant women go through in the first trimester which I wasn’t aware of.

Have you heard of the Baby Centre? If not I strongly recommend you sign up if you’re pregnant. They are an American based company that started in 1997 and provide information and advice about conception, pregnancy, birth, early childhood development for parents and expecting parents. They have a really good app you can download on your phone and provide weekly updates on the development of your baby once you sign up and enter your due date BabyCenter.

Unfortunately there isn’t much information on twins but that seems to be the case everywhere. I’m yet to find a website or app devoted to multiple babies only. If anyone knows of one please let me know.

On the Baby Centre app you can track your babies growth week by week and they also have useful tips and support when going through your 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimester. Even better I found meal plans which I have used to ensure my babies are getting the right amount of nutrients to develop as well as taking pregnacare vitamins which helps to prevent birth defects.

Another website and app I have registered with is the bump. They are also an American company based in NYC. There app is as good as the baby centre app. They give you weekly updates, answer questions you might have and have a forum of mums for the different dates your baby is born on – pretty cool I’d say.

Sand Between My Toes

April
Week 9

I went to Spain for one week with my husband thought some sunshine and sea breeze would do me some good. How wrong I was!
I spent most of my holiday sleeping I didn’t realise I would feel so tired all the time. This is very common in pregnancy whether you’re expecting one baby, twins or multiples. I didn’t get to enjoy myself as much as I normally would on holiday as I love travelling and exploring, I can’t keep still when I’m abroad. This time round I didn’t do much of that but one thing I did do which helped with my anxiety was to sit by the beach, listening to the sea and putting my feet in the sand and water. The feeling of sand between my toes helped me to relax and some what feel stress free. Clearly this was something I needed as I was feeling overwhelmingly anxious about my babies growing healthy inside me.

Considering I was only 9 weeks pregnant you could tell I was actually pregnant. My stomach had a little bump which I was worried about but when I spoke to my doctor she informed me this is rather common as I’m having twins. She said some women show rather early and others don’t it’s quite normal and that I shouldn’t worry. She suggested I try some medication to manage my anxiety but I decided against it as I felt I could deal with it through counselling and would only worry even more so that the medication would harm the twins. What I eat they eat and also I read online that some birth defects occur about two or three times more frequently in babies born to women who took the SSRI medications Paxil and Prozac early in pregnancy. for more information about this visit http://www.adaa.org. However, there are other medications out there available to pregnant women with anxiety it’s just best to discuss this with your doctor first.

Morning Sickness

April
Week 8

So far I’ve had no morning sickness and thank the lord for this as I don’t know how I would have coped. Every pregnant woman I’ve spoken to that has had morning sickness has said it was awful. However, I have had terrible spouts of nausea along with a bitter taste in my mouth making me constantly wanting to eat! eat! eat! I’m always thinking something terrible might go wrong as well. I feel like my anxiety is taking over me. As much as I want to enjoy this experience I can’t because I constantly worry. My counsellor sets me tasks to complete every week as well as providing me with coping mechanisms which I find hard to do as I worry all the time. So what I do instead is read about coping with anxiety because completing tasks is not something I’m in the right frame of mind to do.

I visited the hospital again for another scan I was feeling really anxious my husband told me to try and not worry we have god on our side but I was so scared. I kept thinking something was wrong the doctor would tell me bad news. I really tried to think positive but it wasn’t working. I got to hear my babies heartbeat I can not begin to tell you how relieved I was when the doctor said everything was ok with both babies. I felt like a huge weight had lifted off my shoulders. My husband was really excited to hear this as well as see them on the scan. I wish I could enjoy this experience just like he was but my anxiety was taking over. One twin measured bigger than the other on the scan but the doctor said it’s nothing to worry about – clearly we know who is eating all the food. I have named them twin A and B for now no official names yet I don’t even know the genders.

First Came The Shock….

March
Week 4

So, I found out I was ‘officially’ pregnant at week 4 to be exact. I took a urine sample at the hospital which confirmed it. I wasn’t 100% sure if I was pregnant at first because one test I took at home read negative and another positive. Due to suffering severe pains in my groin I dialled 111 (an NHS non-emergency number) who advised me to go to the early pregnancy department at my local hospital. So, off I went to the hospital. I had to take a urine sample whilst there and was told I would need to have an internal scan. I continued to wait in the waiting area then decided to approach a nurse to ask her what my results were from urine sample. She confirmed I was actually pregnant which at first shocked then slowly started to sink in. However, I didn’t have much time to soak this information in because I had to have a scan.

My name was called by a nurse and I followed her into a room where a doctor was waiting to proceed with the scan. As the scan took place the doctor was talking to the nurse in ‘doctor language’ as I call it. She then turned to me and said with a huge smile on her face “would you like the first good news or second good news?” I replied “what do you mean by that?” She then said “you’re  having twins” I replied,  “there must be some sort of mistake” I sat up from the hospital bed and turned the monitor to see what she was looking at. I asked the doctor to prove it to me. All I could see was two little black holes. I was in total shock, lost for words, confused all at the same time. I only went to the hospital to confirm my pregnancy. All I kept thinking was how did this happen? What am I going to do? I have to tell my husband.

My life will change forever….

When my husband came home from work he asked me how things went at the hospital. I said, “I’m pregnant!” He replied, “I knew that already you have been acting differently over the last couple of weeks and complained of groin pain, you just needed confirmation.” I then went on to say there’s more and handed him a scan photo the doctor gave me. He just starred at the picture for a while, the conversation continued like this…

(Husband) “What is this?”

(Me) “A scan photo”

(Husband) “Ok, what does it show?”

(Me) “It shows an image of two black holes which represent babies”

(Husband) “Ok, but why are there two black holes for one baby?”

(Me) “There isn’t two black holes for one baby there’s two black holes for two babies. We’re having twins”

At this point I could tell my husband was in shock, he leaned on the wall for support and said “How did this happen? We only tried once.”