Sparkles & Stretchmarks: A UK Parenting & Pregnancy Blog: Third Pregnancy Problems - My Lowest Points Survival Guide

Friday, 22 January 2016

Third Pregnancy Problems - My Lowest Points Survival Guide


When it comes to pregnancy, the media tend to only show you the plus sides.

You hear all about that illusive pregnancy "glow", the magical little kicks and the perfectly round little bump - births on TV shows tend to happen with a quick squeal of pain and a push (And out pops a 20 lb baby the size of a 6 month old!) - you don't often get to see the behind the scenes not-so-glamourous parts!

So you could be forgiven for expecting pregnancy to be a bit of a breeze...well I'm 3 pregnancies in now, and I can confirm that it most definitely is not!



Of course pregnancy is a very different experience for all women, and I can only speak from mine but I've talked before about how my body doesn't seem to be designed to handle pregnancy very efficiently...I was informed at the start of this pregnancy that it gets more difficult on your body each time, and so I waited with baited breath to find out what joys awaited me this time!

At first I thought perhaps I was the exception to the rule, as I wasn't struck down with hyperemesis this time as I had been with both of my previous pregnancies - but I'm almost at the end of the 9 months now and I can confirm that my midwife was indeed right, it DOES get more difficult each time.



Maybe it's because you have other children to look after (I never thought I'd envy my first-time pregnant self with all of her constant throwing up and exhaustion, but she could at least nap in peace!! I DO envy her!), maybe it's because you're that bit older and your body has been through so much strain already from your previous pregnancies, who knows...whatever the reason, this pregnancy has REALLY taken it out of me.

I was also naive enough to think that, because I`ve done this twice before, there wouldn't be any nasty surprises in store for me along the way this time...but I was wrong! This pregnancy has hit me with a whole host of new and, quite frankly, disgusting and embarrassing symptoms that the previous ones never did.

And so today, in the spirit of being honest and documenting the ugly truth, I'm sharing the details of third time pregnancy - or at least my own personal experience of it- in all it's glory (along with my suggestions on ways to cope!)

PAIN

I first started to experience pain in my hips and groin at around 12 weeks this time, which seemed very early compared to previous pregnancies where it didn't hit until later on when I was carrying much more weight.

 I mentioned it to my midwife and she informed me that yes, the pain would start earlier this time and would get progressively worse throughout. 

She gave me the wonderfully useful advice of trying not to pick up my children or lift them in and out of the car for the rest of pregnancy....Hmmm, wonderful idea in theory...not very practical with a 2 yr old and 5 month old to look after though is it?!

As the months have gone on, the pain has most certainly become a lot worse and I now find it pretty much impossible to turn over in bed or sit on the floor to play with the children or change Noah's nappy - If I do make the mistake of sitting on the floor it's less than a minute before the sharp pain starts in my hips and I struggle to get back up again.

I have also found that the pain in my previous c-section scar has been excruciating - I didn't feel any pain in my previous scar last time, but perhaps because of how close to my last pregnancy this one is...this time it's been absolute agony, particularly in the last few weeks. It literally feels like I`m being stabbed and the sudden pain makes me actually scream each time it happens - which is usually when I cough, sneeze or try to stand up from laying down flat.

My midwife informed me at my last appointment that I'm not carrying this baby in my back at all, that the entire weight of the pregnancy is completely out in the front - meaning a lot of pressure on my previous wound and on my hips, therefore causing more pain.

I have heard many people say that they've been referred for various therapies or given crutches for SPD, unfortunately my midwife is very much of the "Awwww bless you...it's just one of those things" variety who offers nothing in the way of actual help....

I also experience quite a lot of back spasms this time around, which I never did before - they seem to strike mostly when I'm in the car and the waves of pain can really bring a tear to my eye as they are SO painful.

How to Cope: 

There isn't really a quick fix solution with this one but I have found a few things that help somewhat.

Finding a comfortable sitting position is, of course key, and things that can help with this are v-shaped/nursing pillows as they offer enough support without allowing you to fully recline (which can often be more painful). 

Avoid sitting on the floor completely if you can - I totally understand the need and desire to get down on the floor to play with the kids (And the guilt that comes with that, which I'll talk more about in a minute!) but it's just not worth the pain it causes - Instead try to take games to the table or up onto the sofa, so that you can still play with the children but without causing yourself more pain.

Try a support belt - I started using a support belt from Belly Bandit at around 20 weeks, when the pain was really becoming unbearable, and it helped a lot - it just relieves some of the pressure and strain on your back, and makes carrying the weight of the bump that bit more comfortable.

Apply heat (but not directly to the bump) - when in the car I found that turning on the in-seat heating helped with the back spasms a lot (if you're lucky enough to have it of course - my own car doesn't, but we had a rental for a while which did and it was BLISS!), otherwise applying a heat pad or using a hot water bottle helps a lot.

Incontinence

Once I started getting into the third trimester, I started to notice that after I would finish having a wee and had stood up to wash hands - I would sometimes notice a slight trickle! This can also occur when you laugh, cough or sneeze or even just when you need the loo but can't get to one quickly enough - it can be different for every woman. But for me personally it's only ever happened immediately after emptying my bladder.

The first time this happens it can actually be quite concerning as you can worry that you may be losing amniotic fluid - if you're at all unsure about this you should immediately call your midwife or health care providers for advice. But if you're sure this is just urine, then of course the main thing you will feel is embarrassment! I get it!! It IS embarrassing and nobody wants to talk about it (Do you think I'm enjoying this?!) - but the thing, it happens.

It happens to a LOT of women - in fact 25% of women will experience incontinence during or after pregnancy, and your likelihood of experiencing it gets higher with each pregnancy that you have.

How To Cope:

Of course, Kegel exercises are key in trying to avoid this and I have to admit I was never the best at keeping up with them - but once it's already started happening, what can you do?!

The best thing you can do is invest in some products to wear to help keep the leakage discreet and ensure your comfort.

I found a great online tool to help with choosing the right incontinence pads for you based on how heavy the leakage is, when it occurs and what kind of protection is important to you as well how mobile you are,

I use a discreet pad called the MoliMed Comfort which is looks similar to a sanitary towel and is just as discreet - nobody would ever know that you're wearing them and they really help to give me extra peace of mind, particularly when I`m out and about! They're nice and discreet to pop into your handbag too and you can order them directly online from Hartmann Direct, the packaging they arrive in is also discreet so you needn't worry about alerting the postman to your problems!

Hemorrhoids

It just keep's getting more and more glam, doesn't it?!

Again, something that nobody likes to talk about but did you know that hemorrhoids actually affect over HALF of all pregnant women? 

They are particularly common during the second and third trimester, and are thought to be caused by pressure from your enlargening uterus as well as an increased blood flow to the affected area. Issues with passing stool in pregnancy (which can often be experienced particularly if a woman is on iron supplements for pregnancy anemia, which I have been!) can also cause them.

Hemerrhoids can be very itchy, uncomfortable and even painful - just not a pleasant experience at all! The good news is, they should clear up quite easily once the pregnancy is over with!

How To Cope:

*Stay regular and don't strain - This can be difficult to achieve, particularly if you are having to take iron supplements which can cause constipation, but try to eat a fibre rich diet and drink plenty of water to keep yourself regular and your stools as soft as possible. Avoid straining when on the loo as much as possible. You can also request stool softeners from your Dr.

*Invest in a donut cushion - if it's becoming particularly painful to sit down, and try to keep moving as much as possible as long periods of sitting or laying can worsen the condition.

*Over the counter creams can be very good at taking the swelling down and giving some comfort, although I have personally found the effects to be short term - they keep coming back!

*Stay clean and take a warm bath - use wipes after going to the loo if its more comfortable, or just wet your toilet paper a little to make it more comfortable. A 10-15 minute soak in a warm bath really does help to relieve the discomfort too, and obviously helps to keep everything clean!

GUILT!

This has been, overall, the most painful part of the third pregnancy experience for me. I felt a little guilty when I was having baby number 2 as I wasn't as mobile or as able to play with my toddler as before, I was tired more often...but although I definitely felt those pangs of guilt, they were NOTHING compared to the guilt I have felt this time!

Again, maybe it's because this pregnancy has come about so quickly and my last baby is still such a little baby - but whatever the reason, the guilt has been a killer.

I can't count how many times I've sat in tears of frustration and anguish because I've had to tell my toddler yet again that I'm not able to sit on the floor to play trains with him, or I haven't been able to lift my baby out of his crib by myself because my back gave out - it's a horrible feeling to know your existing children need you but your body isn't allowing you to do all the things you would usually do for them because it's busy growing another baby.

Feeling so exhausted all the time has made me feel awful - as though my kids must wonder why their mummy is always so sleepy. Feeling so easily out of breath and waddling so much has made me feel guilty - as though my kids must be wondering why their mummy isn't running around the park with them like the other mummies.

Everytime I have to explain "No mummy can't go up to the second level of the soft play..." or "No mummy can't lift that big heavy toy up for you" I feel like the world's worst mother. 

Nobody warned me how hard the guilt would be to take. And it feels never ending.

How To Cope: 

Well in all honesty, I'm still trying to find ways to deal with it myself. My partner always manages to make me feel better when he talks me through thinking of things from a logical perspective rather than an emotional one - it's not forever. They won't remember it. I'll make up for it by doing what I can...activities at the table, reading with them, cuddles, movie time, etc. I'll make up for it once the baby is here and I can move more freely again, and get down to play, run around etc. 

I have found that doing the little things that I AM able to do more often has helped - I make sure that I bath Noah and read stories with him, and sing lullabies every night so that he's getting that one on one time. I've started doing more craft and messy play activities with Tyne because it means we can sit together at the table to do them, and I can be comfortable but still engaged and having fun with him.

Try to find whatever activity you can that allows you to spend quality time with your other kids but still allows you to be comfortable. And try not to beat yourself up....it's not forever.

What aspects of pregnancy did you find most difficult third (or more!) time around? What tips would you give to other Mums in this position? As always, I'd love to hear from you!

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6 comments:

  1. Loved reading this post. I have sat down some evenings and already starting to feel guilty and worried about how am I going to be in a few months time. I struggle to go upstairs and bending down a lot and I am only 13 weeks pregnant (nearly 14!). I keep getting a lot of pains and from early on. but noticed Baby is lying on my nerves somewhere I THINK as my sides are hurting me the past two days or so. x

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  2. Im afraid everything you wrote about i still suffer now! And my 3rd has just turned 2!! My hips still ache and click. I suffer piles and have to wee loads. And the guilt...always there that ive just not enough time for all 3 of them. Especially my oldest 2 because as soon as they come home from school Im cooking tea and having to rush out to work.
    The doctor told me it takes longer to recover after your third... no shit!! But surely all my problems can no longer be classed as post natal stuff??!! Hes 2!!
    I know people personally that have had 3/4 kids with NO problems so im just unlucky.
    I wish you a better recovery after :) Cherish your 2 while you can.

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  3. So sorry to hear about your troubles :( I+m in the beginning on my third pregnancy and I was just wondering why does it seem so hard this time, am I getting old? I should be a pro at this. The weeing part is so true, with other pregnancies I only got up once during the night, now it+s about 4 times! Definitely not fun times! Good luck with everything and be strong! :)

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  4. I feel for you I really do! My third baby is 6 months old and thankfully all the aches, pains and guilt are a distant memory. I suffered with aches and pains from pressure which made walking difficult, I couldn't even do the school run for the last few weeks and stopped getting out to groups with my toddler, luckily my partner really helped with school runs at the end. It was hard work at the time it really was and I thought I would never feel 'normal' again but thankfully after having baby and getting into a routine I do feel tonnes better, like I say it is a distant memory now. I hope the same will be for you, the only advice really is to take any help you can, rest when you can and try not to feel too guilty, you are doing a great job! x

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  5. The end of my third pregnancy was awful I was huge and in pain and so so tired, I so envied first time mums. That being said my second pregnancy was the worse with sickness and illness etc. I can't believe your pregnancy is almost over and you will soon have baby number three in your arms xx

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