Monday, July 20, 2009

To work or NOT to work, that is the question!

I just came back from my local GP surgery and just realised I've NOT formally announced this yet, but I am pregnant again and due on 26th September 2009. Hence, why I have a pretty countdown clock on my BLOG!

There's a few reasons why
I didn't reveal this earlier, but mainly it was due to the situation with my employer. As both Jerry and I work for the same company (and in the same office in the financial sector), we were both dragged through a 'weeding out' and reduction process, where we were all at risk of being made redundant. We knew it was coming and in May, our 'consultation period' began, meaning our employer 'proposed' the redundancies, giving us 90 days notice. During this time, we had the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy, apply for other positions within the company or elsewhere, or maybe have the opportunity to be in a pool along with other colleagues, all competing for the same position.

All our performance marks from the last 3 years and our current performance rating were entered into a matrix. Our Line Managers were asked to present business cases to keep members of their team who were deemed high achievers and were then interrogated on all the fine details, having to present hard evidence to back up their case on all of us. Everything they did was apparently done as if it had to be presented at a tribunal...just in case. When there were two or more similar scores, a selection pool process was used and interviews held. Those interviews would then determine whether someone was successful or not.

In my case, I was given the opportunity to go into a pool OR take V.R. However, the catch was that the role I would be applying for was FULL-TIME (not PART-TIME which I am currently doing). They asked me there and then 'Did I want to to be considered or not?'

I know that being pregnant, you have many rights and don't get me wrong, I DO know my rights, inside AND out. But, I don't walk around wit
h rose-tinted glasses and I know that anything could be manipulated and I didn't want to take that risk. I was just concerned that my scores 'could' be manipulated once they knew I was pregnant.

To cut a very long story short, I was asked to attend an interview for the role I was already doing, but with a full-time work pattern. After what seemed like an eternity preparing for the competency-based interview, going through it and then waiting for the outcome, I got the job.

I am pleased, but as a result, friends/colleagues were not as lucky, which makes it hard to be happy. It also brings new problems...my full time role starts in August before I go on maternity leave and Drew's nursery cannot fit her in for those extra 2 days when I will now be working.

Fortunately...or unfortunately...you'll see why in a mo...my very lovely amazing parents who are not even local to us have very very kindly offered to look after Drew for 2 days each week until I go on maternity leave. That's the 'fortunate' bit!

Unfortunately, for those of you who read my posts on SPD back in 2007 ('Groin Pain' and 'SPD & Me'), you'll know all about this already, but SPD, a pregnancy-related illness, has returned. With a vengeance. I knew it might return with the 2nd pregnancy and I have been proved right. This time, however, I felt twinges months earlier than I did the first time round.

SPD generally affects women in the end of the first trimester or after delivery. However, you can experience symptoms at any point during a pregnancy. If you have the symptoms of SPD in one pregnancy, it is likely that you will experience the same symptoms with recurring pregnancies. And I was warned that during 2nd and 3rd pregnancies, the symptoms tend to start earlier and progress faster...(great!!)

So, donning my trusty crutches, I visited the Surgery this morning because the pain was so severe. My GP was keen to sign me off until my maternity leave starts at end of August, but as a compromise, he's agreed that I can work from home instead. But that's it. There is nothing more they can do.

It's an odd pain to describe as I've never experienced anything like it and I've researched this SPD illness in great detail and feel I have done as much as I can, but at the end of the day, there is NO cure.

If you're not sure whether you have SPD or not, below is a comprehensive list of symptoms you may experience:-
  • pubic pain / burning sensation
  • pubic tenderness to the touch
  • lower back pain, especially in the sacro-iliac area
  • difficulty/pain rolling over in bed
  • difficulty/pain with stairs, getting in and out of cars, sitting down or getting up, putting on clothes, bending, lifting, standing on one foot, lifting heavy objects, etc.
  • sciatica (pain in buttocks and down the leg)
  • 'clicking' or bones grinding in the pelvis when walking
  • waddling gait (walking like duck!)
  • difficulty getting started walking, especially after sleep
  • feeling like hip is out of place or has to pop into place before walking
  • bladder dysfunction (temporary incontinence at change in position)
  • knee pain or pain in other areas can sometimes also be a side-effect of pelvis problems
There ARE ways in which you can avoid extreme SPD pain, but it does mean you end up doing practically nothing. AND I MEAN NOTHING!! See list below:-
  • Avoid strenuous exercise
  • Avoid prolonged standing
  • Avoid vacuuming / cleaning
  • Avoid stretching exercises and squatting
  • Brace the pelvic floor muscles before performing any activity which might cause pain
  • Rest the pelvis
  • Sit down for tasks where possible (eg preparing food, ironing, dressing)
  • Avoid lifting and carrying
  • Avoid stepping over things
  • Avoid straddle movements especially when weight bearing
  • It might sound funny...but avoid vibrations such as shouting
  • Bend the knees and keep the legs 'glued together' when turning in bed and getting in and out of bed
  • Place a pillow between the legs when in bed or resting
  • Avoid twisting movements of the body
  • If pain is very severe, crutches (available FREE from NHS Physiotherapists) will help take the weight off the pelvis and assist with mobility
  • For more extreme cases, a wheelchair may be considered advisable
Most women suffering with SPD find coping is difficult. I think the thing that's worse than all the pain and discomfort is that, personally, I feel a huge burden to family and friends and in some instances I have read that some women are concerned for their own mental health. Relatively unknown to many, SPD can have a devastating effect on women. Midwives and other healthcare professionals have a duty to take the condition seriously, although I wasn't diagnosed for a number of weeks when I first had this in 2007.

More research IS needed to ascertain cause, to identify more effective pain relief, and most importantly to raise awareness of SPD and increase information and support.


  1. I have come across your website from netmums, this is my 5th pregnancy but my partners 1st. I too suffered SPD with my last pregnancy resulting in this being 10 times worse this time. I have been signed off work since may and have got till October to have baby. It has been mentioned about having another section due to the SPD but really want to labour. Did you find you suffered after or during labour out of interest?

  2. Hi Simone, 5th pregnancy??? You ARE brave! This the 2nd bout of SPD for me and it has put me off having anymore children. I hear that each time you get pregnant, it gets worse AND comes back quicker. We're pretty unlucky. However, with my first labour, I had an Epidural because the baby was lying back to back, so felt no pain after the injection. After birth, I also did not have any SPD twinges. The Midwife Team were pretty good and tried to get me to lie on my side most of the time. This time though, I am due to see a consultant who will make a decision on the best way to give birth, whether than be a C-Section or not. Were all your births C-Sections and did you suffer during or after with the SPD?