The Happy Baby Project

A happy baby needs a happy mum


5 Comments

Remedies for a Bad Back

Untitled

I’m 32 weeks with a huge bumperoo, and had some good news lately. After lots of R&R and a lovely relaxing babymoon in Kent (thanks to The Chef!), I’m feeling healthy, happy and rested. And a 32 week scan revealed an incredibly fat baby (top 97 percentile tummy size!), and no longer a vertically-challenged placenta, but one that has moved up and beyond my cervix. Hurrah.

But the latest problem I’ve had to deal with – which seems fairly common for this stage of pregnancy – is a bad back. I’ve had lower back and pelvic girdle pain, shooting pains in my pelvis from my sacroiliac joint popping out, and incredibly tight, stiff, tense back muscles from carrying the weight of El Bumpo.

While I’ve accepted that this is likely to happen on and off until baby arrives, I thank my lucky stars I’ve avoided SPD, and I’ve found several things that have helped me that I wanted to share:

  • I’ve found reflexology absolutely amazing. It gives a holistic solution to problems, dealing with both emotional and physical issues. For example, my wonderful reflexologist suggested some of my back problems stemmed from weeks of stress over Christmas, and worries about money and nesting, which caused my upper and lower back to tense up. That something which at its most basic was a very relaxing “foot rub” also diagnosed anxiety and digestion issues, shows what a powerful thing it is. I have no idea how it works, but for me it really has. I see Shirley-Ann Foster in Kingston.
  • I also do a monthly preggie massage with Shirley-Ann which relaxes me and allows me to get a good night’s sleep.
  • I’ve seen an osteopath for my back which was good, but I’ve found preggie physio really beneficial as all our body’s muscles are linked and a problem in one place often stems from issues in another. I had lower back and pelvis pain which turned out to be due to tight thigh muscles which needed to be stretched out. Agonising shooting pains in my pelvis were due to my sacroiliac joint popping out which needed to be slotted back in place. And now my lower back and pelvis pain is caused by several things, including the baby putting pressure on my thorax capacity and upper back (which has also made my breathing similar to Darth Vader), and the bump pulling my weight forwards, making my back strain to keep me upright. Physio massages are painful but brilliant for loosening up and getting a comfortable night’s sleep. I see Helen Keeble at the White Hart Lane Clinic, Barnes.
  • My physio also tried some acupuncture on me which was amazing. Based on traditional Chinese medicine, but adapted for the Western world, it works by pushing a needle into your muscle, causing the muscle to contract around it and then to relax. It also causes a small wound which sends healing waves to the area. Finally, the points can respond to different body issues – the points in my back where I was most tight responded to my bladder median. Surely not surprising that having to wee 100 times a day might have caused problems….
  • Stretching exercises have been amazing in trying to keep flexible. Try a few of these at the bus stop / train platform / at your desk:
    • Pelvic tilts
    • Cat stretches
    • Front thigh and calf stretches
    • Bum squeezes
    • Upper body and shoulder twists
    • Pelvic floor squeezes
  • Preggie yoga (and pilates I’d imagine, although I found it too difficult to do with a big bump) has really helped in stretching me out and limbering me up, the breathing and repetition making me more flexible. I see Natalie Meddings at the Garage Studio, Barnes.
  • Really practical comforts are:
    • Hot-water battles
    • Ice packs
    • Dream Genii pillow to sleep with
    • Deep heat creams (I also used Marmot Fat cream  – apparently an Austrian muscle and joint healer!)
    • I’d imagine any chemist-bought muscle relaxing creams and heated pads would help massively both for bad backs and for labour
    • Hypno-birthing relaxing CDs to breathe the pain away.

Finally, and I’m having to remind myself this all the time – TAKE IT EASY. After frantic nesting for weeks, I spent pretty much the whole of last weekend in bed, watching Modern Family on the iPad, and it did me the world of good. As a couple of lovely blog comments have already taught me, this really is the only time I can ever put my feet up, treat myself and relax, as the next time I go through this, I’ll have a mental toddler with a giant belly running round. I’m trying not to feel guilty about cancelling social arrangements, delegating housework, or asking friends to give me a pillow to sit on.


15 Comments

Daddy?

Hello. I’m The Chef that she occasionally talks about. I keep making a balls of things and this is why. She doesn’t know that I am posting this and I genuinely hope that she doesn’t KILL me for hacking into her blog.

***************************************************************************************************************************************************

It’s funny how a stream of warm, alcohol-infused piss can change your life for ever.

‘It’s positive’.

‘What’s positive?’ I hadn’t put my contacts in yet and was brutally hung-over.

‘This!’ shaking something white in my general direction.

Shitting hell.

Two minutes earlier we had been screaming at each other about something that seemed at the time to be important. One of the arguments that we still have, about everything and nothing. About communication, competitive instincts and damp bath mats. I hope that our child never finds out that Mummy did a pregnancy test just to stop Mummy and Daddy being mean to each other. But that’s what happened. ‘It’s positive’ she said and I loved her so much.

I had to go out to buy a second test ‘The digital one! It HAS to be CLEAR. BLUE. DIGITAL! ‘.

I crashed my car in Sainsbury’s car park- ripped the passenger door handle clean off.

The second one was positive too but it seems that Clapham High Street is in some strange time continuum because we were 2 weeks more pregnant than we had been half an hour earlier. I still don’t understand how they work out how pregnant you are. Not understanding has rather become my default setting of late.

I am not an insensitive man. I am enlightened- My university dissertation was about the ethics of male feminism, and I genuinely think that women should rule the world. But I don’t get it.

I find it hard.

I find it hard that my beautiful wife (and she genuinely is) was so disfigured, so brutalised by her first trimester that she couldn’t leave the house.

I find it hard that I don’t care as much as she does. I can sense her disappointment when my eyes don’t light up during discussions about prams.  She thinks I don’t care.

And I don’t.

Not like she does. I can’t. Can I?

For me, now, it is abstract.  For her it is a son or a daughter that she is keeping warm. For me it’s a promise of something more, a present that I can’t unwrap, a halcyon summer after crappy A-Levels. Something distant and exciting but when I try to grab it, I can’t.  I feel stupid talking to a bump. I feel guilty when I can’t summon enthusiasm about hypno-birthing (or even find out what it is) and I feel helpless when my wife cries. And worse when it is because of me. When she is mean I crave her love like a wounded child. It’s pathetic. I KNOW about hormones, I KNOW that she resents me because I’m not carrying a baby or suffering from hives and insomnia, but I hate it when she is mean to me. I am, in those instances thin-skinned, over sensitive and have little or no consideration about what is happening inside her head or who is wriggling inside her body.

But what kills me the most is when she worries about money, about stability and security. She has something to protect now- something to keep from evil, to nurture. I just have a wife with a bump. Her nesting instinct has gone into override and again I look into her eyes and I know that she NEEDS me, in a very Darwinian, animalistic way to look after her and HER child. And of course I will, but it’s not because of a primeval urge yet- like it is for her. It’s because it is the done thing, polite convention. There is nothing in my psyche gnawing at me, insisting with utter absolutism that I do the right thing.

I need to hold my baby. Feel its breath on my cheek. Know that my wife is safe and well. I need the little bugger to grip my finger, have my eyes and smile before I love it like my wife does now. But when I do, I know that I will love it ferociously and without condition until the day I die.

So, darling S, I love you more than anything, more than I love my unborn child. For now. But come March and I suspect you will have some serious competition.

So until then darling girl, how about you look after our baby and keep him or her safe, warm and well and in return, I’ll do my very best to make sure that I spend every waking minute thinking about how to look after you.