Thursday, 28 September 2017

Pelvic Health Series: Our journey to regaining strength, alignment and function Jamie - part 1

I am physically the strongest I have ever been in my life. I just achieved a personal best in a half marathon in August. I am one year postpartum. So, you are probably asking yourself, why on earth would she go see a pelvic health physiotherapist now?

In order to know where you’re going, you need to know where you’ve come from, so let’s go back in time and I will tell you a little bit about my pre and postnatal history.   My first child, Everly, came along just over three years ago.  I was active during her pregnancy; I practiced yoga once a week, ran until about 20 weeks gestation, and afterwards continued to walk daily.  We lived in Phoenix, Arizona at the time so it was easy to get outside every day.  I had high blood pressure towards the end of the pregnancy and was induced at 38 weeks gestation.  After about six hours of labour Everly’s heart rate was dropping with every contraction and I was about 1cm dilated.  My obstetrician, husband JJ, and I made the decision to deliver by cesarean.  The surgery went well, Everly was born healthy, and I had an easy recovery.  At four weeks postpartum my obstetrician cleared me for exercise without much guidance. So being na├»ve and not knowing any better at this point in my life, I started running. I know. I am shaking my head at myself right now. 

photo by Roughley Originals
Fast forward two years and I was pregnant with my second child, Camden.  We moved from Phoenix back to Edmonton during this time and I am so lucky to have found Fit Your Life and Kellie.  I was again active during this pregnancy with running, walking and Fit Your Life classes and took proper precautions to modify as necessary for my body.  For his birth, my husband and I decided on a scheduled repeat cesarean section and everything went smoothly.  This recovery was not as easy as Everly’s. I had a lot more pain in my incision site and bled much longer.  I found it so much harder to take it easy during this recovery with a toddler to take care of.  This time around though, with more knowledge, once I was cleared at six weeks postpartum, I continued to listen to my body and heavily modified exercises for what my body needed.   

So, I modified and took my time getting fully back into exercise and I backed off when my body told me to, which leads me back to my initial question…why did I choose to see Jillian Palmer at Bounce Back PhysicalTherapy?
I am going to try to be completely candid with you. 
I was having a lot of pain on the right side of my c-section incision when doing lower core strengthening exercises. 
I was feeling pressure and heaviness rectally when I did jumping jacks, especially weighted jack presses. 
I knew I had some abdominal separation that wasn’t going away. 

With all of those red flags, why didn’t I book an appointment sooner? Why did it take me close to a year to finally book an appointment? How can I work with women every day and recommend they take care of themselves and not do the same for myself?

I could give you at least 100 reasons that ran through my head telling me why I shouldn’t go, why I didn’t need to go. 
I kept telling myself that I was ok. 
If I really focused on engaging my pelvic floor while doing jumping jacks, the pressure was less so I justified to myself that it was fine.  I just needed to focus more while doing jacks. 
When I self-checked for Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation) and really activated my core to squeeze my abdominals I was able to get my separation much closer together. Again, justifying in my head that I was fine.
But really it came down to one little thing…I was scared.  I was nervous about the internal exam.  I was nervous the physiotherapist would find something wrong with me.  There were so many unknowns about booking an appointment and I really don’t like unknowns and uncertainty. 
I was in complete denial.
I finally decided that enough was enough.
I was telling other women that they should go get checked.
I was supporting women daily on their recovery journeys. 
I started to think about the consequences of not going, if there was something that needed to be fixed. 
It was time that I stopped only talking the talk and needed to walk the walk too, so I took the plunge and booked an appointment.
I felt an instant sense of relief once the appointment was made and pride that I overcame my fear and took the first step in advocating for my own health.

So what happened at my first appointment?  What was my experience like? 
Stay tuned to part 2 in our series.

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