I think I’ve posted under this title before, but I can assure you it wasn’t about the same subject. This time I’m going to have a bit of a whinge, but before I begin I have to stress the fact that the outcome is worth every bit of pain and inconvenience that I’m currently suffering.
As a result of my pregnancy and the fact that the babies were so large (I was carrying over 13lb of baby by the end), I have seperated my abdominal wall (a condition known as Diastasis Recti). There are degrees of seperation, with many women developing a gap of 1-2cm between the two rows of abdominal muscles (imagine your 6 pack split into two 3 packs). Unfortunately my seperation is more like 25cm. My two rows of abs have basically become obliques.
I first suspected that something was wrong whilst I was lying in my hospital bed and I could see bubbles of gas moving under my skin. I wondered if my good friend Pain Pump (see previous post) was messing with my head again, but it turns out that there is nothing between my skin and my intestines. As gross as that is, it turns out that it is the lesser of the related problems. The main issue when you have no abdominal strength is that you have no core strength, and therefore nothing supporting your back.
As a boxer I have always had incredible core strength and have always just taken it for granted. Turns out that the boxing was my downfall. The more developed your abdominal wall, the more likely it is to become seperated when stretched – or so they tell me now. My surgeon became aware of the issue very early on but didn’t say anything. I actually respect him for that – telling me while I was pregnant would only have served to distress me – and in turn my babies.
So now I am dealing with the consequences. I have to wear full abdominal strapping from my thighs to my chest in order to protect both my gut and support my back. I am not allowed to carry anything heavier than a baby (so I can’t carry the babies in their capsules, both babies at once, the groceries, the baby bath when it’s full etc etc), I can lift my arms over my head (so I can’t hang out washing), I can’t bend over to pick things up, I can’t push the buggy up hills and I can’t do any exercise other than walking. All this for 3 months.
[Insert multiple expletives here.]
As the mother of new twins, I find these restrictions INCREDIBLY frustrating.
The good thing is that it isn’t painful as such. My hips and my back are a constantly nagging source of pain, but I can’t feel anything in my abs. That is frustrating in a way, because I don’t know if they are getting better.
In order to rectify the problem I have a program of physio exercises (but nothing that uses my abs!). If that doesn’t work, I’ll have to have them stitched back together. As if that wasn’t gross enough, the extra ass kicker is that although the surgery is deemed necessary in extreme cases, it is considered cosmetic so isn’t covered by insurance. It is also considered a complication of pregnancy, rather than an accident so isn’t covered by our ACC system. Basically I’m screwed.
So I’m crossing my fingers and doing my exercises.
Every now and then I feel ridiculously frustrated by the whole thing, but then I remind myself what an incredibly small price it is to pay for Israel and Hunter, who have become the axis of my universe.
I’m the luckiest (broken) new mother in the world.