When women tell me just how much they loved being pregnant, I realize that it’s probably because they don’t have any sciatica issues like I do. My mom used to suffer with terrible pain in her hip, which she attributed to having polio as a child. When it would act up, usually after sitting all day at a desk, she would use it as an excuse to lay lengthwise on the couch, slurping down glass after glass of wine until she no longer felt any pain or functioned as a parent.
I get pain from time to time too. However, instead of choosing a sedentary route of self medication and justification for alcohol abuse, I’ve found that exercise has been the best way to treat it. Before I was pregnant, I would attend yoga classes, do cardio on an elliptical machine and lift weights at the gym to alleviate the pain. I would see a massage therapist and stretch at home.
Since I’m so late in my pregnancy, most of those things are sort of off the table. The pain and my physical condition prevent me from doing much, and as my body prepares itself for labor, my hips are stretching and flexing out to allow a human to pass through them. As a result, the pinging pain in my right hip has come back with a vengeance.
I’ve been trying to walk, but as I’m more of a belly with legs, it’s more of a gyroscopic wobble than an actual walking. A few days ago, we decided to go over to Longwood Gardens to attend their Nightscape event. At night, they set up music and light shows throughout the gardens and walkways, and I really love going. My son has also gotten to the point where we can enjoy it too.
But our attendance meant that I’d be on my feet and walking for an inordinate amount of time. All in all I ended up putting in about 2.5 miles. We had to push back my son’s bedtime in order to see the show, so getting him out of the gardens when we were done meant dealing with the inevitable meltdown and tantrum that accompanied it. We did get him home and into bed eventually, only to have him wake up around 4:00 a.m., unable to get back to sleep.
As I laid in bed for that short stint, I rolled on my side to put a pillow between my legs (standard pregnancy sleeping position for me), and heard this loud crack as my hip finally settled back into place. The pain was simultaneously terrifying and satisfying, as I was able to move normally almost immediately afterward. So, when the little guy decided to get up at 4:00 a.m. having wet the bed and needed an entire bedding change, I was actually able to help and be with him.
The rest of that morning was hell, unable to go back to sleep, he fussed in the bed, until just before sunrise, when I relented finally, and took him downstairs. I dozed during episodes of Sesame Street, not really getting any solid sleep, and tried not to let it get me down. After all, with a new baby coming, sleep disturbances and insomnia would become my way of life. I knew I had to get used to it again. The attachment to the idea that I’d ever get a full night’s sleep ever again is unhelpful, depressing, and most of all, unrealistic.