We sat in the waiting room and I looked around. Instead of my usual nerves and butterflies, I felt calm, ready. It felt good to be here, I’d waited and waited, we’d prayed, our family had prayed and the day had finally come. The dude to my left was typing away on an iPad (jealousy may have flitted in my heart for only a second), the lady across from me was old, seasoned and sweet, the girl to my left looked far to young to be here. Nobody looked anxious, everybody just looked relaxed and ready. Then she called my name…
After more than a year of waiting, yesterday I finally had my appointment with the doctors at the UBC/BC Women’s Hospital abdominal Pain and Reproductive Clinic. Up until we arrived, I had hoped I didn’t have to go. Partly because I felt like I’d come to a place where most days I was coping with the hurt and partly because I was afraid.
Not afraid that they would tell me something scary – we’re past that, but afraid that they would tell me nothing at all. That the women and men in that clinic would look at me with the same blank and unemotional stare that so many doctors have over the past 2 years. I’ve undergone so many tests, seen many doctors and had surgery. While some of those things brought about minor relief nothing saw an answer.
“Scar Tissue” they all said, “Nothing we can do”, “maybe it’s Endometriosis” (seriously Dude? Have you even read the symptoms in the pamphlet about that? I don’t HAVE ANY) shoulder shrugs and skeptical looks left me feeling like maybe this was all in my head and I was being a baby. I know something isn’t right, I feel that something is wrong, but everyone else’s doubt seems to make me doubt myself.
The idea of facing more people who’d have no answers left me less than excited about going. I mean, if these people couldn’t help, pretty much I’d be out of options and that in its self was scary. The only thing that left me holding hope was that the good people at Women’s/Children’s hospital have been caring for me since I was 8 months old. They’ve always been kind and they’ve always had an answer.
When she called my name yesterday Corey stood up, held out his hand (while carrying my pink coat. Have I mentioned he rocks!) and in we went. They asked questions, they poked, they prodded, they did ultrasounds, they did injections and looked puzzled. They said it was “unique” and they called in another doctor. They didn’t think that it was ever scar tissue, the surgery in June only helped slightly (they figure those two things are unrelated), they knew it wasn’t Endometriosis, and they didn’t want to open me up again – yay!
Nobody said they couldn’t help! Nobody said they were giving up! Nobody made me feel like they didn’t believe me!
One of the doctors saw us on his lunch. He poked some more, he asked another million questions. He made me stand on one leg (no joke) and then he said, “I think it may be nerve and muscular damage from your pregnancy. And I think we can fix it!”
I almost cried.
They said that many women experience pain in pregnancy, that can be normal. It’s often chalked up to scar tissue (which if you’ve ever had any kind of surgery you have) and it’s very often wrong. Most women’s pain is caused by muscular injury or stress during pregnancy and usually resolves once the baby is born. If it doesn’t, and it lasts 2 years after like it has for me, it’s not normal, but something can usually be done.
The best guess is that I injured my abdominal muscles and some of the nerves (which wrap around into my hips. The same hips that are a rarity in themselves with their clicking and unbelievable flexibility they have) when I was pregnant with Bethany. Once she was born, they were no longer stretched and while the injury was still there, the pain ceased. In between Bethany and Audrey the injury didn’t heal because we didn’t know it needed work, but it also didn’t bother me because basically those muscles weren’t ever affected. Then the second pregnancy rolled around and those muscles and more importantly those nerves, went from being injured to being damaged. By the time Audrey was born the damage was too deep for it to just be fixed by her delivery, nobody ever found its cause and so it’s been sitting damaged for two years.
His hope is that some intense physiotherapy (at a specialty clinic in Surrey/White Rock) along with some trigger point injections at Women’s, as well as regular visits back to them, keep up with the workouts I’ve incorporated into 6 days a week (they haven’t hurt my belly, and they haven’t hurt my keister either, haha) and add some balance ball exercises to strengthen my hips, they could not just help the problem, but fix it! Like, make it better, make it gone – make me feel back to normal!
I almost cried again!
The idea that I could wear pants that fit without fighting tears, hug my children without seeing white spots or play on the floor without fear is exciting! The thought that in a year from now this may be a distant memory is thrilling, and exciting and such an answer to prayer.
Then I asked him the question that has been floating around between Corey and I for two years. The pivotal, decision making question – “If you can fix this, will I be able to have a normal pregnancy?”
I held my breath. I don’t know what I wanted to hear. I don’t know if I want another baby, but I don’t know that I don’t.
He thought about it a moment and then said, “I can’t make any promises. But if this is the problem, and I’m pretty sure it is. And if the therapy and more injections help and we can heal this muscle, then I don’t see why not. You should be able to carry another baby (being careful) to term without this kind of pain and without damaging that muscle and those nerves again”
PRAISE THE LORD!
We left with a referral, and hope.
I’m still pretty sore. The injections (which aren’t cortisone) can take up to a week to work, if they’re going to, and until they do they’ve left me hurting. I think it’s a combination of the shots as well as three people poking at my belly. Even if they were careful, it’s a little tough on the ol’ gut.
I have just over a month until I see the physio guys for the first time, then I’ll have to wait to get back into Women’s and see the doctors again. So it’ll probably be few months before I know more, but for today I’m happy.
There is not only a light at the end of the tunnel but a lightness in my heart.
Yesterday I didn’t just know that God was good, I felt that He was Great!