Hi world! I am still alive here! Lots to catch you guys up on including a magical trip that was everything I had dreamed of and so. much. more. But first, I want to give you an update on my back issues and diastatis recti.
Back in August I talked about what diastatis recti is and just a week later reported that my back was feeling better after decreasing certain exercises and focusing on others. Unfortunately the back relief was short lived and I was not able to close the gap in my stomach muscles based on my research and “trainer by internet” alone. Why it never dawned on me to call a physical therapist or even my OBGYN is beyond me. Instead I dealt with the pain and continued on my schedule of chiro, massage and low impact exercise. The top of my gap felt smaller but the bottom was and is still bad.
warning: TMI for some ahead…
Shortly after August other issues made themselves present and were increasingly persistent. Suppressed appetite, lack of energy, not myself mood and spotting between cycles. And the back, oh the blasted pain, was worse than ever. I blamed most of those things on stress but seeing how I was late for my yearly “girl” visit I thought now is the time to talk about the spotting and other symptoms with a professional.
My doctor is amazing, hands down best OBGYN a girl could ask for times 100. Because of that she is extremely hard to get into for things like yearlies – typically those are scheduled 6 to 7 months out from the time you call. I was shocked when her assistant wanted me in the next day and if that didn’t work I had to come in by the end of the week. A little worry set in, especially since my mom went through uterine cancer a few years prior, but again – I summed the spotting up to stress but better safe than sorry correct?
That day Sticky was out of town, so any info divulged had to come directly from me. (My man has a tendency to let people know if I am not completely being honest when asked about symptoms and how much of a load I take on. He’s good like that because I have this bad habit of downplaying everything about myself.) I listed all symptoms on my phone and at the very bottom it read “diastatis recti?”, thinking if she didn’t bring it up then I would.. not something I felt 100% comfortable with because let’s be real – there are enough “internet” doctors out there and I am certainly not one of them.
It was just me and Bingham in the room. I had my lovely sheet draped over my legs and was ready to be 100% honest. Doctor came in and whisked Bing away to go with assistant so we could talk. She was in serious, somewhat somber, pro mode.. not to mention had lost a bunch of weight and looked amazing in her very stylish outfit (I had only seen the woman in scrubs or Colts gear with sneakers – this new look was distracting to say the least).
After the initial outfit shock wore off I went through all my symptoms, basically from the time the pain started to what was going on today. For safe measure the first thing she did was schedule me for an ultrasound as well as check for any infection. We then talked about my mental health and the possibility of too much being on my plate. It takes a person a minute or so to absorb being asked about things like depression… I was caught off guard and almost forgot about my stomach gap. As the conversation was ending it popped in my head and just spilled out of my mouth. She had me lay back down and said “Oh yeah, you got one for sure. We need to get you into physical therapy.”
The rest of that afternoon was a blur. I went between thinking maybe I was mentally unstable to wondering what would have happened if I would have never brought the diastatis recti up. Deep down I also knew the ultrasound was simply a precaution, but again it was scheduled so it was swirling around in my mind.
With vacation just days away all my appointments had to be scheduled for this week. Sticky and I did not talk much about it during our stay in Florida, we really just wanted to enjoy the family time so that is what we did. On the trip home though we were both ready and anxious. I honestly couldn’t wait to meet the physical therapist…my only regret now is that I have not met her sooner.
Honestly, I had no idea how experienced this therapist would be in diastatis recti. On the drive over I looked her up on my phone to make sure we were going to the correct building and listed directly under her name was “diastatis recti.” I nearly peed my pants. (And not because I was sneezing or doing a jumping jack.)
As soon as I met her she checked the severity of my condition and went into detail on how to exercise, breath and even talked about another condition I have (a sunken sternum – something I was born with) and how the muscles around my ribcage are weak due to it. As her words unraveled all I could think was “thank you, thank you, thank you.” There was no way I would be able to correct this on my own with the internet – it was insane to ever think I could. She said twice that my pain was a gift because it led me to help. All I know is she is my new most favorite person. It was like a cloud lifted and someone was talking my language. Hallelujah!
Later that day I had my ultrasound and a much more chipper OBGYN walked into the room to report I have immaculately healthy lady parts. This lead to a much more chipper husband as well. I think everyone was breathing much easier in that room, except for Bingham who just wanted more Smarties.
Of course all is not fixed.. there is a long road of retraining the way I breath, do simple everyday tasks and exercise. (Which includes lying on my back and blowing up balloons. Jettie is going to think this is the best thing ever.) But now I have a guide. Someone I trust and knows what they are talking about. That in and of itself feels freeing.
Why am I telling all of you this? For starters most of my friends have had or are having babies. No one, regardless of age or size you grow to when pregos, is completely immune to developing diastasis recti. (And just because you didn’t get one the first time doesn’t mean you won’t the next. I certainly didn’t have one after my first.) Whether you have experienced lower back pain, or have a belly bulge you can’t get rid of or not… lay on the floor and perform this test. If there is a gap you have something that could not only cause pain but could also mean you will have a better chance of dealing with incontinence in the future. Also, do not be fooled if you only have a 1 or 2 finger gap as opposed to a 4 finger. On smaller body frames the 2 finger gap can cause as many if not more issues than the 4 finger gap on a larger frame.
Most importantly ladies I urge you to be in charge of your own health. Why on earth a woman is on regular monthly, biweekly and then weekly appointments while pregnant then goes through the trauma of labor and is left with one lousy 6 week postpartum visit is beyond me. Why diastatis recti is never brought up is also a complete and total mystery to me. My PT wants to change this, as I am sure many, many others do.. but until that happens we need to educate ourselves and listen to our bodies. Yes, those babies are job #1 – let’s not forget that it is a million times easier to care for them properly if we are healthy ourselves. (Plus we are teaching them to do the same for themselves. Win-win.)
One more thing, PT told me to never ever do another sit-up or crunch again in my life. The gifts just keep on coming…
Cheers to being on the right road to recovery! I’ll keep you updated.