Just a rant to some other moms!
I've done this three times, including once with a 10lb baby, and have NEVER been this physically uncomfortable! I have spinal fusions from a rheumatic autoimmune disease called ankylosing spondylitis that have left me disabled and have become significantly worse during this pregnancy, particularly since baby dropped. The pain is really, really bad and I've had to up my daily meds twice (yes, they are safe) and still I'm immobile and in bed at least 6+ hours every day!! I feel like such a lazy butt. :(
Where an able-bodied woman's spine would (and does) sway forward to carry the weight, mine physically can't due to spinal fusions caused by an overgrowth of bone and inflammation, so instead I feel this crazy amount of pain and pressure in my spine, back and pelvis. I walk with a cane about 80% of the time right now, and when this pregnancy started it was about 10%! I try to get out and exercise on a daily basis, or at least every two days, but now it's impossible. Since baby dropped I've been sooooo uncomfortable, and my irritable uterus started up the last week or so (for those unfamiliar, IU is essentially early labour-like contractions without labour, every day, sometimes all day) so I've started getting these "Spinal contractions" where the muscles pull on my spine as my uterus tightens up. Ouch.
I've been keeping an eye on my cervix and and it's been about 2cm dilated and halfway effaced for ages. That's not too uncommon for me, but what's really getting me is that following a LOT of unusual cervical pain, pressure and loss of mucous plug my baby is now engaged and at about 0 to +1 station (see here for a reference to that!) and my cervix is wide enough to easily put 3 fingers in and stretch about. I'm on baby NUMBER FOUR so being this engaged this early is insane already!! Generally, second timers and more don't engage until birth is imminent, and I'm certainly not imminent!
Anyway, my whole point of this big whine-fest is that it now hurts so bad to walk right now that I can't go anywhere. Today my family and I walked to the library, which we normally do 1-2 times a week, and the pain was so bad I actually started fainting and throwing up. Every step I take has baby putting this weird pressure on my cervix, and it is SO stretchy that I literally feel her head pushing into my birth canal as though my cervix is like some sort of trampoline. It sort of feels like wearing Ben-Wa balls that weigh 7lbs. So every step down is like that electrical shock cervix pain, plus this crazy pressure and "full" feeling in my vagina. I tried to check myself again this afternoon and found her resting right on my pelvic girdle so hard I can't find space between my bone and her head. She's literally about 2.5 inches up and DAMN does this ever hurt! Even with a cane and my husband's constant physical support, I could barely make it to our library and back (about a 10-15 minute walk). When I got home I sat on a hot water bottle and napped for two hours to try and recover. How is it that my FOURTH time around is like this?!! I've carried 10lbers without this much trouble!
I'm feeling so discouraged right now knowing that I have weeks of this pain ahead of me. :( It's so important for me to be active all the time and now even with the cane it's really, really hard to get up and walk around. I have the usage of a mobility cart if I need it, but that sort of defeats the purpose of being active, doesn't it?
(for the record, no I would never ever choose to induce or apply "natural induction methods" or "encouragement". If she's in there today, there's a good reason for that and I do not want to put my body or my baby at additional risk for something as selfish as pain reduction so please don't suggest that!).