I was a 33 years old and pregnant with my first child. I was having a fantastic pregnancy; both the baby and I seemed to be healthy and things were going as well as they could. I was continuing to work full time and attending conferences abroad including taking long haul flights, all without problem or incident.
However in week 32 of the pregnancy I started to feel a strange pain in my pelvis while walking. It felt like the baby was pushing down and that I needed to open my legs a bit wider when walking. Within just a couple of days the pelvic pain had became much more severe. I vividly remember leaving my office one evening and taking a taxi to the railway station because I knew I would not be able to manage the 10 minute walk which until then had been a breeze. When I arrived home, I climbed the stairs to go to my bedroom and I felt something go in my pelvis. Accompanied with that was such incredible, intense pain that I was left in tears; it was agony. I thought that perhaps I’d just pushed myself too much so I went straight to bed to rest. It was the following morning when I tried to get up that I realised I could not leave the bed. I couldn’t even walk the few feet to the en suite toilet; I needed my husband to carry me, but even that was excruciatingly painful. We were very scared. I sent a text to a friend about what I was experiencing and she mentioned SPD/PGP. I had never heard of it, but I started searching the internet and from what I read it seemed to me that it could be what I was suffering from.
Being immobile in bed made me feel very low as I was terrified about suddenly being disabled. I started to read stories on the internet of women who were stuck in bed for many months or became wheelchair bound after suffering from SPD, even after giving birth and therefore limiting the activities they could do with their babies.
I got straight in touch with my midwife, desperate for help and she said that it whilst it sounded like I had PSD, there was nothing I could do except tie a scarf very tightly around my hips and put up with it! It appears that the NHS don’t really know how to deal with SPD.
My husband thankfully wouldn’t accept that advice and so searched on the internet about SPD and came across two charities, one in England and one in Scotland dedicated to SPD. He contacted them thinking that they might not come back to him until after the Christmas holidays, this problem having arisen a few days before Christmas, but a very nice GP who had herself suffered SPD replied to him from the Scottish charity (Pelvic Instability Network Scotland) giving the details of an Osteopath in Tunbridge Wells who came highly recommended as an expert in treating people with SPD.
I spent one week in bed over the Christmas period as everywhere was closed for the holidays, but as soon as everywhere reopened, we were given an urgent appointment with the recommended Osteopath, Quentin Shaw. To leave the house and get into the car to drive to the appointment, I needed my husband and father-in-law to lift me down the stairs sitting in a chair as I simply could not walk downstairs myself. There was no other way I could get around without crying in pain after just a few steps.
When we were driving to Quentin Shaw’s clinic we decided not to be too optimistic and I was mentally preparing myself to spend the rest of the pregnancy in bed resting. We were also rapidly giving up on the idea of having the hoped for natural birth as everybody was saying that I would need a C-section.
When Quentin Shaw saw me, we had a chat about my medical background and how things had started. Within a few minutes he asked me to stand up and walk around his room. I thought he was mad and had not listened to a thing I’d been saying as until that point I’d been unable to manage a few steps without intense pain. However within just a couple of steps he stopped me, made some corrections to the way I was walking and within just ten minutes of his help, I was able to walk slowly around his room without any support and with bearable pain.
I left the appointment feeling incredibly optimistic that I could walk again and most importantly, I might not need to be in bed for the rest of my pregnancy. He booked me in for a second session a week later and left me with a lot of instructions for that week. I followed his advice and for the first time since the problem started, was able to walk around the house, go to the toilet, kitchen and so on unaided. Movement was still very limited and quite painful and stairs at this point were still close to impossible, but already I was seeing massive improvement. Keeping the right posture, which was a key part of the treatment, was difficult but with practice I noticed how my balance was improving, the pain subsiding and I could walk a bit further every day.
After just the second session with Quentin Shaw, the improvement had been so great that he discharged me, simply leaving me with some exercises to continue doing at home. Within two weeks of meeting him, the improvement in my walking was unbelievable. My husband and I could not believe how lucky we were to come across Quentin Shaw and we even joked about calling our child ‘Quentin’. We think he is a magician! We genuinely could not believe the progress he made after just one session, and how lucky we were to get in contact with him as soon as I started suffering from SPD. I’d gone from being almost totally disabled, to close to normal within a few weeks.
I have written my story just to send the message that PSD is not something people need to put up with (as my midwife and later GP told me). The proper treatment can change your life. Quentin Shaw saved me from spending the rest of my pregnancy in bed with the psychological consequences that would have involved and I will always be grateful. Now, two months on and about to deliver my baby, I am totally back to normal (or at least as close to normal as a full term, pregnant woman gets) and would urge anyone suffering with SPD to speak to Quentin immediately.