I fell down my basement stairs

Kristen - kristenmcleod@sasktel.net

I tried hard not to fall forward, and so landed on my bum hard 3 times. At the time I was more frightened than in pain, but everything seemed all right. I awoke early the next morning in the beginning stages of labour. I soon realized that it was extremely difficult to sit down--if I sat it took time for me to stand again as the pain in my tailbone was excruciating. This made the initial stage of labour somewhat more difficult than I had expected, as in prenatal you are told to rest between contractions to conserve energy and I could not as it took too long (and hurt too much) to stand up again. So I stood and walked and went to the hospital.

At the hospital I immediately abandoned our birth plan and requested an epidural. I explained about the fall and the tailbone pain and the nurses were so accommodating and sweet. Although I was only two centimetres dilated they brought in the anaesthesiologist to do an epidural (usually at two centimetres a person is sent home until labour progresses and epidurals are given at four to five centimetres). The anaesthesiologist was helpful as well, doing the epidural as I lay on my side instead of having me sit up. The relief was amazing! I must say that is the last time I was pain free.

Luckily, my nurse was a friend of mine and she went out of her way to help with the tailbone injury. She helped me to deliver on my side and wouldn't allow the doctor to turn me.

After the epidural wore off, however, the beautiful experience ended. I was in the most horrific pain. I couldn't sit, it took me a very long and painful time to move to stand up. My baby would cry in her bassinet and I couldn't get to her. Nursing proved impossible, as she was born with an underdeveloped suck reflex and I couldn't sit to spend the time with her to learn. I was afraid to go to the bathroom. The hospital was giving me codeine for the pain which made me constipated which made going to the bathroom another excruciatingly painful experience. Our obstetrician sent me for x-rays but never talked to me about the results, which I assumed meant that there was really nothing. We stayed in the hospital for 6 days and finally went home.

Home was difficult. I couldn't sit without that awful pain. And with a new baby it is so difficult to see the light--I was in awful pain, sleep deprived, and had a whole separate set of breastfeeding/pumping issues. And I was embarrassed that the birth experience which I had thought was going to be so wonderful and positive was turning into such a fiasco. I found it very embarrassing and uncomfortable to explain to people that I could not sit properly because I had fallen. It was always such a "story:" 'Oh, I sit funny because the Day Before I Went Into Labour I Fell Down The Stairs...yes, it was scary...yes, it hurt...I don't know if the fall induced labour...I don't know when it will heal...' and so on.

And then slowly the pain receded. I felt better, I healed from childbirth. I enjoyed my baby without reservation. Lately, however, the pain has come back. I am thirty years old and the other day my husband asked me why I move like an old woman. Friends have said I waddle. I am angry because I am an active person, a marathon runner. I practice yoga daily. And now these things seem so distant. When I do yoga my lower back cracks in strange ways. When I run my pelvic area creaks and moves. My massage therapist says my pelvis is out of alignment and I don't doubt it, the way I sit and stand. Going to the bathroom hurts. What confuses me is which part is due to childbirth, and which to the fall.

I know this is a negative tirade and I apologize. I am moving forward. I have begun to run again, I stretch and strengthen. I try not to be embarrassed if I have to stand while others sit. And I found this website. I don't know if I have any questions which can be answered. I guess I will use exercise, massage and time to help me heal.

Thanks for reading.

Updated 2004-05-30

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