Hi I am hoping for some gentle and supportive advice please. This will be long sorry.
I am 33 and currently 31 weeks pregnant with my first baby. Six years ago I hurt my back and I have had severe chronic back pain ever since. I am in pain pretty much every day to varying degrees. I had an operation 4 years ago which didn't really help so since then it's been a matter of acceptance and managing which I generally do well except for when I have a serious flare which I struggle with. I work full time and push myself really hard, I don't let this interfere with my life as far as I possibly can. The problem is in the L4 lumbar joint down to my sacroiliac joints. Pregnancy has aggravated things significantly which I was expecting. I have pre-existing sacroiliac joint dysfunction, and now pregnancy related symphysis pubis dysfunction. I've had the src shorts since 11 weeks and can barely walk without them on and I have not had 1 pain free day during pregnancy which is wearing me down but I'm doing ok. I am limiting myself to 2 panadeine tablets per day (let's not even go into the guilt I feel about that) but have doctors approval to take endone as required but trying to avoid if I can. I am used to pain it would be worse if I wasn't. I am under the care of a back surgeon, pain specialist, obstetric physios and obstetrician.
This brings me to my issue. Before getting pregnant I thought I would have a natural birth. Dealing with so much pain during pregnancy has me terrified that I may do further damage to myself during a natural birth. I have been advised by the back surgeon that I can have a natural birth but not to have an epidural in a natural birth due to the risk of injury. My physio suggested a c-section but otherwise everyone says I can do natural if I want. My concern is that I may do further damage (e.g. Have heard many stories of women hurting their back in labour and delivery), sometimes I struggle to have a bowel movement due to the pressure in my lower back - how then can I sustain pushing? And I am scared of aggravating the chronic pain receptors even more. All of this is leading me to an elective c-section which the physios and doctors are fine with but I feel like I am being a wimp. Natural birth may be fine and a great experience to know that my body can do it. But if it doesn't go well the outcome could be very bad for me. The reason I prefer the c-section is that it is more predictable. I understand the risks associated and the recovery time. I have great home support and my hubby will be off work for 4-5 weeks to help. I am also encouraged by the fact that I can go to rehab after 6 weeks to start my recovery from this serious flare up.
i don't really know if I have a question as such. Has anyone had a c-section due to a back problem? I am scared of the c-section and scared of the alternative but the c-section seems more calculated and predictable which is important. Either way this baby is going to have to come out one way. I guess the other factor is that who knows there may be something else that comes up preventing a natural birth so I might be stressing about a decision out of my hands! Thanks for reading, I just needed to get this out of my brain as it's been upsetting me a bit lately.