Oh, the things nobody tells you about pregnancy. My friend, if you are going through any of what I am discussing in the post, trust me it will be worth it. My second pregnancy has been easier than the first in some ways, and much more difficult in others. For starters, let’s state the obvious: being pregnant with a toddler running around is no walk in the park. There is no laying around all day feeling sorry for oneself when a pint size human is yelling for “snacks” and telling you they need to “poop potty” the second you finally sit down and take a load off. That being said, the great part about it is my second pregnancy actually sailed by very quickly because there’s really no time to think about what’s going on. And hello, he’s using the potty!! Thank the Lord. In most cases I would argue that I should want to be fully present but I”ve accepted that I’m just not one of those women that loves to be pregnant and I’m kind of okay with that.
My intention for writing this post is not to deter you from becoming pregnant and having children, but offer some hope to those that may also be having a difficult time with some annoying pregnancy side effects. For me, there have been two( okay maybe 4 or 5!) that became a real nuisance until I found a bit of relief with some trial and error.
The worst of the worst has been a terrible condition called vulvar varicosities. You will never have heard of vulvar varicosities unless you have actually had them yourself, or know a close friend that confided in you that she was suffering from this absolutely terrible awful thing that happens to a small percentage of pregnant women. It’s bad, and you know what I mean if you have them. It is the result of genetics and the uterus putting pressure on the veins of the pelvic region turning it into a varicose vein. Now I am not a doctor but that’s the best I can explain it. Women who may never know they are predisposed to varicose veins can acquire this lovely condition during pregnancy. The the vulva turns into a swollen, sore, lumpy, blue varicose vein. It’s not pretty and tends to sprout in the second pregnancy and get worse with each subsequent pregnancy. There are theories that extended pushing in the first delivery, or genetics play a part in the cause of vulvar varicosities. I had an extremely long first labor so it is possible that played a part in the development of mine. More likely, I”m one of the lucky ones predisposed to this condition.
My varicosities didn’t sprout overnight, but in my 6th month of pregnancy I noticed some bruising on my inner knee and ankle on my right foot. I couldn’t figure out what could possibly be doing this to me. At the same time, we were moving and I was on my feet constantly trying to get our things unpacked and get the new house organized, all while chasing a toddler. I didn’t rest at all, and my bruising( or what I thought was bruising) got worse. Soon, I realized it was not bruising at all, but gobs and gobs of blue spider veins. And then I felt it……. like my bottom was just going to fall out at any second and I had throbbing pain “down there.”
When I finally slowed down to take out a hand mirror and see what was going on I was horrified to find some unsightly, snake like varicose veins running up and down my inner thigh and under carriage, coming to a head at my swollen vulva and labia. The pain grew unbearable. I tried every natural remedy I could find including homeopathy, acupuncture, herbs, essential oils and diet but nothing helped. Dr. Google, a midwife and my gynecologist offered no helpful information except to try compression garments. I ordered an awful compression garment that looked like a female jock strap and it was so uncomfortable and hot that I couldn’t bear to wear it. It was almost as awful looking as the pain itself.
I do offer some hope for you. The thing that has helped me the most are my thigh high compression tights. My doctor instructed me to go to an actual pharmacy and try them on for optimal fit. Since wearing these daily the pain has been much less. They are a hassle to get on but they don’t itch and because they cut off right at the top of my leg, they give the bonus of a nice bum lift which is a welcome treat for my currently voluptuous derriere. The veins should go away postpartum and it’s probably the thing I”m looking forward to most about delivery, other than meeting my actual little one!
The skin stuff is, well, skin stuff. I”ve developed sensitivities to things like chocolate( thank a lot) and other foods that I can’t put my finger on. Apparently this is not uncommon and hopefully will resolve when hormones return to normal, whatever that is, one day. My doctor has diagnosed me with a condition called perioral dermatitis and the only way I”ve food to manage it is to eat no refined sugars AT ALL. This leads me to believe it is a form of candida but that’s also debated. Pregnant women are highly susceptible to candida so I’m really hoping my body solves this one on it’s own postpartum because I eat a low glycemic diet to begin with.
What can I offer you if you have found me looking for answers? I can only share what I have learned and that is this: I’ve learned there’s no shame in asking for help. There’s no shame in keeping my toddler at his childcare an hour longer if I just really need a nap after working….he’s happier there then with a cranky mom. I’ve learned this is all temporary. That has been my only saving grace. I’ve learned that having a community of other mom’s around me is everything. Reconnecting to childhood friends who’ve been through this and I know will always be there for me even if I haven’t spoken to them in three years is worth rekindling that relationship. I’ve learned there are seasons of life and pregnancy is a very short one for most of us. If you’re reading this scared, crying, frustrated or alone just remember pregnancy is not all glow and big, beautiful hair. For many of us it’s not sexy and certainly not fun but I”m trying to focus on the gratitude because I know how many women aren’t able to have children. You can do this mama! Yes, you can! Now go buy those sexy compression tights and don’t put more on your plate than you can handle. It will all get done, I promise.
Hello Friends! I wanted to give you some hope if you found me because you are suffering from vulvar varicosities and/ or perioral dermatitis.
90 percent of the pain of the varicosities did go away after I gave birth to my son fifteen months ago. However, I was still left with many unsightly veins and some pain that got very uncomfortable at different times of the month. I found a wonderful vascular interpretation doctor and surgeon named Cheryl Hoffman at UCLA Santa Monica and Manhattan Beach who performed three procedures approved by my insurance and she was able to remove the veins causing me discomfort. It’s not visibly perfect, but I no longer have pain. Yay!
My perioral dermatitis continued to sprout every time I had a bite of sugar, even once I stopped nursing so I am following a gut healing protocol which has almost completely knocked it out. This takes time and I believe my dermatitis was brough on by antibiotic use. Specifically, the autoimmune protocol has been wonderful and I truly believe skin issues are always a result of something going on inside and not just surface issues.