It was three days after a hard pregnancy and delivery, and I’d had very little sleep.
The midwife said my fibromyalgia must be pretty bad.
I didn’t say anything at the time, but I can’t stop thinking about it.
I want to tell her that it’s not.
I usually cope very well. But she saw me on one of the worst days of my life. After a pregnancy of increasing pain and decreasing sleep. After a hard labour. After three days of very little sleep, with a baby who couldn’t get enough food from me. Hideous pain in my breasts and in my stitches. To top it off my husband wasn’t allowed to stay. So I was alone with this baby from 9pm to 9am.
The midwives on the nightshift didn’t help very much. They latched baby on and left. They didn’t see the pain caused by his latch becoming shallower as he drank. If I took him off to try to re latch, he’d refuse it.
On that last day the best things happened. And only because I couldn’t stop crying.
They taught me to express milk for my baby to drink via the bottle. This meant I was able to see that my baby had enough food, that I could bother my very sore breasts only three-hourly and that I had an element of control.
This enabled me to give my baby breastmilk for eight weeks, instead of just that first week.
We need options. I was committed to feeding my baby, but I needed the option to help me do that. I am so thankful for this, so thankful that they were not judgemental. Cos damn, breastfeeding hurt me!
They also let my husband stay on the final night.
He is why I managed. We took turns feeding, so I got some sleep. I also had a person to experience it all with me. Alone, in pain, with a screaming baby is not a key for coping.
What I want to tell all midwives is that my fibromyalgia isn’t so bad. But there are people who have it worse.
Please educate yourselves so that you can help. Even if you know enough to know that the husband or a support person needs to stay to help.
A person with fibromyalgia is likely to have a higher perception of the pain.
They are more likely to have had a very painful pregnancy.
They are more prone to emotional changes – when you’re in a lot of pain and so tired you can’t think straight, you can’t keep your emotions on an even keel.
So please know this. Please be aware. We need a little extra help.