Mama Kristal

When Kristal was sixteen she experienced heavy and irregular periods and an ultrasound confirmed she had PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). At that stage the thought of having children was the last thing on her mind.
“It didn’t affect me when I was told I’d struggle to conceive. I was young and and I thought it would be something I would focus on in the future when I was ready to start a family,” she said.

Kristal met Nick a few years later and it wasn’t long before they became a couple and moved in together. She wasn’t taking contraception and after a year of being happy in her relationship her period was late. “I had a feeling I was pregnant so I bought two pregnancy tests. I was in shock when they resulted positive; I didn’t think I would be able to conceive.”

She called a good friend for support and not long after decided to call Nick while he was at work. “I didn’t know what to do. I was crying and I asked Nick to come home.”

When Kristal told Nick the news she was surprised that he was happy and she felt differently about the situation. “I wasn’t ready to have a baby and it was hard to come to terms with. I was worried about how my body would handle pregnancy because I have stage two spondylolisthesis (a spinal disorder) but with Nicks support I realised it may be my only chance to become a mum,” she said.

Kristal began seeing a doctor at her local hospital until she was roughly three months pregnant. After moving closer to Nick’s work she was transferred to a different hospital for her general checkups and a larger hospital for her major appointments because she was overweight and struggled with her spinal disorder.

Although Kristal didn’t experience any morning sickness throughout her pregnancy she found walking to be a nightmare from twenty-eight weeks due to back pain so she started wearing a belly band to lift her stomach and stabilise her hips.
“My spinal disorder impacted the nerves in my back and legs so I experienced extreme sciatica pain. I wore a belly band almost 24/7 from thirty-four weeks and had to regularly sit to ease the pain.”

Although Kristal was constantly tired and sore it didn’t stop her from loving her pregnancy and everything was going well until doctors expressed concern that her baby potentially had fetal growth restriction; when a baby in the womb fails to grow at the expected rate during pregnancy.
“My baby was measuring at thirty-one weeks in our thirty-seven week scan. I was only five pounds when I was born so I assumed I would have a small baby.”

The complications with the baby’s growth lead to Kristal being induced at thirty-seven weeks. “I had a very long labour and the pain in my back was so intense it felt like it was going to snap so I ended up having an epidural,” she said.

Layla Rose was born on 11th April 2017 weighing a healthy 6.5 pounds. “We were preparing ourselves for a NICU baby and were relieved when we knew she was healthy.”

Kristal experienced major complications after giving birth but was able to be transferred to her local hospital after twelve hours where she stayed for three days to recover and adjust to her new routine of being a first time mum.

Once home, Nick went back to work full time and Kristal relied on family and close friends for support while she was still recovering from birth. “The first month was hard because I struggled with back pain when I picked her up or put her in the bassinet.”

Fortunately Kristal noticed her back pain started to improve slightly. “Now, it’s not as bad as it used to be and I think having Layla helped with my pain a tiny bit. It’s still painful and sometimes by the end of the day I’m physically unable to stand. I’m grateful Nick is a supportive and hands on father.”

When asked what Kristals number one tip for women experiencing back pain during pregnancy is she said; “invest in a heat bag and a belly support belt,” and added “You’re not alone so don’t be afraid to tell your family, friends and doctor how you’re feeling because their help makes a huge difference.”