At Origin, we strongly believe that "you're the expert." Every body is unique (literally), and so are your stories.
We're inspired by the Origin Story of Elly Spyres. She worked with our team during a challenging postpartum recovery and is now on a mission to help other women "live a more comfortable and pain-free life."
The following is Elly's story, in her own words.
Elly's Origin Story: Physical therapy and postpartum recovery
I was very lucky throughout my pregnancy and labor; so much so that all of my lifelong fears and anxieties about having a baby were completely quelled and I was announcing to all of my friends that it really "wasn't that bad". I had no morning sickness, no sciatica or major aches and pains, no swelling or rapid weight gain. My water broke naturally and although I had to get pitocin to move my labor along, I was only in pain for a couple of hours before getting an epidural. But towards the end of my 1.5 hours of pushing, my epidural wore off and I started to really feel what childbirth was like. Maybe I pushed too hard, maybe I pushed too long, maybe this is just what happens when you push a baby out; but for whatever reason- I tore in 3 different areas. Although I didn't have third degree tears, the angle and location of my tears presented a challenge to my OB, and it took her 3 tries to stitch me back up correctly. In fact, the nurses kept asking her if they should call in the surgeon after an hour of sewing and removing stitches, over and over again. I could tell just by my OB's reaction that she was a little worried about my recovery, and she made sure I knew I could call her if I had any issues before the usual 6 week postpartum visit.
Sure enough, a couple of weeks into my new life as a mom, something just didn't feel right. I knew a major life event had just occurred in my body, but the stinging pain did not seem to go away as quickly as it should have. I visited my OB at 2, 4 and 6 weeks postpartum to make sure everything was healing correctly. She reassured me that it's just going to take some extra time and prescribed me some estrogen cream, which didn't help. I couldn't walk (even just around the block) for about 5 weeks, and sat on a donut for over 2 months. At my 6 week postpartum visit, my OB suggested I try pelvic PT and referred me to Bebe PT. My mother and a close friend of mine are both physical therapists, yet I had never even heard of pelvic PT as a speciality until the end of my pregnancy when a friend who lives in France casually mentioned that every new mom has pelvic PTs come to their house for free after giving birth. Even then - the idea was so foreign to me that I never imagined this service existing in the US and being covered by insurance. I had never even heard of the pelvic floor until I read about it in "The Fourth Trimester" while I was pregnant, and I still didn't quite understand what it was or how it affected my life.
If I hadn't gone in to see Celeste - I probably would have been in pain for another year until my next OB/GYN check-up.
Walking into Bebe PT for the first time instantly put me at ease. I was in so much pain that I was really nervous to have anyone poke and prod me "down there", but right from the start I felt so welcomed and comfortable. It's very rare to be in an establishment of only females who are truly there to support you and care for you in a genuine way. Somehow, every subsequent time I walked in the door, every staff member there knew who I was and addressed me by name, which was always a nice surprise and made me feel all the feels. My PT Celeste handled my recovery and healing very slowly, gently and patiently, and actually was the one to notice that I still had scar tissue that my OB needed to remove before I could continue in my healing process. If I hadn't gone in to see Celeste - I probably would have been in pain for another year until my next OB/GYN check-up. Celeste also took a comprehensive approach to my recovery- asking me about my diet, exercise, stress levels, sleep, digestion issues, bowel movements, etc to fully understand what I was going through and which variables were affecting my pelvic area. Celeste was able to help me gradually work up to a place where I could have sex again and not be completely terrified and in immense pain. She was never judgmental of my progress, or of me slacking off about doing my exercises. She is so passionate about women's health and postpartum care, and we had so many genuine conversations, that going to PT had the added benefit of feeling like a therapy session for me.
I've felt a natural duty to tell all of my friends and acquaintances about PT, and I only wish that OBs, doulas, birth classes, and everyone involved in the birth and postpartum world would do the same, so that women would have the knowledge, awareness, and tools they need to live a more comfortable and pain-free life.
Although I am not fully recovered from childbirth, I am infinitely better than I was when I first walked in through that door at Bebe. I know what I need to do to get my body to a better place, and I have the tools and resources I need thanks to Celeste. I only wish I had known about Pelvic PT before I was pregnant, so I could have prepared better for childbirth, and had a reference point for my PT to understand the "older" version of my body, before it was so changed by birth. I've felt a natural duty to tell all of my friends and acquaintances about PT, and I only wish that OBs, doulas, birth classes, and everyone involved in the birth and postpartum world would do the same, so that women would have the knowledge, awareness, and tools they need to live a more comfortable and pain-free life.