Hello my name is Allison and I am an Occupational Therapist, Wife, Mama of Two, Lactation Support and mental health advocate. I started off my Occupational Therapy journey working in pediatrics- oh boy is it a rewarding and a fun setting. However, in 2018 I started to notice something- my tummy was getting very large. I was pregnant haha I will be the first individual to tell you pregnancy is hard and it is 100% ok to not like being pregnant. I was sick and swollen my whole pregnancy. We had our first baby, Mabel, June 2019. I was induced secondary to preeclampsia. Mabel’s birth ended up being very traumatic for myself, my husband and Mabel. 36 hours of labor, Mabel born not breathing, and myself hemorrhaging to name a few things. Our breastfeeding journey was also very difficult. Mabel had difficulty latching. In the hospital Mabel had her tongue tie clipped however it still unfortunately did not help our breastfeeding journey. After driving an hour each way 3-4 times a week to a lactation counselor I was drained and Mabel was losing a lot of weight. My mental health was suffering. We began our exclusive pumping journey- at the time I thought it would help my mental health. Now I know it only hurt it more- not because I didn’t want to do it but because it is extremely time consuming. Intercourse was painful. Sex was not on my mind. It was hurting my intimate relationship with my husband which is an important part of connection. I found myself researching and wanting answers. This is where my mission to become a Women’s Health therapist was seeded in my mind. Now I am no gardener because that seed was planted for about 18 months before I started to water it. My husband and I were actively trying to conceive our second child.We were fortunate (lucky/unheard of) enough to conceive Mabel the first month we tried. After 6 months of trying I felt defeated. Then I missed my period. I thought this was it! Negative test after negative test. However, after 2 months I still was not getting my period. What was happening? So I called my OB and explained what was going on. I came in and unfortunately had a horrible experience where the OB was not even listening to me. He put me on tons of medication didn’t explain it and sent me on my way. Long story short I went to a new OB. There I saw a wonderful PA who was willing to listen and test what was going on. I was placed on ovulation medication and had a Hysterosalpingography completed. If you are unsure what it is, I describe it as a swallow study done for your fallopian tubes- if that still doesn't make sense basically they shoot dye into your uterine cavity and watch how it travels and spills out of your tubes. I found out my right tube was completely blocked but after a few tries my left one opened/spilled out. We were then sent to Iowa City. Everything went through my mind before the appointment- what if I can’t have any more children, what if Mabel doesn’t have a sibling, is this it? Now I know we are EXTREMELY fortunate for the children we have and I thank God everyday. However, in that moment I was crushed. At this point I also continued to have painful intercourse. This is the moment I decided I wanted to look into Pelvic Floor Therapy. I took my first Pelvic Floor course in early March 2021. In the course you are both a therapist and a patient. When I was the patient my therapist had found my pelvic floor was hypertonic. I actually had one muscle that was so tight that when she actively released it I had instant relief. Guess what. No painful intercourse after that. Guess what again. We found out we were pregnant 2.5 weeks later. Was my pelvic floor the reason we were having difficulty? I truly feel like it was- my body was in a constant fight or flight state from Mabel’s birth. Now pregnancy with Arthur was fairly easy compared to Mabel’s however I had Gestational Diabetes. Talk about a buzz kill. Telling a pregnant person you can not have what they are craving sucks. Learning a whole new way of eating- horrible. I will forever emphasize for individuals with Diabetes. Fast forward to Arthur’s birth because again I did not like being pregnant. As it got closer to having Arthur my PTSD was creeping in. I had started to consider an elective C-Section. I discussed this option with my OB who stated “ It is your body. Your choice. We will support you the way you want to deliver your baby.” I instantly sobbed from relief. He was who I needed and said what I needed to hear. Our son Arthur was born via c-section in 2021. Mentally his delivery was 100% night and day. However, physically he was definitely harder to recover from. As a therapist I felt I had an advantage knowing how to move my body in ways to eliminate the use of certain muscles. Our breastfeeding was a tad tricky in the beginning but with the help of an incredible IBCLC and a tongue release done by laser we are still nursing strong! This is where my Women’s Health Therapist really started to bloom!
Why am I telling you all of this? Because I like to talk- a little too much! No, really I am telling you this because I feel for you mama, or mama to be, or hoping to be. I definitely have not experienced it all but I have had my challenges. My hopes are to help you through yours or even prevent them happening at all. You do not need to be alone on this journey or suffer through any pain or challenges. I repeat YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE ALONE. I know as a mom it is hard to ask for help or take care of ourselves. Let me do this for you. I know finding time is difficult and this is why I chose for my practice to be home based. I want women to feel comfortable, safe and not feel like they have to find childcare or block out big blocks of time. If weekends fit you better or you need assistance as soon as possible I can come right to you.