Aches and pains are a normal symptom of pregnancy. Lots of crazy stuff is happening to your body, things are growing, stretching, shifting, and it’s going to hurt. So far I’ve had some normal-seeming pain. My back hurts and my muscles in my belly hurt and my feet hurt after working all day. Sometimes my head hurts. But whatever, I’m pregnant and it’s to be expected and every pregnant woman since Eve has gone through it. You deal with it. The end. But this post is not about normal pregnancy aches and pains. That stuff is boring and predictable. This post is about unusual pain because nothing about this pregnancy can be boring.
So I’ve had pain in the lower right-hand side of my belly since long before I even became pregnant. It comes and goes. It’s pretty mild. I figured it was caused by a polyp that I have in my uterus that I was scheduled to have removed. Back in November I mentioned the pain in passing to my doctor just in case it was relevant information. She told me that the polyp should not have been causing me any pain at all and that she figured it was my appendix. Apparently some people can experience pain caused by their appendix becoming inflamed but not infected. She told me it was harmless and I should only be concerned if I suddenly experienced very severe pain and nausea.
Alright. Whatever. Sounds good enough for me. Everyone has pain every now and again and if it’s harmless then no big deal. I took her explanation and forgot about it.
Flash forward to May. My belly has been growing and things have been getting more and more cramped in there. And as my belly grows, the pain gets worse. I went from experiencing the pain once every week or two to experiencing it every day, all day long. There were times when it had me limping because it hurt so much for me to move my right hip as I walked. I figured that it was just my appendix. Maybe things are getting more crowded in my belly and pushing against my appendix making it hurt. Whatever, the doctor said it was harmless and how bad could it possibly get? This is why I haven’t mentioned it before now. It’s harmless belly pain and that’s normal and normal is boring.
Then I went for my anatomical ultrasound at the hospital. I remember that the pain was so bad that day that I had tears in my eyes as we were standing in line to check in. It was made all the worse by the massive amount of pee I was holding in. My appointment was almost an hour late so by the time I finally dragged my behind into the examination room I was in agony. But again, appendix. Pregnant. Huge amount of pee. Painful, but normal. Right?
No. Not according to the technician who saw me. When I was lifting myself onto the table I guess I was moving strangely and making weird noises because she stopped and asked me if I was ok. I explained that I was in pain but my family doctor said that it was my appendix and I figured it was getting worse because of the pregnancy. No big deal.
The technician said, “No, that doesn’t sound right at all.” When I looked over at her face she was wearing this extremely concerned expression so I said something completely intelligent in response. Something like, “uhhhh…ok?”
Anyway, she went on to do the ultrasound and apart from Millie laying on her belly and refusing to give us a good look at her feet everything went very well. It hurt like hell when she pushed down on the sore part of my belly so she recommended that I call my doctor to be seen about the pain. I said, “Yeah, I’ll definitely do that,” without any intention of doing it and went on my way.
But later that evening the pain had gotten worse and I was extremely uncomfortable. So I gave in and called my doctor’s office. They was closed and the answering machine message said that my doctor would be away for the next six days (great) so don’t expect to hear anything until then. Emergency calls would be returned by the associate physician in the morning. I left a message. I didn’t expect to hear anything back.
The next morning I was at work on my break when my cell phone rang. It was the doctor’s office calling to see if I was at the hospital.
…What? I explain to them that I was at work and that’s when the secretary began freaking out on me. “If you are in that amount of pain then you need to go to the ER immediately!” I explained that I am a teacher, that I can’t just leave without a supply teacher arranged, and that I was pretty sure that my appendix wasn’t about to burst and kill me. “You don’t know that and what happens if your appendix bursts while you’re at work? Would they expect you to stay then?” Seriously, this is exactly what she was saying to me. This woman is unbelievable. “This is very serious! If your appendix bursts it could kill your baby!”
I’m pretty sure she was trying to scare me into going to the hospital. Who does that to a pregnant woman? Well, I was not scared and I was still sure that there was no emergency but now I was upset from that phone call so I went to my supervisor and explained what had just happened. She agreed that I was right, it was probably not an emergency, but it was better to be safe than sorry and a few minutes later she had magically found a supply and I was on my way to Milton District.
Oh God. It’s the worst hospital ever. I’ll spare you the extremely long and boring and pointless visit to MD. It basically amounted to six hours of waiting followed by an extremely distracted doctor poking my belly and telling me to return in the morning for an ultrasound. When I told him that I had work he scolded me saying that I had better return for the appointment because they had given me one of their priority spots. I managed not to tell him kiss my ass, went to the appointment, and heard back a week or so that the ultrasound was clear and my appendix is fine. FUUUUUUUU-
By this point I was resigned to the idea that I’m just going to be in unexplained pain for the rest of my pregnancy. A few weeks passed with variable amounts of pain and finally it was time for my first visit to my OB. Credit Valley is awesome. If you are having a baby and live in the area, have it there. They have been so good to us so far. Perhaps the best part is that they’ve been treating Kev like my partner in this pregnancy and including him completely in the appointments. Up until not he’s been forced to sit it out in the waiting room even when I’ve explained that I am perfectly comfortable having my husband present.
Anyway, my super-awesome OB read over my chart and after poking my belly a bit said, “I think you might have a hernia.”
To which I asked, “But wouldn’t that have shown up in my ultrasound?”
And she said, “No, unfortunately not.” And then she went on to explain that they couldn’t diagnose it until after I have the baby because they can’t feel for it due to there being a little person in the way and they don’t really want to send me for an MRI because the appointments can take forever to arrange and personally, I don’t really feel like missing any more work than I have to so I’m ok with waiting until it becomes a matter of jabbing my belly a bit during a appointment rather than going for another scan.
So I may or may not have a hernia and there’s nothing they can do about it until after the baby comes. It’s not so bad. The pain hasn’t gotten as bad as it was that day at the hospital and as long as I know that Millie is doing ok in there I’ll deal with it. It seems like whenever I start to wonder if she’s doing alright she gives me a couple of good strong kicks like she’s trying to reassume me. “Don’t worry Mommy, I’m fine. Kick, kick, kick!” Then I reward her with fruit. So we’re a great team already.