This pregnancy, much to my surprise, has been really easy for me. I didn’t get nauseous or throw up, I didn’t have any food aversions, and the only food “cravings” I had lasted about a week. During the second trimester I was walking about 3 miles every day and managed to eat healthier than normal. I had tons of energy and was always working on projects, and spent my Saturdays from 8-2pm selling my Gingersnaps Accessories at the local farmers market. As I started the first week of the third trimester I had a little harder time sleeping at night (tossing and turning to find a comfortable position and getting up every 2 hours to pee), but this wasn’t anything I couldn’t make up for with a 2-hour nap during the day. Then finally, at 32 weeks, I experienced my first dose of real pain… enough pain to give us our first ER experience as a couple.
I had just gotten home from the farmers market and had decided to relax for a little before putting away all of my supplies. All of a sudden I felt a very sharp pain in my lower back that made me buckle over. It caught me so off guard that I didn’t realize I was also having contractions until about 5 minutes after the back pain started. I was freaking out. I immediately laid down on my bed and Scott brought me some water bottles that I drank as fast as I could. We just sat on the bed for about 3 hours, and during that time the contractions completely stopped and the back pain slowly faded.
The next morning I woke to the same back pain, but scaled down in severity. I ignored it and got ready for church. The pain in my back was there the whole day, however, and it fluctuated every 30 minutes or so to the same incredible pain as before. In order to sleep that night I put a heat pack on the area and just tried to ignore it as best I could.
Monday morning came. The pain was still there, but it felt like it had slowly brought itself around my left hip. I had my regular doctor’s appointment at 11 am, so we decided I should just take it easy and continue the heat pack until the appointment when we would confront our midwife about the pain. After explaining everything that had happened on the weekend in regards to my pain, my midwife asked me a few questions, tapped me on my spine, and then told me I probably just had a pulled ligament. I asked why the pain started in my lower back with very strong contractions if it was just a pulled ligament, but she had no answer. I asked her about the possibility of it being a kidney stone or the result of a UTI (I was reading up on WebMD, which makes us all doctors, of course) and she just shook her head telling me I was wrong and had nothing to worry about. I basically had to demand that she let me have my urine tested, but the results showed nothing of a UTI or kidney stone. Even though Scott and I were frustrated with her explanation, we left the doctor’s office with the hope that the pain would just pass in the next couple of days as long as I rested.
Tuesday came and went and the pain was still there, but it had moved to my lower left abdomen. It was an extreme sharp pain, but as long as I was sitting in one very particular position and I had the heat pack on it I could manage it. Barely, but I did it.
It hit me at 3 am Thursday morning, and I woke up in excruciating pain. I was crying and quietly screaming (as to not wake our downstairs neighbors) for Scott. He woke up in a panic and immediately said, “We’re going to the ER.” Scott had been saying this for a couple days, but I just kept assuring him that I was fine and it would eventually go away, but this time was different. I agreed with him.
We got to the ER and the only people that were there was a janitor and a receptionist. The receptionist was very kind and called someone from labor & delivery to come get me. I sat in the wheelchair and was taken all over the hospital (this is Provo IHC—a HUGE hospital) until we finally arrived at L&D what felt like 20 minutes later. Not 3 minutes after I changed into the beautiful gown, I was being hooked up to machines that were tracking my contractions and the baby’s heart beat. The nurse came in and did a couple tests to make sure I wasn’t in preterm labor and they checked again for a UTI and kidney stone. All the tests came back negative. Everyone was confused.
I was contracting for about 20 seconds almost every minute and the sharp pain in my lower left abdomen was worse with every contraction. Scott and I were so tired (it being about 4:30 a.m. by this point) but I was in so much pain that neither of us could sleep. The nurse came in and told us how confused she was that the tests weren’t showing anything, and therefore called my midwife. As we waited, Scott climbed in the hospital bed with me and we watched “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” for about two hours before the midwife came.
The midwife told me yet again that I had probably just pulled a ligament and it would heal in time with lots of rest. I didn’t believe her—yet again—and asked several questions about ANYTHING else that it could be. She finally said that it could be an ovarian cyst, but there’s nothing they can do about it so they weren’t going to do an ultrasound to check. She offered to prescribe me some narcotics for the pain, but my body doesn’t respond well to narcotics (I have some kind of neurological reaction or something) so she told me to take Tylenol PM every 4 hours and wait out the pain (by the way, recommended dosage is 2 pills every 24 hrs).
We signed the release papers and left the hospital, still in pain and frustrated, but at least the ER experience was over. The pain continued, even worsened at several points, for the next few days. It wasn’t until the following Monday night when everything changed. I went to bed in pain, expecting to get another horrible night sleep… but when I woke up Tuesday morning at a normal time to go to the bathroom, the pain wasn’t there anymore. Despite being a little stiff, I realized this wasn’t just a temporary out-of-body experience—I flat out wasn’t in any pain! I’ve been completely pain-free every since.
Our best guess as to what it could have been is an ovarian cyst, but it seemed to be the last thing on the midwife’s list of possibilities. It may not have been life threatening, but even so, it’s not something I’d ever want to live through again. The worst part about the entire experience was the lack of ability to know what exactly was going on, and the nonchalantness of the people I trusted to take care of me. Sure, it could have been nothing, but when this is your first time in your third trimester and you’ve had 2 previous miscarriages, a little more than “eh, don’t worry about it. Just take a tylenol,” would be much appreciated.
Since that experience my pregnancy has been wonderful. I’ve been able to go on several hikes and continue to walk 1-2 miles when I can. I have noticed a pretty substantial decrease in energy, but I just take a nap during the day and I usually do pretty well. I am grateful for the blessing of an easier pregnancy. I can’t believe we’re into week 37 now! We’re getting so close to meeting our little guy and it’s very exciting! Here’s a couple shots Scott took of me the other day. My brother said my belly reminds him of a giant blueberry.