July 26, 2016

37 weeks and counting.. and only mostly broken

Before I got pregnant, I always joked that I was prettttty sure I was going to be terrible at pregnancy. Like, my body sucks at... well... most things. Life. Not breaking any time I play sports. Not burning to a crisp if there is sun shining somewhere on Earth at any given time. You know.

So I have honestly been pretty impressed with and proud of how my body has handled things. I'm growing a PERSON! And aside from the early OHSS situation, it isn't killing me! And sure, I've had a lot of abnormal test results and lots of scares and conditions that only 1% of people get, but they've all actually turned out OK and I made it to 37 weeks a few days ago, which means my doctors no longer consider me pre-term and WE DID IT, BODY, we sustained a baby for 37 weeks and it didn't kill us!

I am officially rescinding that statement. My body is, in fact, the worst.

To be fair, I suspect this is not an uncommon sentiment for 37-week-pregnant women. This is not a particularly... comfortable time in one's life. I have 30 extra pounds dragging on my joints all day every day. I've got a large kid AND way too much fluid in there. It's currently 100 degrees outside with a heat index of 112. I'm not supposed to feel awesome.

There's a difference, though, between "not awesome" and "jesus christ, body, can we just fucking handle this like everyone else for once!?" - which is where I am at the moment. Because apparently my stupid body can't just get sore and achy like normal pregnant women. No, for me, the abs under my ribs on the right side of my body? feel like they are being ripped in half, at virtually all times.

This is not normal pregnancy aches and pains. I HAVE normal pregnancy aches and pains, plenty of them. Trust me. This feels like a hot poker being stabbed through my skin into my organs. Repeatedly. The area is inflamed and tender to the touch on the outside of my body. If I engage that muscle - say, to try and turn over in bed - the pain shoots to acute levels that make me involuntarily cry out in pain. This is not heartburn or round ligament pain, which after much googling, is what virtually every woman who has experienced this symptom was told by their ob/gyn - or had it shrugged off as just one of those pregnancy pains we all need to go through, sorry! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

(I got the exact same reaction from my ob/gyn office, who typically is really great at listening to my individual concerns. But I get the impression that once you arrive at a certain point in pregnancy, they're so used to hearing women say they hurt that they dismiss everything at this stage as normal.)

I was worried about more than just the current pain, though: how the ^@#% was I supposed to push a baby out with abs that were already so damaged that I couldn't roll over in bed?? So I turned to my doula, who thank the tiny baby jesus, believed that this was a real thing above and beyond normal discomfort. And who confirmed that it actually IS possible to pull / strain the upper abs, especially as the ligaments that normally hold everything in place continue to loosen in preparation for getting the baby out. (She also confirmed that this is something I want to get resolved before I go into labor, because yes it will suck enormous ass to try to deal with labor with pulled abs. Cool!)

And, luckily, she had a suggestion on how to get resolution: a bengkung belly wrap. This was actually something she had preemptively suggested for my post-partum recovery (which is the much more common use) since she noticed I had diastasis recti, or separated abs. But the wrap can also be used much like a more traditional belly band - although for me, less as a way to relieve pain in the lower back, and more to provide a kind of corset on the bottom of my belly to keep it propped up without as much pull and strain at the top of my stomach.

It's also really hard to get a picture of that front knotted part because it's way down under my belly.

..but hopefully you get the idea.

So, how's it working? Decently, I think. I wasn't sure it was doing too much at first, but then I didn't wear it all day Sunday and OH MY GOD THE PAIN by the end of the day. SO MUCH PAIN. So I definitely know it's at least stopping the situation from getting WORSE, which is good. I still have fairly constant pain, but it's more of a burning than an acute tearing feeling - like, as if I did indeed get stabbed by a hot poker, and it hasn't healed yet.. as opposed to the poker continuing to stab me repeatedly. Yay?

I'm still pretty worried about how this will work for the whole labor situation. Will it make labor even more unbearable than normal? Will labor pain totally overpower this, but when I finish birthin' the kid, learn that I have done serious / irreparable damage to the area? WHO KNOWS! Hopefully I can just get the region back to a slightly less inflamed / on fire place before I need to find out. Hashtag magical time.


  1. I am so sorry to hear about this hot-poker issue, but I'm glad that the wrap is helping. And bonus points that it looks very stylish! Much more "intentional fashion" and much less "medical intervention" than I would have thought.

    I also like how the cat snuck into one shot to give you that "what ARE you doing?" look (which I am inferring from the head tilt).

    Congrats on being past preterm!

  2. Oh you poor thing! My friend's baby kicked her so hard and dislocated 2 ribs and I remember how much pain she was in!

    Hang in there! You're so close!

  3. Oh man! I hope it continues to help and alleviates some of the pain so you don't have that adding on to the pain of labor! OUCH!!!!!

  4. Ooooh goodness, I cannot even imagine. I'm so glad that this helps a little, but COME ON, BODY! YOU'VE DONE ENOUGH, JUST STOP WITH ALL THE EXTRAS ALREADY!


  5. OMG this sounds horrid. I'm so sorry! I'm hopeful that it won't interfere with labor, since the area you're talking about isn't, I don't believe, really relevant to contracting and pushing, all of which happens much lower down. Fingers crossed no further damage occurs!

  6. First of all, that is an incredibly adorable baby belly! And those knots in the purple wrap = Impressive. Did they come like that or did you have to make them? If it helps, YAY! The separated abs is a bum deal for sure. And yes, your body has made your life rather difficult, but hey! You're getting a baby out of this deal, so that is AWESOME!
    I'm really glad your doula had an answer and a solution for you. Keep using that wrap and stay in nice, cool A/C. And hang in there! You are strong & capable.

    1. I re-wrap and re-knot each morning - it's just one giant long piece of fabric when not wrapped. Although it's not very hard.. very similar feeling to doing a french braid on your own head, since you can't see what you're doing and it involves a very similar process :)

  7. Boy you have had quite the pregnancy! I'm sorry you have had so many issues but you seem to be weathering it well. Men totally couldn't handle pregnancy and childbirth! Just a little bit longer!!