Up All Night . . . or, Maternity Misadventures

It all started around ten o’clock last night.  I went to bed with a stomach ache.  I was uncomfortable, but didn’t think much of it – discomfort is sometimes part of the territory when you’re knocked up. I woke up around midnight with terrible pain in my right side.  I tried turning over, getting up and walking around, sitting in the rocking chair I often resort to when I have insomnia – nothing helped.  It was a sharp, constant pain in my right side that was worse when I moved, breathed deeply, or pressed on it, and after wracking my brain trying to figure out what it might be (and coming up with all kinds of worst case scenarios), I Googled my symptoms and came up with possible appendicitis.  Fuckity fuck.  Well, this scared the crap out of me – that’s all anyone needs is the possibility of abdominal surgery while pregnant.  Finally I woke Michael up, and he decided we should call Sue, my midwife.  After talking to her for a few minutes, she said I probably should just go to the ER.

And that’s how I found myself in the ER, and subsequently in Labor & Delivery, at about two a.m.

My anxiety increased noticeably as we got closer to the hospital.  Hospitals just have so many bad associations in my mind – my horrible experience giving birth there to the twins, Finn’s hospitalization almost immediately after birth, Michael’s many hospitalizations over the last three years.  I was also not expecting to be warmly welcomed by the L&D staff; they’re typically not crazy about home birthers.  I knew they would ask me who my OB is and that I would have to tell them that I don’t have an OB, but that yes, at the ripe old age of 44 (can you say “advanced maternal age” or what the medical minded think of as “catastrophe waiting to happen”?) I have a midwife and plan to give birth at home.  Reckless.

Actually they were okay with the midwife/home birth part.  Or, at least they didn’t give me any grief about it.  Which, honestly, surprised me.  Maybe I don’t give them enough credit.  Maybe, based on past experience, I just go into defensive mode about this particular topic.


So they made me undress and put a gown on and climb into bed, where they strapped a contraction monitor around my middle (no contractions).  The nurse asked me a million questions, and then the attending OB – a woman – came in and asked me a million questions (including, “Have you had your prenatal screenings done?  Have you seen a geneticist?”  Because, you know, I’m old, and I might have a defective baby or something.  I didn’t even bother mentioning that we have a child with Down syndrome; I figured that would have just thrown a log on the fire).  At first she seemed nice enough, but she got kind of bitchy when she explained that they were going to do an ultrasound, and that part of that would be a transvaginal ultrasound to check my cervix, and I balked.  “Is that really necessary?” I asked.  “Just allow us to do what needs to be done, okay?”  she said (bitchily).  That’s what I don’t like – and that is one of the polar differences between OB/hospital care and midwifery care: hospitals and OBs take on the “We’re the boss, just do what we say because you’re stupid and we know best” attitude, whereas a home birth midwife is a collaborator with you – you’re both on the same team, working together, and respecting and honoring each other’s roles in the whole process.

This was the scene at our house yesterday morning, many hours before all this shit happened, when my midwife came over for my regular monthly prenatal appointment:


So, in L&D they did a blood panel, a urine panel, and a very detailed ultrasound – not just of my uterus and the baby, but of all surrounding organs (in the end, a transvaginal ultrasound wasn’t necessary).  They seemed to suspect either appendicitis or a kidney stone.  In the end, after being there for about three and a half hours, pretty much everything was ruled out.  No kidney stones.  My appendix apparently wasn’t visible on the ultrasound because the baby was covering it, but the blood panel showed no signs of infection or anything.  The baby looked “perfect” in the ultrasound, the placenta looked great, everything looked fine.  At that point I was advised to leave L&D and go downstairs to consult with a surgeon who might run further tests.  I declined.  I just wanted to go home.  So they signed me out AMA (insert eye roll here).

Michael and I got home a few minutes before six a.m., and fortunately none of the kids were up yet.  We had woken Kevin up before we left for the hospital since he would be in charge in our absence, but none of the other kids had any idea that we even left the house.  They still don’t, and that’s fine because if you think my associations with the hospital are bad, the kids’ are even worse.  Daisy, especially, has been extremely worried and anxious ever since we told them Mommy is going to have another baby that I might end up in the hospital, so I’d rather save them as much worry as we can.

When we got home, I crawled into bed and slept for about an hour, but then I had to get up because Michael had to go to work, and all the kids are home from school today for Lincoln’s birthday.  The pain in my side persists.  It’s still terribly painful, but at this point the only thing I can figure is that maybe I pulled a muscle or ligament or something.  Hopefully that will be my last foray into the L&D ward ever, and hopefully this stupid pain will cease and desist sooner than later.



14 Comments on “Up All Night . . . or, Maternity Misadventures”

  1. Karen Carpenter
    February 13, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

    OK, Lisa. Thanks for giving me something to worry about today. Let me know when you are better or if I can do anything to make that happen faster.


  2. Lexi
    February 13, 2012 at 11:34 pm #

    I know that pain well! I’d be willing to bet its your psoas muscle where it mets your illiacus (spell?). It comes from lifting your kids. I had my appendics removed, my right ovary and several other surgeries before they figured that out. Try to lift your kids as little as possible if you are. Another thing that helped me was stretching. When I’m at my computer I’ll send you a link. no matter what it is I hope you feel better right now.

  3. Caryl Becker Phillips
    February 14, 2012 at 3:03 am #

    UGH! I hate that attitude of, “Just let us do our job.” Cause we the lay public are so stupid that we cannot make our own decisions. If I would have just done what the doctor said when I had MRSA, I would be minus my right leg today! Listen to your gut.

  4. Carla
    February 14, 2012 at 5:59 am #

    Sorry you had to deal with a dumb ass doctor, Sure it was probably a resident anyway. And what does a transvaginal US have to do with right side abdominal pain anyway? What about your gall bladder? Although that pain is typically higher on the right side, like under your boob?

    And hey congrats on adding another girl to the mix!! Just curious though, why did they change your due date? Didn’t you have an early US done? First trimester scans are much more accurate for dating. And they typically don’t change your dates from a second trimester scan if it’s within 7-10 days. Sorry for second guessing your provider. You know I have these new CNM letters behind my name which makes me feel I must question everything. :op

    • Lisa
      February 14, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

      Thanks Carla! To answer your question – I’ve always been under the impression that the earlier the u/s, the more accurate for dating as well. The thing is, though, that I don’t know when my last period was. i wasn’t keeping track at all. The first due date I came up with was June 23, and that was based on the last date I was sure of as far as having a period: July 24 (I only remember that because we were on vacation). I know I had a period in August and one in September, but I don’t know dates, but I don’t think I was having especially long or short cycles, so I guesstimated I must’ve had a period somewhere around September 17ish before I got pregnant. The first u/s I had put me at 13w4d and my due date at June 15, which put me about a week ahead of where I thought I was. Then my subsequent u/s a few weeks ago put me at 19w4d and my due date at June 22, which made more sense to me. The u/s they did at the hospital the other night also put my due date at June 22. Anyway, it really doesn’t matter – the baby will be born when she’s ready 🙂

      • Carla
        February 14, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

        True, true. And with a later date, you won’t have to listen to have you had that baby yet until the end of June. 🙂

  5. christina
    February 14, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    did they check the gall bladder?

    • Lisa
      February 14, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

      No, they didn’t check my gall bladder as far as I know. Anyway, I’m feeling much better this morning. My side is still tender, but nothing like it was. I’m really thinking it must be a muscle or ligament issue.

  6. christina
    February 14, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

    feel better!

  7. Ashly
    February 15, 2012 at 6:45 am #

    I wonder if it is your gall bladder? I had that problem with my second pregnancy, it took them a few times of me going to er and l&d before they found out. They call it an attack and some foods can trigger them. You should ask your m/w about it. Hope you were able to get some sleep!

  8. Stacey
    February 16, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    I’m guessing gallbladder because you’re female, over 40, and have had children. Pregnancy can move it into places you wouldn’t normally expect it to be. Did you eat a particularly fatty or processed-foods meal before the pain started? A pulled muscle or ligament should have felt better with ibuprofen and/or heating pad, but neither of those things would help with gallbladder pain.

  9. Asha
    February 17, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    I often get gallbladder attacks when pregnant. One sent me to the ER as well. Apparently it is common during pregnancy – I had no idea! I hope you feel better!

  10. TUC
    February 27, 2012 at 4:35 am #

    “Have you had your prenatal screenings done? Have you seen a geneticist?” Because, you know, you’re old, and you might have a defective baby or something, and this very well could be the cause of your pain which is why I am asking you such prying questions. Seriously! WTH?

    I remember showing up at the hospital in full hard labor with Kimani, contractions one on top of the other, and having some nurse start questioning me about how many times I have been pregnant because she couldn’t find my paperwork. Yeah, let’s chat over tea while I push out this baby.

    You do know that if you really want to know what is wrong with you, you have to post your symptoms on FB and let us all have at it 🙂

    • Lisa
      February 27, 2012 at 4:46 am #

      Ha! You make me laugh. I think most of my FB friends did see this and I got lots of theories. The mystery pain disappeared on its own after a day or so, so I’m chalking it up to a muscle or ligament issue.

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