Thursday, October 8, 2009

Super Gas: they don't mention THIS in the pregnancy books

At about eight weeks, I started feeling strange, sharp pains whenever I was gassy. By nine weeks, I was in outright pain. By nine and a half weeks, I was on my second of two days in agony from gas pains. It hurt when I walked, it hurt when I passed gas, when I coughed and especially when I sneezed, when I sat down or stood up, and a bowel movement would actually bring tears to my eyes, it was so painful.

I know it probably sounds kind of amusing (farting is funny!), but I was in so much pain that I actually googled "gas pain pregnancy" just to make sure that there wasn't any way that gas could somehow be dangerous - it felt like I was being constantly stabbed, or like someone had reached up inside of me and harshly twisted my organs. I knew gassiness (and probably even some gas cramping) was normal in pregnancy, but there was just no way that what I was feeling could be normal- right?

And that's when I discovered something interesting: most of the information I found was from pregnancy forums, with women posting questions and thoughts about their experiences - and in many of the cases where they described the kind of pain that I was experiencing, they also mentioned that they had a retroverted (aka tipped or tilted) uterus - just like me. All that means is that, in it's normal state, my uterus is tilted back toward my spine instead of forward torward my belly button. It's nothing to worry about, as about 20% of women are built this way, and it makes no difference for the majority of the pregnancy since generally the uterus pops forward sometime between 10-12 weeks because it needs the room to expand.

But the problem was that because my uterus is tilted back, it was pressing quite hard against my bowel, which was already bloated with gas, and - I'm guessing - probably getting somewhat pinched off, thus making the gas build up even more. And because I have two little babies in there, my uterus is naturally larger than a singleton pregnancy at this stage, so it was also pressing much harder than usual, thus causing me a great deal more pain than for most women with a tipped uterus (who usually seem to only feel something between mild discomfort and the small, sharp pains that I felt initially).

I spent the next 24 hours begging for my uterus to pop forward. I figured I had to be near the hump for it to be hurting that much  - I guessed that the increase in pain was from my uterus expanding to the point where it would soon have to shift of its own accord - but I also decided that if it didn't change after one more day, I was going to see my doctor. I didn't know what she could do, since from my online research it seemed like there wasn't much you could do except wait, but by that stage I was in constant, horrible pain and I desperately needed relief.

The next morning, I woke up dreading what the day would bring. I didn't want to have to spend another day fighting the pain, trying to pretend to my coworkers that I was feeling fine and it wasn't agonizing every time I took a step forward. But - it was OK. Everything was fine. The pain was gone. The pressure was gone. For the first time in over a week, I could sit and stand and walk and pass gas without feeling like I was being stabbed. I was over the hump. My uterus must have shifted.

Now, none of this can be officially confirmed until my next ultrasound - which is in just under two weeks for the nuchal translucency scan - so until then, you can feel to call me a crackpot, haha! But from that day, I have had zero gas pain (even though the gas itself is far from gone)...and I can't begin to describe what a relief it is!