I’ve been blessed with a healthy, relatively pain-free pregnancy apart from the typical first trimester nausea and round ligament pain. But at 38 weeks and feeling like a giant beach ball, I all of a sudden got hit with an excruciating pain in my left side that stopped me in my tracks and lasted more than 48 hours.
Was it labor? My doctor said I was already about 3 cm dilated at my weekly visit and that the baby could come any time now, but I figured it couldn’t be labor since I read that you get a rest in between contractions (this was a constant, shooting ache).
I called my doula and doctor, whose theories ranged from a pulled ligament due to carrying a big baby (my sonogram results estimated his weight at 9 pounds if I make it the full 40 weeks) to him changing position and putting more pressure on my internal organs.
I googled “left side pain 38 weeks pregnant.” Bad idea. Panic for my baby’s survival set in as I read about placenta ruptures that cut off his oxygen supply. But the very rare condition’s symptoms included bleeding and a baby who wasn’t moving along with intense pain.
Since I was not bleeding and my little guy was flipping more than an acrobat despite the fact that there was absolutely no room left in my stomach, I tried taking the doctor’s advice and soaking in a cool bath; did plenty of downward dogs and child’s pose; and finally resigned to lying on the couch for the rest of the weekend. When I awoke on the second morning, the pain had magically diminished from a constant stabbing sensation to only a few sharp tinges.
So I decided to take advantage of feeling somewhat normal again and take care of some business. Did I clean the apartment or write those shower thank-you notes I was so delinquent on? Nope! Maybe I had my priorities mixed up, but I decided to make it a day of beauty since I figured it might be months (years?) before I would have the luxury of visiting a salon again without having to pack a diaper bag and carry a baby or book a sitter.
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