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Week 31: Baby, Get Out of My Ribs

September 18, 2009
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…And into my pelvis.

I was in Washington D.C. last week for an event involving Government 2.0. Great conference. In the middle of one of the days there was a press conference–well, more like a press-only panel chock full of information that went above and beyond the conference topics. Being press, I showed up, and quietly found a seat in the back corner. But it was right at that moment that the baby had one of its moshpit moments atop my bladder, so I made a dash (as much as I can dash right now) for the ladies’ room, up one flight.

I was worried that I’d miss the start of the panel, and sure enough, I did. So I slipped back to my seat as quietly and unobtrusively as someone 7+ months pregnant can in a crowded room, and reached down to my rolling briefcase to retrieve my laptop. I had to twist slightly to do this, and when I did, I felt a searing pain at the lower edge of my rib cage, right-hand side, right around the place that I used to have a gallbladder until its untimely demise in 2005.

It was all I could do to not scream out with that pain, but the look on my face was every bit as loud, drawing the attention of several nearby people as I clutched that narrow area between tummy and breast. I’m sure several of them must have thought I had just hit hard labor at that exact moment, but knowing labor pains as I do I know they don’t start out like this and involve the whole uterus, not just the upper-right part of it. Fortunately, I was able to settle into the press conference and continue without any other problems, but the acute pain faded only into a soreness that continues to persist this week.

Believing I’d torn an adhesion from the gallbladder surgery, I called the midwife’s office to see if I should be checked. They told me to call my primary care physician, so I did, again asking if I should be checked. They told me to call my OB office. Frustrated, I cut the loop off there and decided if it got worse I’d just go to the ER. It didn’t.

But over the weekend, I had the pain again while putting groceries away. Same motion–just a hint of a lateral twist, and this time I did let loose with a stream of curses and cries of pain that set my husband running to my side. He made me stop, of course, and set me down on the couch while he finished the grocery-stowing. Then, later, he was massaging the area and we realized that one of my lower right ribs was actually a bit swollen.

I measured my fundal height and got the astonishing result of 40 cm. (It’s settled back to a more sane 33 cm as of last night.) I swear this kid is determined to stand up in utero! And it feels like he has gone through every possible fetal position in the past week or two, including moments where he’s lying transverse and his head is practically protruding out my right side. I’m convinced the placenta is on the left wall, because that is the one place I can’t feel him at all, ever.

Fortunately his favorite position seems to be head-down. I’m learning the which-bump-is-which ropes pretty well, and the one thing that’s consistent is that when his head is present, it’s got a distinct hardness rivalled only by his back. One is round, the other is relatively flat. Limbs, on the other hand, are small enough that they are surrounded by softness.

But every now and then I can feel some part or another of him reaching up to that rib again. Argh! Baby, get out of my ribs!!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 23, 2009 7:58 am

    I empathize with you. It seems that she’s finally out of my rib cage but for a couple of weeks I had searing pain. Nothing seemed to help…I tried ice, warm compress, and Tylenol. Finally I just gave up and just spent most of the day laying on the painful rib side and she moved out. Now I just have constant bladder/cervix kicks…uncomfortable but not nearly as bad. I’ve heard that keeping that side cold encourages the baby to move out of the way.

    Hope you feel better.

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