The Countdown Is On!Monica Bielanko
Should I call the doctor? Am I big, fat wuss? Do I need to just tough this out? Is something really wrong? Or am I a giant pansy when it comes to pain?
Every pregnant woman has that moment. You know the one. Is something really wrong here or am I overreacting?
Yesterday morning I damn near dropped to the floor in pain when a hardcore cramp in the lower right side of my stomach struck. I’ve dealt with the Mike Tyson of menstrual cramps y’all. The kind that leave you calling in sick, curled into the fetal position, clutching your mid-section and moaning.
This cramp was something else. It rocketed from my belly down my right leg and reminded me of the time I passed a kidney stone and only morphine took the edge off. Without the ready availability of morphine I curled into bed and tried not to cry. After a time the pain faded and I could still feel my little guy kicking like a champion, so I figured it was a case of the infamous pregnant lady digestion issues and went about my day.
Still, The Cramp struck again while shopping. Down my belly and into my leg, causing me to limp. But it went away as fast as it arrived so I tamped down my fears.
“Do you think you should call the doctor?” Serge asked.
“Nah. Besides, I have an appointment in the morning. If it still hurts I’ll tell him about it then.” I am terrified of calling the doctor for No Good Reason. And then I’m the hypochondriac who calls the doctor for No Good Reason. The receptionist answers the phone, realizes it’s me, puts a hand over the receiver and stage whisper It’s her. Yes. AGAIN. She’s calling for No Good Reason. And then everyone in the office rolls their eyes.
Yes, I know I’m insane.
Dinnertime brought my husband’s spaghetti and clams and, once again, The Cramp. Still, I jammed as much of that spaghetti into my gullet as I possibly could and, of course, as any woman seven months along knows, immediately regretted it.
It was the spaghetti I blamed when I went to bed and The Cramp returned. The black of night brought with it dark thoughts. What if something is really wrong? But I can feel him kicking. What if he’s kicking because something’s really wrong? I’ll be at the doctor in hours, I can wait. Still, if something is really wrong I’ll never forgive myself for not calling the doctor or going to the hospital. Maybe it’s indigestion. I did eat a lot of spaghetti. But the cramping started way before the spaghetti. Have I pooped today? I can’t remember if I’ve pooped today. Maybe it’s constipation. Maybe my little guy is pinching my innards? Does that even happen? Maybe his foot is pressing on one of my nerves? Maybe his umbilical cord is tangled and he’s gasping for breath?
This thought train roared through my brain as I cried and tossed and turned for three hours. When I finally got up and checked the clock it was three-thirty in the morning. I cried some more, flopped heavily around my bed and finally turned on a Seinfeld DVD, the one where Newman and Kramer collect soda cans to recycle at a profit, and eventually fell asleep.
This morning, after drawing blood for the glucose test, the doctor declared me healthy and explained the cramps (something to due with ligaments and sciatic nerves and I can’t even remember what all he said, that’s how much of a non-issue it was) and welcomed me to my third trimester with “the countdown is on!”
“Can you say that again?” I asked.
“That last bit. The countdown part.”
“The countdown is on.”
“You mean it, you really mean it? God bless you, sir.”
THE COUNTDOWN IS ON.