Someone was heavy with child. She had fulfilled her days and was expecting the baby anytime. One evening, as she was going to bed, she felt a sudden urge to take a piss.
She thought hmmm, why not. Nothing beats the feeling of relieving oneself off a full bladder. Some of the underrated pleasures in life. Aaaaaaah, that feels good. Btw that looks like a baby coming out. ( insert expletives here in capital letters)!!! IT IS THE BABY!!!
“No warnings, no baby kicking its way out, no noxious contractions, no pain…nothing. No cues to tell me my baby was ready to come into this world. It just happened! I was expecting more, but I am glad the baby is here & well,” beamed the jubilant new mom.
Nature at its most subtle, I would say. Our world is just funny like that. One wrestles with a quandary almost their whole life, another will never know what you are talking about. They have never faced such a plight. Our diversity lends itself to such occurrences.
In the same breath, some get the monthly pains, some don’t. No one knows why some people get a free pass. The biology is largely similar for everyone. That X chromosome has to be discarded because no Y chromosome (or X) was provided.
It is discarded with its accompaniments in what can be a testing experience. Extremes commonly occur in the following scenarios:
There’s always a first time–
The first time your body makes it clear you are special. It goes something like: Congratulations! you did not get pregnant. Your womb sends painful regards.
First bundle of joy–
Now you are really special. The message becomes: Congratulations! you are pregnant. Your womb sends painful regards.
Abnormalities include too much blood loss. This is serious. Go to a hospital. Get checked. Otherwise regular symptoms include:
(Realised I was clueless here, at least in a practical sense. Had to approach a ‘panel of experienced players’ for help. Wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Owing to the perilous nature of acquiring this information, I will post the responses here verbatim.)
Respondent 1: Nausea, abdominal and back pains, kushindwa kutembea( difficulty walking)
Science has the following solutions so far:
NSAIDS: Sounds like the acronym for an NGO. Anyway, prostaglandins are some local acting hormone-like compounds that have diverse effects on different tissues. In some places like the stomach, they are up to a lot of good, keeping ulcers at bay.
In some areas like around your pelvic region, they come to make you feel the pain. Drugs that stop their production (NSAIDS) can help ease the discomfort. They range from the rookie indomethacin to the no-nonsense mefenamic acid. Always get your drugs from a health practitioner.
Hot water: Drink it. Fluid intake will stop fluid retention. Storing up fluids will only increase the pain, because that fluid store happens to be in the abdomen as well.
A hot water bottle used to massage/ raise the temperature of the lower abdomen or lower back can make the day more tolerable. Make sure it ain’t scalding hot.
Massages: Thanks to YouTube you can check out videos of how exactly to massage the lower abdomen and coax it out of its foul moods. You can then compel your boyfriend to learn how to. He has to be useful for something, eh?
Essential oils: Interesting lot. The likes of chamomile & cinnamon come highly recommended by experts for their soothing and calming properties. Go slow on them, though. Much like drugs, they are useful in minute quantities and can and do have unpleasant side effects.
Rest: Not that you will feel like moving around much anyway, so just rest up.
Iron: From leafy green vegetables, chicken and fish. You need to recoup your iron cache, lost in blood. It helps blood move oxygen around the body so it’s worth replacing.
Calcium: From leafy green veggies and dairy products. They can make the pain last less longer.
Boron: From bananas, avocado, and peanut butter. Helps in calcium absorption.
Note: I have not exhausted the sources of these minerals. I have merely highlighted the ones we regularly gorge ourselves on this side of the Atlantic.
Exercise: A good workout session can make you feel good. Endorphins are in you to make sure of that. An exercise routine can be started from day 14 to 28 and afterwards, if you can keep up. The endorphins will make light work of the pain. Make the routine light and hence sustainable.
You can make things worse. Just take any of these, or all:
-Salty foods. (don’t avoid salt completely)
This list contains agents of fluid retention. They will keep you bloated and feeling the pain.
Period pain should subside as the years roll by. If they don’t, don’t be afraid to pop into a hospital & ask the doctor why.
One last thing. I am not a huge fan of antispasmodics. They stop muscle contractions. The very contractions that propel the month’s efforts out. It seems self-defeating. It is akin to postponing a problem, or creating a bigger one. What wants to go out, let it go out. It will either force itself out anyway, or you will end up creating Frankenstein.