When Karin Serfontein was about 12 weeks pregnant she anticipated having to go the loo more often than usual. After all, this wasn’t her first pregnancy. What she didn’t expect was that her bladder would betray her and only release a tiny trickle at a time, leading to a rare pregnancy complication.
I have never been a pregnancy ambassador but let me tell you that as a pregnant lady I am so grateful now every single time I need to pee. It may be every 5 minutes and a strain on the existence of all pregnant women out there but there is a rare pregnancy complication where the opposite occurs.
A few days after my very first scan, when most mommies are starting to feel the excitement and joy of a new life growing Inside of them, I was about to embark on a journey of agony. It started on the Wednesday, when I went to the toilet but there was very little pee. I shrugged it off as being the usual “every five-minute bathroom run” that becomes a part of the daily pregnancy routine.
“There is a very rare complication that can occur in the early stages of pregnancy whereby the uterus slips backwards and blocks the urethra in turn preventing urination.”
By the Thursday it was no longer a typical routine and although I felt a desperate urge to go to the toilet, nothing would come out. I became creative and rocked back and forth on the loo until my bladder could empty and this seemed to work. On Friday night (even though I was an absolute rock queen at this stage) the rocking stopped working. There I was, perched with my feet on the seat rocking away to get out whatever liquid I could. The feeling of being really desperate for the loo was a constant and painful part of my life. I consulted Dr Google and it suggested peeing while standing. I could get some liquid out this way and even though my bladder still felt full, I wasn’t in agony … yet.
But then Saturday came and neither the rocking nor the worked. Nothing was coming out. Imagine you are so desperate to go to the toilet but you’re stuck in traffic … and then multiply that by 24 hours. I didn’t want to go to casualty. I was too embarrassed as surely everyone can pee, so I went back to Dr Google and found out that if you have a tilted uterus (which I do) there is a very rare complication that can occur in the early stages of pregnancy whereby the uterus slips backwards and blocks the urethra, in turn, preventing urination.
Apparently, the best thing to do is to go straight to the hospital to get a catheter inserted to relieve the pressure. Sometimes the catheter will be left in for a few days until the uterus moves back into position. But I’m petrified of hospitals, so I decided to keep trying the alternative methods to pee. For the rest of the weekend, I lay on my back with about four pillows under my bottom (to lift my uterus up) and held a towel in place to catch the pee. I did this all of the Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning – you can imagine how much fun this was when my toddler thought I was making a tower to climb on and when you’re constantly washing towels. By the Monday I was hysterical and in severe agony, so I phoned my gynae in tears and got the very first appointment to see him.
My doctor agreed with my self-diagnosis but was horrified that I’d let it get to such a stage that I could hardly stand up straight let alone walk anywhere. He performed another scan and had to manually move my uterus so that by the afternoon my life started to get back to normal. It may only have been for one weekend but this was one of the most painful situations I’ve ever been in and I can honestly recommend that you don’t bother with the home remedies. The pain will only intensify until it has completely dominated your body and you are in agony, so rather go to your doctor or to casualty immediately.
And while it may seem a bit strange, every time you need to pee, do it with a smile as it means your baby is happy and growing enough to press the excess fluid out of you.