I was at home just a few days after being released from hospital after a c-section delivery to Baby M. He was fast asleep in his room and Husband and I were watching some TV, when all of a sudden, the pain hit. And I mean, REALLY hit. It was a mixture of cramping and sharp stabbing and the worst-thing-I’ve-ever-felt-ever pains. Immediately I doubled over making all kinds of terrifying groaning noises while Husband tried to ask supportive questions to figure out why his wife was writhing on the floor. Through grunts I explained it hurt so bad, I was scared maybe something had gone wrong during the caesarean surgery. Maybe they’d left some gauze in there, or I had internal bleeding, or something important had ruptured. Whatever it was, it was bad.
Husband suggested we call my parents, as they are both nurses, and I complied. The second my mom answered the phone she knew something was seriously wrong and went into nurse mode attempting to determine the location of the pain. My answers to her questions were vague… this pain was sort of moving and it was all around my abdomen and I was pretty sure I was going to be dead in an hour. Both parents agreed that if the pain was really that bad we should pack up the baby and head to the ER.
By this point, I had dragged myself to the bathroom, because I feel like if you’re going to die in your own home, the toilet is probably the best place for it to happen. I mean, it was good enough for Elvis, so it’s good enough for me. I hung up the phone and said that yes, if it wasn’t gone in 10 or 15 minutes, we’d head to Emergency. After I hung up, sitting there on the toilet, ready for the sweet release of death, the pain started to shift slightly, and began to feel almost familiar. Was it..? No. It couldn’t be. But it did FEEL a bit like…. but no, surely it wouldn’t be… and as the seconds ticked by and the pain sort of shifted and moved around, I realize that this horrible gut-wrenching pain that had made me look death in the face was actually just gas moving it’s way through my bowels. That’s right, people. I genuinely thought I was going to die when actually I just had to fart.
My parents are lovely people with amazing self control, so when I called them to tell them that we did not have to go to the ER because I had farted and now felt much better, they just acted like they were relieved to hear I was OK. They reassured me that because of the surgery and recent birth things were all squished around and not in their right places yet and it was normal to have pain during regular intestinal function, and certainly passing gas could hurt. Husband, on the other hand, couldn’t stop laughing, and vowed to never take my pain complaints seriously again. And he has been true to his word. Every time I complain of any kind of stomach ailment, he first asks with a cruel little smirk, “Are you sure you don’t just have to fart?”