Labor Pains: I Thought My Birthing Pains Were UTI Cramps

birthing painsI was 34 weeks along with my first pregnancy. It’d been an extremely easy pregnancy and at my checkup, my doctor told me he’d start checking at my next appointment to see if I was starting to dilate. The next morning I woke up at five with an urgent need to pee and cramping. I’d had UTIs before, so I figured that was the problem.

I got up every half hour to pee and deal with cramps that were slowly getting worse. When my doctor’s office opened at eight, I called and told the nurse what was going on. Again, this was my first pregnancy, so when the nurse asked if I was having labor pains, I told her I didn’t know, but I thought it was a UTI. I had no idea. She told me the doctor was very busy that day and she’d have him call in UTI medication.

I called work and told them I wasn’t coming in and then settled in on the couch. My cramps slowly got worse. Around one in the afternoon, I noticed that they seemed very regular and timed them just for fun. They were about five minutes apart. I called the doctor’s office again and told them what was going on. The nurse said she still thought I was OK and there wasn’t anything else I could take for the pain. The doctor was out of the office for the rest of the day. My husband got home at five and, after watching me double over in pain for about 30 seconds during a ”cramp,” insisted we go to the hospital.

When we got there, they put us in a little room (my husband called it the paranoid room for all the crazies to calm down before they see the doctor) and we waited for a nurse to come in. A very young nurse walked in; we told her what was going on and she said she’d get ahold of my doctor. She came back and said the doctor had seen me the day before. I’d been fine and I just had a UTI. She said she was going to check me anyways.

When she did the check, her eyes got really big and she said, ”Oh, there’s the head. You’re at a seven. Let’s go upstairs and have a baby!” I burst into tears and then asked if I could go to the bathroom. She said no, she didn’t want me to have the baby in the bathroom. I burst into tears again and asked for an epidural. I got one within minutes of getting in my room. I had a very easy delivery and my son spent nine days in the NICU. The next morning my doctor came to release me and told me he was sure I still had a UTI and that’s what had triggered early labor.

We changed doctors.

When I went in at 36 weeks to have my second baby, the nurse that walked in was the same nurse that had checked me with my first son.

I said, ”I know you have a lot of patients, and it’s been a year, so you probably don’t remember me. But I remember you. We came in, I thought I had a UTI, you did a check and I was at a seven.”

She smiled and said that happened to a lot of women. Then she paused and said ”Did you have Dr. So-and-So?” I said yes. She laughed and said, ”Yeah, I remember you. Whenever I talk to pregnant women I tell them if they are leaking clear fluid, even if they think it’s a UTI, they need to come in and get checked out. And then I tell them your story.”


This is a reader submission for Labor Pains Week.

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