I’m almost 12 weeks pregnant and I can’t wee. This happened last time I was pregnant too, and I wrote about it a year or so after in a blog post, hilariously titled: Pregnant? Urine Trouble! The last post was written retrospectively, but I’m living it again now, and feel it’s only fair to share a real-time rundown of my embarrassing bladder.
The problem isn’t just that I can’t wee. The problem is that if I get the urge to wee and hold it – even for a minute – it either takes several attempts to empty my bladder, or I miss the window and I can’t go at all. This means I can’t be away from a toilet for more than 30 minutes, it means I have to wake every hour in the night, and it means the school run is a struggle than involves a small amount of planned dehydration in the hour leading up to it. Basically, it’s the pits.
The midwives think it’s because my womb tilts backwards. Apparently as my womb swells, it presses in the bladder, but the position it presses from causes the valvey bit that lets out your wee to stop working when the pressure gets too high. In addition to this, when you’re pregnant you produce hormones that make the muscles work less effectively, which makes the problem worse.
It’s quite a rare condition, but I know other people out there have it and could probably do with some advice on managing it.
Managing Pregnancy Related Urine Retention
Last time I had this, I didn’t manage it well and ended up with a few hospital visits. I didn’t really understand the condition very well and I didn’t look after myself properly. I had a wee alarm that I set throughout the night, but on one occasion I was so exhausted I slept through it, which resulted in a short hospital stay.
This time I’m on it with the self-care. With two children already and husband doing teacher training, we can’t afford for me to be in hospital, while people marvel my ridiculous bladder.
I don’t drink anything in the morning before the school run, otherwise I just wouldn’t manage. I also can’t drink anything after 1:45 pm for the afternoon school run. I feel a bit dehydrated, but it’s the only way I can make it work.
In the night I wake up a lot to go to the loo too.
This problem is meant to go away around 16-18 weeks of pregnancy. Last time it was around 18 weeks but I’m hoping now that my inards are used to being shifted around that it’ll go sooner, but there’s no exact science, I’m just waiting for my womb to move.
The midwife told me that bladders have a memory, so if I spend weeks keeping mine relatively empty, I’m going to have to train it to hold my wee in for longer. So I guess I’m going to regress to toddlerdom before I get my baby.
Fingers crossed that my strict wee schedule keeps me out of hospital for the next few weeks. Oversharer that I am, I’m bound to let you know how this all pans out.
Update – Self Catheterisation
Shortly after I published this post, my urine retention reached an inpasse. My bladder became over stimulated and shut down completely so I had to learn to catheterise myself. I’m not going to lie, it was really awful and I cried a lot.
The first attempt saw no wee and a bit of blood on the end of the catheter which made me feel like I was going to pass out. The second attempt was successful, as were every attempt I made for the rest of that week. It seems that the problem peaked for several days, then suddenly cleared up.
Using a catheter is meant to be painless, but if you tense up, it always hurts. I did a lot of slow breathing and it seemed to relax me and ease the procedure.
This time the urine retention cleared up at the end of 16 weeks, which seems to be about what was expected. If you are suffering from this, catheterisation probably isn’t as bad as what you’re imagining, but is still pretty unplesasant. On th bright side, if you reach the stage of needing to self-catheterise, then your ordeal is almost over!