We were leaving earlier than scheduled from a trip with our kids. I was sad that they were disappointed but was relieved that my doctor’s nurse was able to squeeze me in for an appointment on my doctor’s booked schedule. I was 9 weeks pregnant with my third child and experiencing incredible pain around my belly button.
He took one look at the area on my stomach that was causing me the pain and said, “you have an umbilical hernia!” As I laid down on the exam table and he pressed on that area of my stomach, I winced from the pain as tears rolled down the sides of my face. The growing that my belly did when I was pregnant with my children, caused the hernia. He told me that umbilical hernias were common but the pain that I was experiencing was not. He gave me a referral to a general surgeon and helped me to get an appointment for the next morning.
The medical definition for umbilical hernia is “An umbilical hernia is an outward bulging (protrusion) of the abdominal lining or part of the abdominal organ(s) through the area around the belly button.” Typically, umbilical hernias do not cause pain. I was experiencing pain because I had tissue that had become strangulated. The surgeon told me that if I had not been pregnant, he would have operated the next day. He warned me that the anesthetic was not the safest for the 9 week baby that I was carrying and hoped that the operation could wait. He gave me strict instructions to limit all unnecessary activity and come back to see him in three days. He would check me again and we would have to make the decision if I would have to have the operation. He advised me that if the condition became worse, I would not have an option. I would have to have emergency surgery.
I limited all of my activity over the next few days and prayed that I would not have to have the surgery for the sake of my unborn child. I was relieved when I saw the surgeon three days later and he was pleased that there was improvement. I noticed it too. The pain was not as bad as it was when we were out of town. Once again, he told me to limit all heavy lifting, exercise, and activity for the next three weeks.