August 2011 Archive

Oh, That's OK. I Didn't *Need* That Rib.

I try not to blog much about baby stuff. But this week was insane.

A few months ago when my baby was just getting active, I asked via Twitter whether it was possible for him to break a rib. The answer from my followers was yes, with several links to accounts of it and personal stories. Lucky me: I've also gotten to learn the answer the excrutiatingly painful way. 

Last Friday I heard a crack, felt a pop and for the next five days the pain got worse and worse and worse. After surviving 8.25 months of the world's easiest pregnancy, the little guy finally got me good. We actually don't know if the rib is broken, cracked or merely kicked out of place (probably the latter).

But we do know what Western medicine does in all cases: NOTHING. There's pretty much no treatment for it. I wasn't even put on bedrest. There's not really a point, because with an ever-crowded torso and a constantly wiggling, kicking and hiccuping baby inside, there's no way to stabilize anything.

I've had a broken rib before, and it was nowhere near this painful. The doctor estimates I've got an eight-pound kid in there, and I can still feel him growing.  

So far two things have made a massive difference: Yoga and acupuncture. Two things I never did before pregnancy. In fact, it's amazing how much of a difference they've made. On Thursday there was so much inflammation that the pain had wrapped around my back. I couldn't take a deep breath, and it felt like a knife was stuck clear through my left side. I felt absolutely hopeless. So hopeless I actually cancelled meetings and took a sick day. This was a solid eight on the one-to-ten pain scale. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain, and I just couldn't do anything. Even typing on my laptop was causing spasms in my ribcage and back. 

That night I did five minutes of yoga everytime I woke up for a bathroom break. (That's a lot these days.) I felt demonstrably better by the morning. And after 25 minutes of acupuncture Friday, I still felt the stabbing pain at the rib in question, but my back felt almost 100% better. Today, I got a massage, and it's better still. In just a few days it's gone from an I-will-not-make-it-two-more-weeks amount of pain to a totally-doable-for-the-rest-of-the-pregnancy amount of pain. 

If I weren't pregnant I would be spending the week doped up on pain meds and muscle relaxers. It's amazing how much relief I've gotten without it. 

So, I have to give huge shout-outs to the places and people that helped in case anyone else goes through this awfulness:

Yoga: I religiously attend Jane Austin's prenatal yoga class at Bernal Yoga and try to make another one during the week at Yoga Tree on Valencia. It is easily the highlight of my week. Jane is revered in prenatal circles in San Francisco, and her classes are packed with pregnant women. Believe all the hype. I credit the bulk of my easy pregnancy to her, and I'm so not a yoga person. I even bought her DVD and did it while I was traveling. 

Acupuncture: I went to East-West Integrative Medicine Clinic and saw Holly. I've only been there once, but it made a huge difference, and I plan on going back at least through the rest of the pregnancy. They worked me in quickly and were super nice too. 

International Orange Spa: I've been getting a prenatal massage every Saturday morning here for the last few weeks. International Orange offers some nice prenatal packages, and my therapist, Chloe, has done a better job each week as she's gotten to know my aches and pains more. The staff is also super nice. When I had a cat emergency and had to cancel at the last second a few weeks ago, they rescheduled me without charging for the missed appointment. 


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Srah Lacy

Sarah Lacy is an award-winning reporter who has covered high-growth entrepreneurship for more than fifteen years. She is the founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of, the site-of-record for the startup ecosystem. She lives in San Francisco.

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