Impossible things are happening everyday…

I’ve been searching for hours now, trying to find the perfect quote to add to this entry.  I poured over hundreds of them and dozens of poems, each one failing to capture exactly the essence of how I’m feeling.  Nothing seems quite right, but I love Shel Silverstein, so he’ll have to do:

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” -Shel Silverstein. 

My appointment with the perinatologist yesterday was fantastic.  Sam was very uncooperative at the beginning of the appointment for the ultrasound tech.  He was curled up, head down, hands and feet blocking his face, fast asleep.  After about 15 minutes of poking and prodding, right as she was about to give up, he stretched out.  I barely got a glimpse of his sweet little face and there wasn’t a shot good enough to look at in 3D, but he surely is looking perfect.  The little cyst was completely gone, just as the doctor said it would be.  “They always do [go away],” he said.

The SCH has shrunk to the size of a postage stamp!  From 11cm (about the size of an orange and almost the size of the baby himself at that time) at its first measurement, a full two weeks after I started bleeding, this is just unfathomable to me!  He said it looks like the SCH is being reabsorbed at this point instead of bleeding out or turning into a clot.  Even more miraculous, it hasn’t damaged the placenta or the baby.

He said I’m no longer required to be on bed rest, but I still should take care to do only light-duty activity since the SCH is still present.  Score!  I’m also not going to have to go back to see him anymore and can just continue care with my midwives.

I’m still slightly dazed.  For the past 3 months, every single day, I’d wake up thankful to still have Sam while simultaneously wondering if I’d have him tomorrow.  I can’t describe the moments of sheer panic I’d have wondering if I was going to make it viability or what would happen if I didn’t.  I’ve known mothers who’ve experienced that kind of loss.  It’s indescribable, the fierce protectiveness for your children when you’re faced with their possible end.

I can’t believe in less than 12 weeks, I’m going to be holding him.

“The midwife considers the miracle of childbirth as normal, and leaves it alone unless there’s trouble. The obstetrician normally sees childbirth as trouble; if he leaves it alone, it’s a miracle.”–Sheila Stubbs

Yesterday, I had my 25 week appointment with my fantastic midwife, Meredith.  Boy, did we have a lot of catching-up to do!  I told her about the hospital visit and the lab results.  She seemed completely unfazed.  She confirmed that, most of the time, Sjogren’s is just more of an irritant and I’d have to see my regular doctor and dentist after I deliver.

She said the baby’s heart rate was spot-on to what it was supposed to be and I’ll be starting my two-week appointments from now until my third trimester when I’ll go weekly, but that I can drop by any time Sam’s being quiet to check him on the doppler if I got really worried.  Sam has been the polar opposite from Gabe as far as movement goes.  By this time, Gabe had regular a regular wake-sleep cycle that I could could always count on.  Sam seems to be very laissez-faire about the whole being-active thing, so periods of quiet don’t concern me as much.

She also reminded me about having already had my first round of rhogam, so of course, I would test positive for the antibodies that were detected.  She didn’t say there was any reason to run a fetal EKG considering his heart beats per minute were exactly where they should be, which is a great load off my shoulders.  She again told me that the preterm labor swab they did at the hospital was completely unnecessary and faulty as my cervix is still closed and I’m not having regular contractions.

When I told her what the OB said about me not being “a patient for a midwife,” I thought she was about to jump up and go find him so she could deck him one!  Apparently, Dr. Leach didn’t even bother to mention that he’d called because he thought that OB was full of baloney.  She was outraged at the way he completely ignored my history and flat out didn’t believe what he said about me putting Sam in mortal danger from being heavy.  For the rest of the visit, every time she mentioned an upcoming appointment or test, she ended her sentences, “Because we take such horrible care of you and all!”

I also mentioned to her my high-level of anxiety and crazy mood swings I’ve been experiencing.  While it’s completely natural for pregnant women to be all over the place emotionally, this pregnancy has taken me to a whole new level of preggo-crazy (and this is from the lady who had a melt-down over misplacing some DVDs and accidentally killing a moth last time around).  She prescribed me with an anxiety medicine to try out for the next few weeks so I don’t stress myself into delivery.  For all of those people who have been dealing with my obsessive-over-emotional-sobbing-or-yelling moods over the past few months… sorry!  I got some happy pills now!  So far, they seem to make me REALLY awake.  Not quite sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing yet.

Next appointment is in two weeks, so I’ll update then!

Shogun sydrome? Am I a feudal lord now?

Having a highly trained obstetrical surgeon attend a normal birth is analogous to having a pediatric surgeon babysit a healthy 2-year-old. M. Wagner

This past week, my sweet little Gabriel decided that I needed to share his stomach virus.  I don’t do well with tummy troubles anyway, but this thing pulverized me.  My darling came rushing to my arms Monday night, hugged me tightly and proceeded to vomit all down my shirt, back, and hair.  Ok, I’m a mom.  This is not my first rodeo with getting vomited upon and having worked in an ER before, I’ve also gotten it from children that were not even mine.  But this… holy mother-of-god… was the rankest thing that has happened to me in a looooong time.

Not two hours later, I started feeling extremely nauseated.  I’ve had morning sickness this entire pregnancy, to the point of losing a lot of weight from not being able to stand the smell of food, so getting sick isn’t something abnormal to me these past 6 months.  I’ve gotten exceptionally good at being able to hold on until I can get somewhere private (I’m not one of those hold-my-hair kind of people when I get sick… leave me alone… I’m capable of handling that myself, thanks) but I barely made it.  After 3 straight hours of praying to the porcelain god, I knew I was beyond help.  I woke up Ian to tell him I was gonna go ahead and go to the ER and get some fluids.  He wanted to drive me in, but at 4am, I really didn’t want to wake up the baby and have to tote him over there, so I decided to just go ahead and drive myself.

I started to go to St. Mary’s but I got halfway down the road out of our subdivision and had to pull over to let loose, so turned right back around to go to Barrow.  Biiiiig mistake.  I thought I’d be seen in the ER for fluids and maybe have to go to L&D to be put on the monitor.  I could not stop throwing up.  I haven’t been so sick since the time I ate a bad baguette at Epcot 5 years ago.  They took me to L&D, put me on the monitor for a measly hour or so while I got fluids and called in their on-call OB.

I so dehydrated and violently ill, I was in and out of it for a while.  I barely remember anything of Tuesday at all.  I do, however, remember the OB coming in to examine me.  I have a personal preference for female OBs and midwives.  I am not a fan of male OBs.  It’s just my little quirk.  I told him, repeatedly, about my SCH and on-going bleeding.  They performed an ultrasound, but weren’t able to see the SCH.  Big surprise since this was the same hospital that couldn’t see the 11cm one when I first started bleeding either.  He examined me and I haven’t felt that violated in a long while.  For those of you unfamiliar with the evil, metal speculum they use in hospitals, let me tell you, that is NOT something you wanna have shoved up your hoo-ha, especially when you’re already having bleeding.  He barely even warned me he was about to do it.  And then he went on to wonder aloud why I was still having bleeding!  Um, hi!  You stuck that thing up my vajayjay like you were tunneling to the center of the earth!  What do you expect, buddy?

Well, after the examine, I blacked out again for several hours.  I woke up to a nurse telling me I was being moved to a different floor for observation because they didn’t want to infect all the other preggos.  I didn’t realized I was being admitted.  I woke up much later in a different room.  I remember them telling me they wanted me to stay the night and get fluids.  Totally cool in my book, but for some reason, the next time I woke up, my saline drip had been stopped.  I assumed it was because they didn’t want me swelling up like a balloon, but I thought I was there FOR fluids.  It didn’t make sense to me.  I called and asked for more zofran and the nurse came in to push the medicine.  She didn’t put it drip, but rather directly into the IV part connected to my hand.  It was sudden and intense fire.  I almost tried to rip it out.  She flushed out the IV and I started to swell.  I told her again and again, I needed the IV out NOW.  She said she was going to get someone to come put in a new IV for me before they took that one out.  Made no sense whatsoever.  She left and 30 minutes later had not returned.  My hand, wrist, and forearm burned.  I called the nurses’ station twice.  I was literally going to rip the thing out of my hand, but I decided to call my mom first so she could come and ask them to let me go.

Finally, a new nurse came in.  They’d been in the middle of shift change and no one had been told to come remove my IV!  She ho-hummed taking it out for a bit until I practically lunged off the bed and told her to get me in the crook of my arm.  She removed the IV and placed a new one right before my mom came in and I decided to stay the rest of the night.

The next morning, Ian and my mom switched shifts watching me and the OB came in to “talk” to me about my pregnancy.  The first thing he thought important to talk to me about was my weight.  Yes, I have gained much more than I care to admit prior to becoming pregnant.  I had literally just started dieting and exercising again when I found out I was pregnant with Sam.  As I mentioned before as well, I have lost 30lbs since becoming pregnant to hyperemesis, but that doesn’t concern my doctors or me in the least because of my weight starting out.  The OB seemed completely floored my doctors and midwives, basically, hadn’t chided me on my weight and told me all the horrible things that it could cause with this pregnancy.  I reminded him again, I’m on bed rest and not eating.  He finally conceded I’m doing all I can to keep my weight under check.  He went on to suggest I have weekly ultrasounds to check the baby’s growth to make sure he wasn’t getting “too large” since I declined the glucose screen (if I can’t keep down food, I can’t keep down that nasty syrup any better than I could the first time… which I couldn’t and ended up eating an entire bag of jelly beans before having the blood test which showed perfect blood sugar levels).

Everything was fine and dandy with everything he said up until then, even though I wasn’t particularly thrilled at being talked to like I was 5 and had been found hiding candy in my pockets.  Then he actually dismissed my entire doctor group and said, “you aren’t a patient for a midwife.”  Excuse me?  Had he not heard that my group includes 2 OBs to whom my midwives report and that I was also seeing a perinatologist for the SCH?  Did I hallucinate that?  Had I not told him, repeatedly, about my bleeding and that I was being watched closely for preterm labor symptoms?  Did he not see in the ultrasound my perfectly closed cervix?  He was completely dismissive of the value of my midwife group.  I was livid.  I wanted to tell him how Meredith turned Gabriel numerous times during delivery to make sure I didn’t have a C-section.  I wanted to tell him how caring she was and how she’d been delivering babies probably longer than he’d been alive.  I know, in my heart, that if I’d had a OB for Gabe’s delivery that he or she would not have been as patient or funny or consoling or guiding as a midwife.

I can’t say enough how much I completely trust them with my care.  When they first told me how large the SCH was and what dangers it presented, they didn’t try to scare me.  What good would that do?  They understand how important it is for women with problems during the pregnancy to remain calm and keep stress-levels low to stave off the fight-or-flight instinct that would cause my body to possibly miscarry to preserve itself.

Anyway, he finally suggested I have a course of steroids to speed up Sam’s lung maturation.  I thought he meant IV steroids, but after realizing he meant shots, I asked to be discharged.  I didn’t want to stay another night or two for something that could be done as an out-patient procedure.  He had multiple labs drawn (which was absolute agony because of my teensy, rolling veins), gave me the first round at the hospital and dismissed me.  HALLELUJAH!  I was feeling completely full of fluid and free!

When I got home, the steroid shot had given me a huge boost of energy, so I began to disinfect the entire house.  Norovirus can live on surfaces up to 2 weeks, so I wanted to kill it as quickly as possible.  Midget still wasn’t feeling well, so over the next day, my mom and I disinfected all of his toys and all our linens and took him to see his doctor who assured me as long as he was still willing to drink, he’d be alright.  I got my second round of steroids at St. Mary’s (soooo much cleaner than Barrow!).

Today, I woke up feeling very nauseated all over again.  I ate something, took some phenergan, worked for a bit, and then passed out.  About an hour later, I started getting calls from the OB at Barrow.  Ugggggggggggggggggggggh.  I was hoping I’d never have to talk to him again.  I finally picked up and he told me the lab work had come back and it showed I may have lupus or, what something that sounded like shogun syndrome.  I tried not to laugh and told him again I was seeing my doctor Tuesday if he’d call them and tell him all the lab findings, we’d discuss it then…

But no.  He still had to make a few comments about my midwives.  Rather than get argumentative, and mostly because that phenergan packed a wallop, I just uh-huh’d him and went back to sleep.  He called again later to tell me that he’d talked to Dr. Leach (one of the OBs I haven’t seen since I first started going there) who “agreed” with him I shouldn’t be seeing the midwives.  Um, excuse me?  I was a little more than pissed off.  I am not this man’s patient and if I’m going to be seeing either one of those OBs, it’s gonna be Dr. Allen as she consulted with me on the SCH to begin with.  Second, unless I end up needing a c-section, I see no reason why I would have to see Dr. Allen during my birth as she’s the physician that signs off on all the orders given to her by the midwives.  She already knows what’s going on.  She’s the one who set me up to see the perinatologist.  I simply don’t understand why this guy isn’t able to understand how they work in tandem with each other.

He said the lab findings came back and showed I do not have lupus but Sjogren’s Syndrome.  It mostly causes dry ducts (like salivary glands and tear ducts), but during pregnancy, it causes antibodies that attack the baby’s heart.  I’m going to have to talk my doctors on Tuesday about having a fetal echocardiogram either at their office or at Dr. Rosemond’s.  I just cannot catch a break with this pregnancy!  Every ultrasound I’ve had done shows Sam’s internal organs are perfect, other than the small cyst that was detected during my last ultrasound that Dr Rosemond assured me will be gone by the next time I see him, and my amniotic fluid levels are exactly where they need to be.

While I appreciate being told about all this, I can’t say I’m terribly concerned yet.  Sam, himself, has looked great at every ultrasound and is getting more and more active.  The tear in the placenta that caused the SCH was closed and there was no blood flow to the SCH, so that was not affecting him at all.  I’m at the point of viability with him now and my only concern is to keep him cooking for at least another 8 weeks, preferably another 12.  I’m still really angry at this OB for suggesting I should not be allowed to see my midwives and that I need even more interventions than I’ve already had thus far when I’ve been told multiple times by my group and the perinatologist that the baby’s growing perfectly on track.

I guess I’ll update on Tuesday after talking to my group.  Thoughts, prayers, good vibes and juju appreciated to keep me sane and Sam cooking until then!

Bleed! Bleed! Bleed!

I finally met the great and almighty guru today:  my perinatologist.  I have to say, he lived up to the hype.  His ultrasound machine was sweet.  I was able to to see the blood flowing to and from the placenta in neat blue and red flashes.  His ultrasound tech was very fun and smiley.  She took the time to explain what parts of the baby she was looking at and she showed me the SCH itself.

It has shrunk!  It’s down to 7cm from 11cm!  Four centimeters gone in two weeks!  That is excellent news.  He said the SCH is located way down by my cervix, so it has plenty of opportunity to bleed out and nothing to obstruct it.  He showed me a small spot in the placenta where, for some reason, it tore a little and created a pool of blood between the layers of the placenta.  The tear resolved itself and the bag of waters is perfectly intact.  He said there’s no more blood flow to it, so it’s not leaching oxygenated blood away from the placenta, so it’s not harming the baby.

Sam is progressing perfectly.  He’s measure 3 days ahead.  His brain is developing fine, but there’s a tiny cyst in one hemisphere.  The doctor said that it’s perfectly normal and there are no genetic abnormalities which would make him want to look at it further.  He said as the brain grows, the cyst will go away, but at my next appointment he’ll check up on it again.

He said he suspects it might bleed itself out or become reabsorbed by my body.  He said it could also stick around and just become a clot in the placenta, but it’s in a very favorable position to bleed itself out.  AND! he said I have a good chance of going all the way to term!

I’m so relieved.  I know I still have a larger than normal risk of preterm labor and placental abruption with the size of the SCH alone, but it’s still nice to hear someone have confidence in my ability to make it all the way with this baby.  My next appointment with my regular midwife is Monday and I go see the perinatologist again at the end of February.  I may or may not have to go back after that, but I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that the SCH will be GONE!

Sam at 20 weeks, 3 days

Sam at 20 weeks, 3 days

Tap, tap, tap…

Finally!  I can feel Sam movin’ and groovin’ around in there.  About dang time, kiddo!  Still can’t feel him on the outside of my stomach very much, but I can feel him inside.  I think one of two things may be happening:  either the SCH has changed positions/shape OR after weeks and weeks of bleeding, it’s bleeding itself out.  I haven’t noticed an increase or decrease in bleeding though.  Still pretty much the same amount.

Tuesday, we begin a new year and I am so ready for 2012 to be done.  I think I’m going to go through my photos and do a little 2012 recap to relive the good time and let go of the bad.

So what the heck is a Subchorionic Hematoma anyway?

Basically, it’s a large pocket of blood in the uterus.  It’s unknown why or how they form.  There’s nothing a pregnant woman can do to either cause them or make them go away.  They just happen.  This isn’t exactly comforting news.  There’s no controlling them and there’s nothing the doctor can do, per se, about them.

“What is a subchorionic hematoma or subchorionic clot? The “bag of waters” within the uterus is composed of two layers, called the chorion and the amnion. The inner layer, closer to the baby, is the amnion. The outer layer, which is normally against the uterine wall, is the chorion. The term “subchorionic clot” or “subchorionic hematoma” describes a blood clot between the bag of waters and the uterus.”

I found a very informative article through a support group that explains what they are here.  It’s pretty interesting and it shows examples of what they look like, so please read the whole article if you have a chance.

So what does this mean for my pregnancy?

Wednesday, I was supposed to go see the perinatologist.  That morning, I suddenly realized they had never called to confirm my appointment.  I called their office and was told that not only was the appointment cancelled, but that I was the one who cancelled it!  I told them I’d never spoken to their office and had been told my doctor’s office the appointment had been for 9:00, not 8:00 like they said.  Ian had taken off work especially to take me to this appointment since they’d be doing the anatomy scan and it would be the first time he got a chance to look at the baby.  I even checked my phone records and there were no calls to or from their office.  They told me they didn’t have any openings and because I was still bleeding and hadn’t felt Sam move, I had to go see my regular OB.  I was furious.

Thankfully, my wonderful office was able to get me in that morning and do an ultrasound.  Again, we saw that Sam was growing perfectly.  He was jumping and jiving and kicking and punching.  The ultrasound tech, Allie, explained why I wasn’t able to feel him move.  There was no where for him to kick that wasn’t either the placenta or the blood clot.  When I asked her to measure it, I was shocked when she gave me an estimate of 11cm.  A normal, 18 week old fetus is 13.25cm.  That was almost the length of Sam and I’d hazard a guess that at its widest, it was 5cm.

Again, there’s not a lot of literature on SCHs and even less on second trimester SCHs, but scouring the internet and pregnancy forums, the largest measurement I could find that anyone’s provided is 6cm.  That’s incredibly disheartening.  The more blood, the more irritation, which causes contractions.  Contractions bring on labor.  The SCH has a way to drain, so hopefully, it won’t form a clot and cause placental abruption (which means the placenta detaches from the uterine wall and causes miscarriage).

I asked my midwife to level with me.  I know she was trying not to freak us out, but we were able to read between the lines.  They expect me to go into preterm labor.  She told me once I hit 20 weeks they will make every effort to stave off it off.  However, there’s no guarantee.  I can expect to continue bleeding throughout my pregnancy, possibly another massive bleed like I had at the end of November, as well.

They also don’t know where the bleeding is coming from.  As you can see from the above article, SCHs are part of the placenta, between the layers.  This bleeding is not attached to the placenta.  I may still be bleeding internally, as in the pocket of blood may be filling back up.  I won’t know if there’s blood flow to it or where its coming from until I see the perinatologist (January 4th).  If I’m now looking at a pocket of blood 11cm after all that bleeding (and I’m still currently bleeding), how the hell big was it before it burst?!

Anyway, this is where we are now.  I have a healthy baby and an unhealthy uterus.  I am on bed rest (here’s a pretty interesting article on the benefits of bed rest for SCH patients) and will continue to be monitored throughout my pregnancy and will update this blog as it goes along.  I’ve never been in the situation where I was hanging my hopes on reaching viability at 24 weeks, but that’s where we’re at.  I have 5 1/2 more weeks until I get there.

Fear

This post is quite long and it’s to catch everyone up to speed on what happened at the end of last month.  I’m going to create another post that will go in to the diagnosis and what it means, as well as the plan going forward.

 

“I must say a word about fear.  It is life’s only true opponent.  Only fear can defeat life.  It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know it.  It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy.  It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. (…) The matter is difficult to put into words.  For fear, real fear, such as shakes you to your foundation, such as you feel when you are brought face to face with your mortal end, nestles in your memory like a gangrene:  it seeks to rot everything, even the words with which to speak of it.  So you must fight hard to express it.  You must fight hard to shine a light of words upon it.  Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly forget the opponent who defeated you.”  –Yann Martel, The Life of Pi

I am a planner.  I make lists upon lists and lists of lists.  I like things just-so and if things don’t pan out quite right, I always tell myself, “Well, make a better list next time so you don’t forget!”  So when Ian and I found out we were expecting, I got myself into a little bit of a panic.  This was not on my list!  It took me several weeks and repeating to myself daily that I was pregnant for it to sink in and because it wasn’t on my list, I still wasn’t quite happy about it.

Something felt not-quite-right.  I had an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy and give me an estimated due date.  The baby’s heart beat was strong and it appeared to be just a wiggly as Gabriel was.  For some reason, I didn’t want to tell people I was pregnant.  I blew it off as maybe I was just still upset about the shock (and truth be told, angry that my insurance plan didn’t cover maternity).  When I found out at 15 weeks I was having another boy, I was a little disappointed.  Ian and I knew we’d only have two kids, so I was sad I wouldn’t get the chance to be a mother to a daughter.  I had stupid worries about always comparing my second son to my first or not knowing how to love them differently, but equally (which is totally ridiculous because they’re two different people, duh, but when you’re pregnant, you can get carried away with your irrational fears even when you know they’re completely irrational).

(To a pregnant woman, this scenario is totally plausible:  Giant Eagles could snatch my baby!!!)

I have a very sweet friend who felt the same way with her first child and after talking with her a bit, I felt a lot better about another boy.  I made a list!  I made a Pinterest board!  I thought of all the different interests this baby could possibly have and how I would make sure he felt special by sharing them with him.  But I still didn’t feel like sharing my pregnancy.  I told my mom and my husband, but when they asked if they could share the news or if I would make an announcement, I skirted the issue and left it up to them.  I had this weird aversion to it.  I thought maybe it was still just my planner-self coming to terms with the unexpected or maybe some left-over gender disappointment… but somehow, it wasn’t that and I couldn’t shake it.

Gabriel came down with a cold on November 24th which turned out to be roseola, so he kept me busy while I kept him out of school.  The rash appeared Wednesday and by Friday it was almost gone, he was no longer contagious, and he was driving me insane.  I felt strange and dizzy the whole day, so I tried repeatedly to get him to take a few naps so he could fully recharge after his illness and I could lie down for a bit.  After a long battle, I finally conceded defeat and headed out to the park to let him blow off some steam.  We live out in the sticks and the nearest park to us (15 minutes up the road) isn’t really designed for toddlers, so I headed to the nicer one 30 minutes away.

We ran around the playground for a while.  I got him to go up the toddler play gym and down the slide himself a few times.  He wanted to climb higher and go down the longer slide (which was all of maybe 5 feet) so I climbed up with him and slid down.  The instant I stood up at the bottom I knew something was wrong.  The slide had a little bump in the middle of it I hadn’t noticed.  I did not feel well at all.  Gabe ran off to the swings so I slowly walked after him, trying to calm my nerves.  After pushing him for about 5 minutes, I knew I needed to leave right that moment.

As I got him into the car, I felt a little gush.  Awesome!  I totally just peed myself at the park!  Nice one.  But then I felt it kept coming and my bladder didn’t feel any emptier.  I strapped Munchkin into the car and drove over to the park restrooms.  I left the car running and ran into the bathroom.  I sat down and used the potty thinking, I’d just empty my bladder and burn my pee-pants when I got home.  But when I wiped, it wasn’t pee.  It was blood.  A lot of blood.  Naturally, I friggin’ panicked and called my midwife sobbing while driving 80mph out of the playground.  She told me to go home, lie down on my left side, and wait to see if the bleeding would stop.  I called my mom on the way home so she could come over and watch Gabe while I rested and I called Ian, bawling, to tell him to come home.  He was working in Atlanta, so I knew the traffic would be awful, so I figured he wouldn’t get there for another 2 hours.

By the time I got to my house and stood up out of the car, I was gushing blood.  I’ve honestly never seen that much blood come out of my body in my life (including the horror that happens after you give birth).  I got Gabe out of the car and let him run free-range in the living room while I ran to the bathroom to wait for my mom.

It was over.  I knew it.  No way could I be losing that much blood and the baby still be alive.  At almost 16 weeks pregnant, there’s nothing anyone can do to prevent a miscarriage.  I resolved myself to let my mom take care of the mess I’d made in the car, the garage, and the house.  I’d wait until Ian got home and she could take me to the emergency room.

When she arrived, I went to lie down in bed and wait for Ian to arrive.  I tried to distract myself by looking at internet forums I frequent and my old friend, Facebook.  As a planner, I couldn’t help but follow the bleeding to its logical end, but I had no idea what happened when you have a miscarriage at that stage of pregnancy.  How would I react when they told me what I already knew?  I had planned to go St. Mary’s.  I know almost all the hospital staff and I knew they’d care for me, but did I really want to go through with something like that in front of them?  I didn’t know.

Ian arrived home and I sat up from bed to greet him.  A new wave of blood soaked me all the way to my socks.  My mom helped me to the bathroom to change again.  I began violently shaking and knew I wouldn’t make it all the way to Athens.  I’d have to go to the nearest hospital and fast.  When we arrived, I asked for a nurse to help me out of the car.  I was so dizzy I was afraid I might fall and my mom wouldn’t be able to catch me, or worse, she would try and injure herself.  The tiny waiting room was packed.  The triage nurse told me they one OB bed and they were discharging that patient, so I would have to wait.  I cried.  I’ve worked in emergency rooms in various positions for almost 10 years now.  I knew I’d have to wait a while the minute I looked at the waiting room, but all I wanted was to know, right then, if Sam was still in there.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait long and they brought me back.  The nurse told me the doctor would be in shortly and the on-call ultrasound tech had been paged to come in.  The doctor came in shortly and examined me.  I know it’s a totally human reaction, but I really hate when doctors see something really gorey and go, “Oh my.”  She could’ve even find my cervix because of the amount of blood, but she told me I was more than likely going to lose my baby.  She and the nurses hugged me while my mom and I sobbed.  I’m not a pray-er, but we prayed.

The ultrasound tech arrived and showed me that Sam was indeed still alive.  The placenta was intact.  They didn’t know why I was bleeding.  I called my midwife back and she told me to come to the hospital tomorrow and she would examine and I could come in for an ultrasound later that week.  I left the ER confused and still scared.  Yes, Sam was alive, but the ER doctor said it looked I was dilating.  I still didn’t have high hopes to continue this pregnancy.

The next day I was seen at St. Mary’s and after arguing for about an hour to be seen upstairs instead of the emergency room, the midwife told me my cervix was long and closed, just as it should be and she didn’t have any idea why I was bleeding.  The following week, my mother in law came up and took me to see the doctor’s office.  I am so thankful to have such a wonderful, caring OB practice and a phenomenal ultrasound tech.  It took her all of a minute to find the source of the bleeding.

I had a large subchorionic hematoma.  And that wasn’t just gibberish to me!  I had a very small one early on in my pregnancy with Gabriel.  I had a little bit of spotting and the clot resolved itself within a week or so.  I was so relieved to hear they had a diagnosis for what was going on, I barely registered anything Dr. Allen told me.  Only after I went home did I realize several things:

  • I saw the actual OBGYN.  I usually see the midwives.  At that practice, the midwives see and deliver regular ol’ pregnant patients and the OBs see high risk or gynecological patients unless a patient specifically requests to see the OB.
  • They were referring me out to see a perinatologist.  Like I said, they do see high risk patients at that practice, so for them to refer me out was a bit unusual.
  • She mentioned preterm labor and continued bleeding.  I was still bleeding at that point and I figured I would continue to bleed the rest of the clot out.  I didn’t realize she meant renewed bleeding.

I was put on bed rest and told to go see the perinatologist in 2 weeks.  No picking up my son, no driving, no travel.  Rest, rest, rest.  Sounds like a mini-vacay, right?  Yeah, no.  Immediately when I got home, I wanted to pick up my house, start the laundry, play with my son.  My enthusiasm for finally knowing what exactly was wrong deflated like a popped balloon.  This wasn’t going to be a normal pregnancy anymore.  My feelings of trepidation made sense.  I knew something was wrong from the beginning, but I just didn’t know what.  I had no choice but to take it easy and wait to see the perinatologist.