I had a bleed- a heavy bleed. When I saw the blood I swear my heart stuttered in my chest. I was terrified and not just because of the bleeding; I was cramping, and my back was aching.
I was so afraid I was going to lose my baby. My husband and I went straight to the emergency room.
Every second of the car journey in I assumed the worst. I tried not to but that’s where my brain went.
How was I going to explain to my little girl the baby was gone from mommy’s tummy?
How would I tell anyone? How would I get the words out?
We arrived at the hospital and as I learned, all too well, over the following weeks the standard procedure for a bleed in pregnancy involves an internal and a scan.
“There’s your baby.”
The most glorious words I could have heard.
There was my baby moving around and the heartbeat was strong. I was so relieved and so grateful.
The doctor told us that sometimes these things just happen, not to worry but if there was any more bleeding come straight back.
OK, I thought, it was just one of those things. No big deal. There was no way it would happen again- Until it did.
Less than a week later. This time, I knew the drill. I was worried but didn’t feel as negative about the whole thing as I had the first time.
Everything was fine last time, it’ll be fine again.
Only this time the scan took longer. The doctor stayed silent.
Was that my voice that sounded so high-pitched?
“The baby’s fine.”
Oh thank God! I began breathing again.
There was loads of movement and the heartbeat was strong. I relaxed.
“I’m just trying to figure out what this is…”
What!? I tensed and stopped breathing again.
“Have you a full bladder?”
My throat felt like it was closing up.
I tried not to panic; she had just said the baby was fine, it was probably nothing.
The doctor called in another doctor (never good) and she couldn’t figure it out either- not comforting.
Dear Jesus, what the hell was it? What was inside me?
Scenes from Alien flashed in my mind, which were much less terrifying than the scenes of The Fault in Our Stars that joined in.
A sonographer was called and thankfully- for my sanity, could tell straight away what it was: a Subchorionic Haematoma.
Looking back, it’s amazing to think that was the first time I’d heard the term considering just how much I know about it now.
Nothing to panic about, they said but I was put on pelvic rest and told to take things really easy. Don’t lift anything bigger than a small bag of sugar.
How much does a two-year old weigh?
I did as I was told and didn’t panic, at least not at first.
The doctor explained that it was large at 9cm, not very common in the second trimester and it was behind the placenta.
I was likely to have more bleeding and to come back in if it was heavy but try not to worry; they would re-evaluate at 32 weeks but hopefully it would be gone by then.
32 weeks? That was ages away but it must be a good sign if they were talking about the pregnancy progressing to 32 weeks, right?
“There’s nothing we can do about it so it’s best to try and not worry.”
The funny thing was I left the hospital thinking that’s great the baby’s fine. It wasn’t until I explained it out loud that it really hit me how serious it sounded.
And then I did something utterly stupid… I googled ‘Subchorionic haematoma.’
I may as well have typed in “ways to scare the living shit out of myself”- although that may have brought up a whole different images result.
I learned that a subchorionic hematoma was basically a blood clot between the uterus and the placenta and that when one was present in the second trimester there was a 50/50 chance of the pregnancy progressing.
There was nothing they could do about it if it went wrong, not at this stage.
Despite being advised against it, I worried. I worried more than I’d ever worried about anything in my life.
It didn’t seem fair, I thought I could ease off the worry after the 12-week scan. I thought getting into the second trimester meant I was out of the danger zone.
It all felt wrong.
I was angry with my body for not being able to grow my baby without this threat looming near by.
In the next 10 days, I had more bleeds, more ER visits, and more internals.
At 16 weeks the hematoma was still 9cms and by then I was sick of the ER visits. Mentally exhausted from the scans checking if my baby had survived the latest bout of bleeding.
The blood had turned brown, meaning it was old blood so unless it returned to red I shouldn’t panic.
Sure, no problem I’d just switch that big panic button inside me to ‘off’- silly me leaving it at ‘on’ this whole time.
I took that to mean I didn’t have to keep coming back to the ER. I wasn’t devastated about the break from the internals.
At each return visit I had grilled every doctor I met with questions but the answers were always the same; it was too early. If things did go wrong, there was nothing they could do but I should stay positive.
It wasn’t easy but a positive mentality was all I had at that point.
Between 16 weeks and my next scheduled scan at 20 weeks I bled and bled and bled some more.
I’ll admit it, in those weeks; I lost my (fragile) positivity. Lost may even be too mild a way to phrase it, let me try again, ahem…
My positivity fell into a fiery pit of doom and despair and was completely and utterly incinerated.
Yep, that’s better.