Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Fear & Hope
So if you don't know me, well you missed my announcement that I have a little jellybean on the way!!! It's so exciting, and will lead to lots of DIY posts as I put together the nursery, as well as mommyhood posts (sorry, it can't be avoided). Blogging has clearly not been a priority, and the best I can promise at this point is sporadic posts, but there will be posts!
One of the reasons blogging has been such a low priority is that my first trimester was really hard. When I say that a lot of people assume I mean that I had horrible morning sickness, a la Duchess Catharine, but no, it was much more terrifying than that. My first trimester was full of fear. I'm hoping that by sharing my experience I can help support and encourage other first time mothers experiencing similar complications, and to provide hope that things can still be ok despite how bad they might look at the moment.
My husband and I were so excited when we found out, albeit a little surprised due to a false negative test a few days earlier. We were also cautious, that's just how we are, but overall we really assumed things would be great with no issues. I am healthy, I exercise, eat well, I'm not yet at advanced maternal age, on the outside one would assume I would have a textbook, easy pregnancy.
Well, a few days in I experienced some light spotting. It was disconcerting, but I already knew that some spotting is common, my bigger concern was whether it would be a sign of more things to come. I called my doctor's office the next day and they said it sounded within a safe and normal range, but if it increased to call back. Things went great for about a week, and then on a Sunday, Mother's Day to be exact, I experienced even more spotting that just didn't stop all day. The on-call doctor told me to call my doctor's office in the morning, which I did and my doctor told me to come in the afternoon for a quick check (the spotting had not stopped yet).
At the office I received my first ultrasound, which showed things to be looking good, yay! Although I was measuring behind their estimate so another ultrasound was scheduled for the following week. The next week we went in, spotting had continued throughout, and more good news, the baby was growing on track compared to the previous scan with a heartbeat! My doctor located an area that he believed the spotting to be coming from, and indicated that it was not impacting the baby, more good news! At this point he informed me that he no longer does OB care and I would need to find an OB for the rest of the pregnancy.
After 2 1/2 weeks of continuous spotting, it finally stopped. This was a huge relief for me, I figured everything would be great now. I had my first OB appointment scheduled in 3 weeks, so all seemed to be back on track and going well again. A week later I was at work, I got up and went to the bathroom and discovered a lot of blood and I noticed I has having minor cramps. Visibly shaking I told my boss I needed to call my doctor and leave. She was wonderful and found a private place for me to call my doctor and started trying to call a cab to come pick me up. One the most frustrating parts of this particular experience was that I didn't know which doctor to call, my GYN doesn't do OB, and I hadn't seen my OB yet. So I called my GYN's office first, well at 8 weeks they would no longer see me, end of story. So I called my OB's office and spoke with the nurse triage line. I explained that my GYN's office wouldn't see me, but that I hadn't actually seen my OB yet, so I was told to go to the ER.
I got into a cab and my husband met me at the ER where he already had my check-in process started. Once at the ER I began to pass small clots as well. I will be honest, at this point I truly believed it was all over and my hope was starting to fade. It was a very long 6 hours total in the ER, but the early news was actually looking promising, the part that took so long was waiting for the ultrasound that would be able to detect if there was still a heartbeat. Finally we reached that moment, and my husband and I both held our breath, at first we could see the baby, but we didn't see the flicker of a heart beating, and then a few seconds later it was there! I have never felt more relief and happiness in my entire life, I started bawling right then there and the tech had to ask me to calm down so I could stay still for the rest of the scan. When I left the ER the diagnosis I received was a threatened abortion, and the bleeding was coming from around the placenta. The doctors informed me that statistically the odds at miscarriage at that point with the bleeding were 50/50, although all of my results were very encouraging. This was tough news to swallow, but my husband and I left feeling very hopeful and knowing we've got a tough little jellybean growing.
I continued spotting after that incident for several days, but eventually it stopped. A week and a half after my ER visit I had my first appointment with my OB. It went great, we could actually see arms and legs and the little one even swam around for us, beyond amazing. I was given the news that everything looked really good and I could start resuming normal activities, at this point I had been on exercise restriction for about 5 weeks. We were both so excited and felt so much relief, unfortunately it was short lived.
Just 2 hours after getting home from my OB appointment, as we were deciding what special thing we wanted to do celebrate the great news, I again went to the bathroom only discover lots of blood and large clots. The first though in my head was "This can't be happening," we had JUST seen a healthy wiggly baby a few hours earlier. Of course it was just late enough that the doctor's office was closed, so we had to call for the on-call doctor. Unfortunately, for some reason the on-call doctor never returned the call, luckily we have a wonderful friend who is an OB who happily talked to us on the phone and explained what we needed to watch for for the rest of the night to determine if the ER was necessary, and otherwise we could wait and call the office in the morning. So we ended up waiting until the morning.
I called the office immediately when their phone lines opened and was told to come in right away and they would do a scan for me. I'll be honest, I was less concerned that we were losing at this point because of the previous scan, I was more worried about what kept causing these incidents. The scan again showed a healthy baby, and this time the tech did a thorough search and discovered 3 sub-chorionic hemorrhages. These were explained to me as bleeding that occurs between the placenta and the uterus. The doctor explained that there is nothing that can prevent these from occurring (and nothing I did that caused them), and there is no way to treat them, the only cure is time. I was told to try and take things easy and that my first trimester screening would also be an opportunity to reevaluate the bleeding, but to call back if another incident occurred.
I had two more incidents before my first tri screening, but luckily the hemorrhages have now completely healed, and I have been incident free for the longest stretch since 5 weeks into the pregnancy (I'm 15 now). I am now able to begin exercising once again and I finally feel like I can fully enjoy this pregnancy and be safely excited about everything yet to come.
My first trimester was full of fears, but my husband really helped me hold onto hope which got me through the worst days. Going through so much so early on helped us both develop a deep attachment to this baby very quickly. The experience also put a lot of things into a whole new perspective for me. There are so many things that I normally can get stressed or upset about day to day, but none of those things can hold a candle to the importance of having a healthy baby, and facing the fear that you may be losing that baby just shows you how trivial all of those other "important" things are.
My goal for the rest of this pregnancy is to try and be present in each moment, and to cherish each experience as much as possible. I feel like I owe that to myself, my husband, my baby, and especially to everyone out there who has had a similar experience and maybe didn't have the happy outcome I have. I am lucky, and I know this and I appreciate it.