Another scary day

Things have been getting pretty crazy around here.  When I said that last week’s incident probably wouldn’t be my only “freak-out moment” of this pregnancy, I don’t think I realized the next one would come quite so soon…

I didn’t have any more spotting after the ultrasound on Thursday.  I also hadn’t heard any results from that ultrasound, so I took that to mean there was nothing out of the ordinary to report.  I felt pretty crummy off-and-on over the weekend – mostly feeling nauseous in the evenings and had been going to bed super early.

Yesterday, I was 8w5d.  I woke up and went to work as usual.  I was having a bit of gas-like cramping, but my tummy had been a bit off (I was a little constipated over the weekend and then had some diarrhea) so I wasn’t really concerned.  Just before 10:00 a.m., I got up from my desk to  go to the washroom.  I felt a bit of wetness “down there” but I assumed it was my usual pregnancy discharge – watery/creamy/whitish stuff.  When I arrived at the washroom and sat down, there was an immediate huge gush of blood.  It was bright red and way more blood than a normal menstrual bleed.  I was freaking out.  How could this be happening?  I just saw Bo looking perfect on Thursday.  How could I have a miscarriage now?

I pulled myself together and made it back to my desk.  I somehow managed to set my out-of-office response on my email and stumbled over to my boss to tell her I had to leave.  She didn’t know about my pregnancy yet, so I felt I had to tell her.  She was very good about it and I rambled about my situation as she walked me down to catch a cab.

D was up at the farm doing some work, so it would take him a while to get back to the city.  I couldn’t get a hold of my mom and first, so I knew I was going to have to go the ER on my own.  Mom finally called back and met me at the hospital.  She made it there before the triage nurse had even seen me.  I managed to hold myself together until I was talking to the nurse.  That’s when I started sobbing.

I made it through triage and registration relatively quickly.  Our hospital is massive and has a crazy busy ER, so usually the wait is very long.  Of course, once inside, I was escorted to yet another waiting room.  To wait.  D arrived while I was waiting to be seen.  Around noon, a doctor came to get us.

We went into an examination room and I described my symptoms again.  At this point, I hadn’t had any more bleeding beyond that one big gush.  I told the doctor about my spotting and subsequent ultrasound on Thursday.  He said he would do a “screening” ultrasound right away and then we’d take it from there.

I lay down fully prepared to be told that I had miscarried.  I felt sick to my stomach, but strangely calm.  He pulled in the portable ultrasound machine and got down to business.  D was standing beside me and I knew he could see the screen but I couldn’t see anything and D was keeping quiet.  Finally the doctor asked if I wanted to see the baby and turned the screen toward me.  It was much less clear than the previous ultrasounds, but I could definitely see the blob of a baby and the fluttering heart.  Thank God.

He told us that the ultrasound machine wasn’t good enough to measure the heart rate properly but that everything looked normal to him.  He said he suspected that I had a subchorionic bleed, which apparently is common cause of first trimester bleeding.  I would get a more detailed ultrasound that afternoon, as well as urine and blood work.

Back to the little waiting room to wait some more.  In the meantime, I called Dr. P’s office to let him know I was in the ER.  His receptionist said that my ultrasound from last week had been “normal” but did show a small subchorionic bleed.  She said it was good that I was getting checked again and that they would look out for the results.  Um, why hadn’t they called and told me about the bleed??  I’m sure I still would have freaked out, but maybe not quite as much…

Anyway, after many hours of waiting, we were finally taken to radiology for the second ultrasound.  After a quick abdominal ultrasound, they moved on to transvaginal.  When I say “they”, I mean that I got to have it done twice because there was a student as well as the regular technologist.

After that, I was given a radiology report to take back to the ER doc.  It was stapled shut so I couldn’t read it (I sure tried though).  Shortly after returning to the ER, the doctor pulled us aside to tell us the findings:

  • a very small subchorionic bleed was seen on the ultrasound
  • likely a lot the blood came out in the morning during the “gush”
  • there may be some more bleeding or the rest of the blood may be reabsorbed by my body
  • the baby looked good and measured normally with a heart rate of 171 bpm, however this is still considered a miscarriage risk – meaning I could go on to have a normal pregnancy or it could cause a miscarriage
  • there are also signs of an umbilical cord cyst (not related to the bleeding) which needs to be re-checked at the NT scan between 12 and 14 weeks

Woosh, that’s a lot to take in.  By the time we got home, I was completely exhausted.  I had a quick dinner and was in bed by 7:00 p.m.  I did a bunch of reading online (which sometimes helps, sometimes not) and had a bit of trouble falling asleep. 

This morning, Dr. P called after receiving all the results.  He definitely made me feel a lot better.  He said the baby looks great and doesn’t seem to be affected at all by the bleed.  My HCG levels look great.  He expects that I may bleed some more (in fact, I had another smaller gush last night before bed) and he said any bleeding should be dark red to black in colour. 

Dr. P told me that I can do normal light activity (i.e. go to work) but no intercourse, heavy lifting or strenuous activity.

I asked about the umbilical cord cyst as well.  After reading on the internet, I was a bit scared (can be a sign of chromosomal abnormalities in the second and third trimester) but it looks like most cysts found in the first trimester – especially between 8 and 9 weeks – disappear by the second trimester and end up with normal pregnancy outcomes.  Anyway, he said it was so small that he wasn’t even sure that there was a cyst and that we’d check on it at the next ultrasound.

All in all, I was told to try not to worry.  Easier said than done, but I don’t have much other choice right now.  There’s nothing we can do to stop the bleeding so I just have to wait it out.  I’m trying  my best to stay positive and hope that everything resolves itself.

 

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Morning sickness and miscarriage

Both before and after I got pregnant for the first time, I read a number of reports stating that pregnant women who suffered from morning sickness were less likely to miscarry. Some examples of what I read:

  • The absence of morning sickness is associated with an increased risk of early pregnancy loss.
  • One study noted that women who had no nausea or vomiting during their first trimester were more than 3 times more likely to miscarry than the women who did have morning sickness.
  • Another study stated that morning sickness lowers the risk of miscarriage by almost 70 per cent.
  • The longer a pregnant woman had morning sickness symptoms, the lower her risk of miscarriage.

The early days of my pregnancy with Littleman were plagued by nausea. From midday until late into the evening, I felt miserable and could barely eat. And when I hit the second trimester, I was disappointed to find that the nausea continued to hang around for another month or so.

As my second pregnancy progressed, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was any truth to those studies. I anxiously awaited that horrible feeling of sickness and the inability to stomach anything more than bread-type products. As much as I hated feeling nauseous all the time, there was definitely something comforting about it. It meant I was pregnant!

I hit six weeks, then seven, eight. The morning sickness just wasn’t showing up. I felt fine. I was tired, but I was eating. No food aversions, no throwing up, nothing.

I knew that miscarriage was always a possibility. I knew the stats. But, as much as I worried about my lack of symptoms, I don’t think I ever actually thought miscarriage would happen to me.

When my 12-week appointment finally rolled around, Dr. P asked me how I was feeling. “Fine,” I told him. I did tell him that I was nervous about not feeling sick. I reminded him about how I felt the last time I was pregnant and told him that I was worried about the lack of morning sickness.

He told me that he only worries when symptoms disappear. Since I never had any morning sickness, I was just lucky. That reassured me. Then we heard the baby’s heartbeat and saw the ultrasound. All was good. And I was lucky enough not to have suffered any morning sickness!

After losing the baby a couple of weeks after that appointment, I can’t stop thinking about whether or not it was a fluke or if the lack of morning sickness was a sign of trouble.

Now that I’m pregnant again, I’m hyper-aware of any pregnancy symptoms (or lack thereof). Will my minor nausea kick into higher gear? If so, will it stick around long enough to make me feel safe? If not, will I be able to enjoy feeling decent or will I constantly worry about what it may mean?

I guess I just have to wait and see.