Last Year...

at this time I was only about 8 weeks pregnant when I started having very heavy bleeding and thought I had most certainly lost the baby. After a day in the ER and an ultrasound confirmed that the baby had a heartbeat and the presence of a large blood clot, I was told it was a threatened miscarriage and that I would most likely completely miscarry in the days to come. It was impossible for me to understand what was happening inside my body. The doctors couldn't tell us what was causing it or how I could stop it. I just had to 'wait and see'. Regardless, what a wonderful way for the extended family to discover I was pregnant.
Hey mom I'm pregnant... or at least I was a couple minutes ago.
I remember feeling responsible in some way. I tried to remember what I had been doing that morning? Too much running around? Too much bending over? Does that cause miscarriage? And when I went to the ER and explained that I was about 8 weeks pregnant they looked at me like I was nuts. They wondered where I had confirmed the pregnancy and who was 'in charge' of my prenatal care. You mean besides me? I'm sorry did I miss some critical milestone of pregnancy by not getting an official diagnosis of my condition from the doc before 8 weeks? My goodness, I know when I'm pregnant and how pregnant I am. It's amazing to me how condescending the medical community can be to people regarding their own bodies.

After that first weekend of the ever threatening miscarriage that never completed, I was told to go about business as usual. Nothing I did or did not do would contribute to the inevitable. Despite this advice I tried to take it as easy as possible, convinced that I could prevent a complete miscarriage by remaining still or crossing my legs or 'sucking it in'. Basically I drove myself nuts. I spent the days reading about other peoples similar experiences and how it had panned out for them in the end.

Since couldn't yet feel the baby moving and I didn't have the luxury of owning an ultrasound machine, I pretty much worried all the time in between doctor visits which were weekly for a while. I mourned the loss of my baby every time I went to the bathroom and noticed the bleeding had gotten heavier. The threatened miscarriage continued for weeks. The bleeding slowed and stopped at about 12 weeks and then began again with a vengeance. After another trip to the ER I was finally told to try complete bed rest for two weeks as a last resort . Finally I was able to take what I had felt was the obvious course of inaction. I laid on the couch at my parents house for weeks, while Lorenz was working in Pittsburgh. They cooked for me and served me and did the same for my girls. Aside from the constant inquiries into the amount of bleeding I was experiencing that hour, they were really great. A couple more weeks and ultrasounds went by and the doctors advised me to remain on complete bed rest. "Don't be too optimistic, but it's not quite time to throw in the towel just yet", I was told by one incredibly crass physician.
So we spent another mournful Christmas and New Year at Grandma's house. But, amazingly after another two weeks on the couch I was told that the blood clot was almost completely gone and at about 24 weeks gestation I started being optimistic about the baby. From that time on I had no troubles at all. Everything was perfectly normal. None of the doctors could ever really tell me exactly what had happened, but from all of the different explanations they provided me, I gleaned that somehow the placenta detached from the wall of my womb just enough to cause heavy bleeding. I'm so grateful that I was finally prescribed bed rest after weeks of being told to go about with business as usual. I really think that that's what did the trick for me. Once the wound had time to heal I really was back in business. I'm especially grateful to my parents, family and friends for caring for me and my children and allowing me the time my body needed to heal.

Everyday for those two months last year, I thought I was in the process of miscarrying. As the threatened miscarriage went on there were plenty of times that I wished I had a window into my uterus. There were a handful of times when my family and friends had to help me fish blood clots out of the toilet and try to assess if it was just a clot or something more. Often I feared that I was just postponing the inevitable and as the baby grew larger everyday it would be harder for me to cope with eventually losing it.

But when it was all over I never did miscarry.
Now I look at my 4 month old daughter today it almost doesn't seem like that was her. It seems like a different pregnancy. Those two months were like a time warp. And then suddenly I was 24 weeks pregnant and it was like I had just discovered it for the first time.

Threatened miscarriage is such an emotional roller coaster (seriously, I know it's an overused expression, but it applies) . There is almost nothing the doctors will tell you to make you feel better. But I did find so much comfort in other people's stories, while I was in the thick of it at this time last year.

(and here's the little bouncer now)


Cheilita said...

that would be torture! I had an abruption the night of Tulia's birth and so I can identify with some of what you've written. sounds cliche but the happy endings feel like miracles and I guess they are, aren't they?

Sarah said...

they certainly are:)