As 2014 drew to a close, I had every intention of writing some sort of lovely, introspective post considering the past year and perhaps hinting at hopes for 2015.
There was just one little problem with that: introspection involves exploring all those dark, anxiety-ridden places that I’ve mostly been ignoring. Bleeding daily during a pregnancy is terrifying in any circumstance. Coming after infertility, IVF, and miscarriage, coping for me has often meant refusing to explore my emotions. It’s just too overwhelming right now. So I’m settling for updating. Mostly because it feels good to write a bit.
Having weekly doctor’s appointments for progesterone injections has helped considerably with my anxiety levels. There is something comforting about being able to see the baby and know how the SCH looks that week, even if there is relatively little to be done. The progesterone does seem to help calm the cramping, which is something at least. Every week is a victory.
My appointment from Dec. 23 went well. I had a large, solid clot mass and a 5cm x 2 cm pocket of liquid blood sitting in my uterus underneath the baby. While this wasn’t an enormous amount of progress, it was good news in that the SCH hadn’t grown and had stayed stable. On Dec. 30, we were excited to find out that the baby was still growing well and that the liquid pocket was gone. The large clotted portion of the SCH was sitting above my cervix.
I’d started passing some small clots in addition to the dark brown bleeding a day or two prior to my Dec. 30 appointment. I wasn’t particularly worried since I knew there was a lot of clotted material in my uterus and figured it was bits and pieces of that passing. My cervix was still closed, and that was what mattered.
December 31, I noticed the peculiar sensation I’d become familiar with over the last eight weeks. The best way I can describe it is as an irritated fullness or pressure. The sensation usually comes before a big bleeding episode and probably has to do with the blood pressing against my cervix.
I came home and spent the evening reclining on the couch feeling cramps on and off. For New Year’s Eve, Arthur and I have a tradition where we stay home, just the two of us. We put out (pasteurized) cheese and crackers, homemade or artisan bread, and while most years we have summer sausage and sparkling wine, this year we made a couple of hot appetizer finger foods and had sparkling non-alcoholic cider. We watch “The Holiday”, see the ball drop in Times Square on TV, and go to bed. All in all, it was a good thing we didn’t have plans to go out because I wasn’t feeling it.
It was a nice evening despite the full sensation. Arthur and I kissed at midnight and went to bed.
New Year’s morning, I woke up and that was when I figured out why I’d felt so odd for the whole previous day. It was total clot-maggedon and wholly horrifying. If this had happened any earlier in my pregnancy, I would have been in hysterics because I would have thought I’d surely passed the gestational sac. Fortunately, at 18 weeks pregnant, I was certain the gestational sac hadn’t come out. I was concerned, however, that because of the sheer amount of detritus and fluid that had come out that there was a possibility I’d ruptured my membranes or started to dilate.
So we made our fourth ER visit of this pregnancy. I explained to the ER staff that I thought the baby was most likely okay, but because of the amount of large clots and material I’d passed, I wanted to be certain. I knew that if my cervix had shortened or if the membranes had ruptured, these were things I needed to know. I had considered for a little bit whether or not I wanted to go, but after realizing that if something was wrong I’d never forgive myself for not having it checked out.
Baby looked beautiful. He/She was kicking away, wiggling around, and had a wonderful heart rate of 166 beats per minute. My cervix was still closed from what I could see on the ultrasound, a great relief. There was plenty of amniotic fluid and no apparent problem with the sac. My hemoglobin was within the normal range for a pregnant woman as well.
I felt pretty good and figured I had to be getting done with the clots. Wrong. I continued to pass clots on and off throughout the afternoon and evening. I went to bed. Woke up early the next morning to essentially have a repeat performance of the previous day.
This time, I decided to just call the on-call doctor for my OB group and see what he thought. He told me they could check me out in the office that morning. The ultrasound showed that this time, the clot was almost entirely gone, cervix closed, and the baby seemed to be doing well. I was hoping – again – things would slow down and maybe if the SCH was truly resolving, I could look forward to a bit easier road going forward.
By evening, however, the bleeding had turned from brown to red. I think at this point, it may simply be where clots have pulled away and opened up some blood vessels again. So for now, I’m just watching, resting, and waiting.