Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Scariest Scare

I must start with a few warnings. One, this story is graphic. To respect that some of you may want to know the gist of what happened without all the gory details, I'm going to put all the "gross" or graphic things in italics. If you don't wish to read those things, skim over them for just the basics. Two, for anyone who has experienced pregnancy loss, this may be a trigger story, though everything worked out in the end. Third, this was the best AND worst day of my entire life. Without a doubt.

Monday morning, I woke up feeling all sweaty. My shorts clung to my legs uncomfortably, and I tried to ignore it and doze back off to sleep, not really wanting to start the day yet. (Why are beds so much more comfortable in the morning than they are at night?!) I reached down to pull the material away from my skin, and was a little surprised just how "sweaty" I was. My hand.... was covered in blood. Confused, I threw the covers off, and looked down, and was horrified to find my entire side of the bed saturated in blood. My clothes, my body, my bed... the amount of blood was unreal. I literally pinched my arm wondering if I was having a nightmare... surely this kind of scene didn't happen in real life! I got up and ran to the bathroom, at this point still not entire sure where it even came from because I felt completely fine!
I peeled off the bloody clothes, and my heart completely dropped when I realized where it was all coming from. Inside me.
I sat on the toilet, still bleeding heavily. With every gush of blood, I felt all the happiness and excitement of this pregnancy leave with it. I felt something quite large pass, and heard it plop in the toilet. I have read several times over that any time you're pregnant and pass any kind of solid or clot matter to collect it to bring into the OB with you. I tried to see what it was, but by this time the toilet water was dark red with blood, so I had to fish it out. It was a deep red mass, about the size of a medium russet potato, and the exact texture and density of liver. I dropped it in the sink, and just stared at my blood covered hands. Listening to the blood, still pouring, my entire body was overwhelmed with sadness as I sobbed. I turned to wash my hands in the sink and call Jon. Between how crazy the bleeding was, and the size of the clot thing...
I had no doubt, I was losing our baby. It was over. Everything I had ever read the last three and a half years, the bleeding, the passing of a solid mass so big, it was nearly textbook miscarriage, minus cramps. I had no cramps at all, but I also felt SO empty and disconnected from my physical body I began to question if I was cramping and just not feeling the physical pain. I called Jon at work. It was about 8:45am at this point. I never call him at work, he didn't answer, but immediately text me "Everything ok?" Of course he had NO way of knowing what was going on. An hour earlier when he left for work I was fine. But, for some reason sitting, looking at those words... it seemed like the most ridiculous question anyone had ever asked me in my entire life. I couldn't text back, I called and he answered right away. I told him I was bleeding bad, that I was losing the baby, and needed him to come home right this minute. I told him about the bed, and that the bleeding wouldn't stop. He said he'd be here in 10 and hung up. What I didn't know, is he hadn't actually understood anything I had said, all he knew was he had to come home. So he was completely unprepared for the scene he was about to walk in on...
Sitting there, I felt so empty. A couple more clots passed, smaller than dime sized, and I have never felt more alone than in those moments. It was like nothing else would ever matter again. At a loss, I text my mom, and she called right away. I didn't know if I needed to talk, or what I even needed to say, I think I was just grasping at straws trying not to feel so alone and numb. I told her what happened, and asked who I should call, where I should go. I was super light headed by this point and was afraid to stand up by myself because I was so dizzy. I couldn't think of the name of the OB I saw year before last, or even the name of the clinic to google a phone number, so she called my sister to get it and Jon got home.
He walked in the bathroom, and had to take in the scene. The amount of blood everywhere was overwhelming... and he hadn't even seen the bed yet. Not realizing he hadn't heard what I told him on the phone, I could tell he was overwhelmed by what he saw. I couldn't find words. I just sobbed, and kept telling him I was sorry. He is just as excited about this baby as I am and though I now I'm obviously more "involved" at this stage in the game, being the one carrying the baby and all, it is HIS child too, just as much as mine. This was his loss too, not just mine. He held me as I sobbed.
At some point, I went into "deal-with-it" mode. There were things that had to be done, there were sheets and clothes that needed to get in the washer, there was a call to the OB to make. Unfortunately, I was so dizzy and light headed, I was useless for all of it. I told Jon he needed to strip the bed. He seemed a little confused, since he didn't know about the disastrous mess in the bedroom, he was, again, shocked to find yet more blood.
He threw everything in the washer, and helped me get upstairs. I wanted to be able to lay back a little, and ended up laying in the bathtub, trying to drink some Gatorade, because I was super dehydrated and water just hasn't gone down well this pregnancy at all. At all. Jon also called the doctor. They could get me in in about two hours. For those two hours, I cried, I searched the internet for ANY kind of hope, ANY kind of story of bleeding this heavy, and passing masses, and things turning out OK. I just wanted some kind of hope to cling onto, some kind of chance that what I knew wasn't the case. By the time it was time to go, I had still come up empty handed. Feeling defeated, Jon helped me get dressed, and we were off.
After we got checked in, I was looking around at the other patients: another couple very obviously excited to be there... a woman with the most perfectly round belly literally sitting there, smiling, a mom with a toddler who kept rubbing her belly, excited for their babies. And then me and Jon, sitting in silence, hands clasped, trying to wipe the tears away as quickly as they escaped my eyes. It seemed like we waited forever, but I know it was only about ten minutes. They took my weight, blood pressure, asked about some dates, what symptoms I'd been having, and about the bleeding. The look on the nurse's face was telling, she thought it was every bit as hopeless as I did. Her eyes were full of pity as she told me she was so sorry, and that this was the hardest part of doing what she does.
She took us into a room with a ultrasound machine and a huge TV on the wall. I turned to Jon... I did not want to see our baby without a heartbeat. I didn't want to see what was lost. The thought made me sick. I was already so attached, so in love, I couldn't bare the thought of having that image in my head.
The OB came in. I was still crying, I gave him the very cliff notes version of what happened, and he said he wanted to take a look and just see what exactly we are dealing with before making any final decisions.
He put the gel on my tummy, I turned my head, closed my eyes, tears streaming down my face. It wasn't fair. I had imagined this moment a million times- when we see our baby for the first time. It wasn't supposed to be like this. I felt hopeless.
"You're going to have to open your eyes eventually so why don't you take a look at your strong, wiggly baby."
I looked at the screen, in COMPLETE shock. There was our baby, wiggling and dancing across the screen. Two arms, two legs, we could even count five toes on one foot, saw a strong, healthy heartbeat. There was no denying that baby was VERY much alive and well. It was the most incredible feeling I've ever experienced. I didn't know THAT kind of unconditional love really existed. I didn't know I could feel even more attached to this baby than I already had.

I kept saying "but there was so much blood... and that clot thing... how is this possible? How could it be? What matters is the baby is fine. I'm fine. I'm still pregnant.
What the OB determined, is I have a very low placenta that likely WAS covering my cervix, which is pretty common in early pregnancy. It can cause spotting, which I've had... but some of that slow bleeding can be collecting, creating a clot that can be big or small. That's likely how that potato sized mass was formed. A placenta that covers the cervix USUALLY moves into place as pregnancy progresses, and either the placenta itself moving or some kind of movement I did can make that clot come dislodged. The only time it's a true risk is if part of the clot is behind the placenta, and detaches it with it, or if it stimulates contractions. Luckily this isn't (really) the case with mine.  Mine appears to have been just barely behind the edge of the placenta, and did pull just a tiny bit away with it. However, it's minor enough that with "taking it incredibly easy" for the next 4 weeks, he is confident it will heal up and the baby will be just fine. I'm taking his orders seriously: no going to work, ABSOLUTELY no lifting, nothing strenuous, lots of rest, LOTS of fluids, and stress management.

The whole experience made me realize that my priorities have been out of whack again. All of these things I've been stressing lately: I need to be at Ruff House more, my house needs to sell, we need to move, we need to make more money, we need to blah blah blah. NONE of it freaking matters. None of it. Ruff House is dong great, I hope my house sells, but you know what... until it does at least I have a dang home! And money is hardly important. What matters is family. Not necessarily just blood family... but family. That's what matters, and I'm so thankful for mine.
I'm thankful for my family, and that when I'm lower than low, I have an INCREDIBLE support system behind me. That, I have someone to call when I feel alone... lots of someones! I'm thankful for my husband, who was my ROCK through the whole thing even though he was hurting, too. He cleaned up the gross bloody mess. He called the doctor when I couldn't speak. He held my hand through the whole day.... through the tears and hopelessness, and then through those magical moments of seeing our baby for the first time. I'm thankful God is trusting us with the miracle of another life, that he's allowing this baby to be a part of our family.
I'm thankful for medicine and technology that allowed us to see that everything is going to be OK. I believe pregnancy and birth are generally not risky and are USUALLY best left alone and not treated like a medical emergency. We do still hope to have a homebirth with a midwife, as long as my appointment next month shows that everything is healed and normal... but I'm thankful that that technology exists, that the OPTION of birthing in a hospital is there.
 I'm just thankful. 

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