The Scare

September 30th, 2009

So I’ve been keeping a secret from you lovely people. While this is just the sort of thing I’d typically air on this site to ease my own stress, it was something I couldn’t say out loud for fear of what might actually happen.

We’re going to back up, four whole weeks, for me to tell this story. I will also warn that it’s going to be a bit “graphic” in the “gynecological” department – so if you and I share DNA or you simply don’t want to hear it, then we look forward to having you back here soon!

We had gone to our very first sonogram, August 31, the start of week six. The ultrasounds I received at the clinic were all done vaginally, and at the end of this one I bled on the table. It caught Dr. T off guard, as well as Shelton and I, but it wasn’t too concerning as I’d had mild spotting since the embryo transfer. I went home, and by mid-afternoon I was full-on bleeding. Scared to death of course, I called “M” and she advised not to use any tampons and to return the next morning for a follow-up.

(Yes, I had to be told not to use a tampon. How was I supposed to know? The doctor’s sticking things in there, what’s wrong w/ stopping stuff from coming out?! I haven’t used a pad since my senior year of high school because I honestly can’t think of anything more disgusting and foul. If you use them, more power to you. So I didn’t even have one in the house, much less that at the forefront of my mind. Shuddderrrrr!)

So I returned the next morning for a second sonogram and what the doctor found made my insides turn as cold as ice, instantly. On the screen, next to my teeny tiny baby, was a big daunting clot. There was a blood clot in my uterus measuring about 4.5 cm by 2.5 cm, roughly. He couldn’t explain it, said I wasn’t the first to have one, and said that we’d need to just wait this out. There was far more risk involved with going after it than playing the waiting game. He also said the two words that render Shelton and I paralyzed: Threatened Miscarriage. I’ve never before experienced a feeling where all the air had been knocked out of my body, and yet I suddenly had more space to fill within my chest cavity than ever before. I literally had one of those slow-motion movie moments where the scene holds still but you drift out of it and watch everything get smaller.

What in the hell is a threatened miscarriage and why are you saying it to me?!

It basically meant that my body was, as the name implies, threatening to miscarry. He explained that the uterus naturally doesn’t like having visitors and it was kind of building up its defenses.

Dr. T explained that best-case scenario I’d have to basically let the clot drain, it would go away on its own, and we’d forget all about this. Worst-case scenario was that I’d pass the clot and as it exited the uterus it may shave off the side of the placenta and well, that would be that.

Shelton wasn’t able to be at this appointment so I’m trying to absorb every word Dr. T is saying so that I can regurgitate all of this to him. I looked Dr. T in the eyes and asked if he thought I should be worried, and he said not now. And that was good enough for me. Call it my new-found motherly instincts or who knows what, but I used that to keep my head for the past four weeks. (Yes, this story goes for four weeks.) If he wasn’t worried, I didn’t have to be.

I went to Shelton’s office, gave him the news, and watched him turn white. And Shelton’s a pasty, translucent red-head, so watching him turn white means he was invisible. I spent five minutes trying to remember the “threatened miscarriage” term and when I finally remembered I just spit it out like those words wouldn’t have any affect on him. Oh, the look on his face. As fast as an auctioneer I was sputtering be calm, and don’t worry, and Dr. T said it’s OK, and anything else I could do to prevent him from passing out on the sidewalk.

The bleeding continued, I tried to remain positive, and we returned for a follow-up six days later. No change. Clot was in the same spot, the same size. The good news was that the baby seemed unfazed.

I would go on to have five sonograms over the course of weeks 6, 7 and 8. And in the final sonogram, in which we were released from the fertility clinic, we finally saw a change. The clot had shrunk to about half its size, the baby still seemed completely unaffected by its neighbor, and all of this was good enough for Dr. T to tell us it would resolve itself and send us on our way.

This started week six, and we’re now in week ten, and the spotting at this point has become incredibly faint, I would almost dare say completely gone. As reported at my first OB appointment, the baby’s heart is up to a raging 176bpm – and that sounds like we’re coming out on the other side of this thing with a growing, healthy baby!

Nothing has ever rocked me to my core harder and faster than the news of that clot. I didn’t put myself on bed rest, nor did the doctor, but I did take it very, very easy these past four weeks. We canceled trips out of town, bypassed evening walks, avoided errands I didn’t have to take, didn’t lift anything larger than a milk jug. If my doctor’s reading this, he’s probably laughing because I probably took it to the extreme like he told me I didn’t have to; but I just couldn’t have on my shoulders that I REALLY wanted to carry those groceries to the car, and well, now I’ve realized my worst nightmare.

My OB (Dr. W) didn’t appear concerned at all with the news of the clot and the bleeding, and as everything has pretty much stopped, I’m taking that as a good sign.

I once heard a terrible “man joke” that you shouldn’t trust anything that bleeds for seven days and doesn’t die. Well, I’m telling you that I did for more than a month, and not only did I not die, but I could have kicked some ass during that time with all the adrenaline and stress surging through my body.

I’m rounding out the end of my first trimester and I will never be so glad to get to the second and get out of these uncertain woods.