15 weeks pregnant
The last few days have been a whirlwind of anxiety. It began on Saturday afternoon when I visited the bathroom and found blood upon wiping. Brown blood; therefore old blood, but blood all the same. I felt a wave of fear go through me. Please no. Since I’d had spotting a few weeks previously I decided to try to remain calm and hope it was a one off incident as it had been last time. So much easier said than done though.
Matthew and I went out to the supermarket to get dinner and as soon as we arrived I visited the bathroom again, to monitor the situation. More brown spotting. Only this time, there was a reddish tint to it. I felt my blood turn cold and fear gripped at my heart. Please, please not again. I told Matthew and we left straight away so we could try to contact someone. Since I’ve only just returned to this area permanently, I don’t yet have a community midwife so had to call the hospital directly. After calling the Antenatal ward and being told they didn’t deal with pregnancies until 17 weeks, we were advised to go to A&E.
Sitting in the waiting room at A&E was enough in itself to trigger my anxiety. I find hospitals really unsettling and somber places to be. They’re filled with the sick, the frail, the broken. I visited the bathroom again… Reddish brown with what looked like small clots… My heartbeat was in my mouth. Please, please don’t let me lose this baby too.
We were seen by one of the nurses who took my blood pressure, a urine sample and asked me some questions. She queried why I had been put on blood thinning injections, seeming to suggest I shouldn’t be on them at all which just increased my already-high levels of anxiety. She eventually referred me to the gynocolony department to be assessed.
When we arrived at the gynocology department we were ushered to a small ward and left to wait for a doctor. Four and a half hours we waited to be seen. I felt completely terrified and the situation felt exacerbated by being cooped up in the hospital room which made me feel claustrophobic, isolated and helpless. It triggered so many memories of my hospital visits around the time we lost Nieve and towards the last half hour of our wait I could feel my anxiety building and beginning to spill over into a panic attack.
When the doctor finally arrived she examined me externally and internally to assess my condition. The bleeding hadn’t increased thankfully and from the internal examination, the doctor concluded that the bleeding wasn’t coming from my cervix, or at least not any more. This was a good sign and the doctor surmised that the incident was probably hormone related. I didn’t feel relieved. While the spotting was still continuing I felt terrified.
There was nobody available to offer me an ultrasound nor was I offered one. I wish now that I had insisted, even though that meant returning on a different day, but by this time I was exhausted and totally emotionally drained and the doctor seemed happy to send me on my way.
We’d been at the hospital over five hours but I still couldn’t eat a thing when we got out. My stomach was still in a knot of fear. That night I was haunted by nightmares of miscarrying and woke intermidetttly to check for bleeding. I just couldn’t rest. The spotting continued and as long as it was present I felt like a frightened animal on high alert, being stalked by its predator.
In the morning I called the Early Pregnancy Unit to seek advice on the ongoing spotting and to see if I could organise a scan. They told me they didn’t accept self referrals and I would need a doctor to refer me but it being the Sunday of a Bank Holiday weekend this didn’t look promising. She suggested I could go to A&E…I felt so exasperated. My baby isn’t important until I’m at least 17 weeks pregnant it seemed. I just felt so helpless and stuck.
I continued to monitor the spotting and was relieved to find it seemed to be stopping. As the day wore on, the spotting seemed to ease up completely and by this morning it had totally ceased. I exhaled for the first time in two days.
I’m happy to report that I haven’t had any more signs of bleeding today. I only hope that the doctor was right when she said it was hormone related and not the sign of anything more sinister. It’s so difficult at this point because I cannot feel baby moving to know s/he is alright. It feels like all I really have is blind faith that this baby is ok and that faith is rocked by a haunted past.
A few months back, I read Amanda Holden’s autobiography in which she described her pregnancy after her own tragic stillbirth. I specifically remember how she spoke of how much reasssurance she was given throughout her subsequent pregnancy and how her ‘midwives were always on hand to scan her for reassurance’ whenever she was concerned. This is how I imagined pregnancy after stillbirth to be. I imagined I’d be given priority by the NHS, but the fact is I’m still ‘just another pregnancy’, just another patient to be seen. I’m not Amanda Holden. I’m not rich and I don’t have celebrity status. The lack of significance I have terrifies me. I can’t just demand an ultrasound scan whenever I feel anxious.
So what now? I’m left feeling unnerved by the lack of control I have in this pregnancy and I feel a little bit like this baby and I are on our own. If I encounter any more spotting, then what? Another five hour ordeal in A&E? I’m also daunted by the fact that I’ll be away from Matt during the week for the next two months, so any more scares like this one I’ll have to handle on my own. That feels like a very scary prospect indeed.
I think what is clear is that I need the support of a good midwife. Tomorrow I’m joining a new Doctor’s surgery and hoping to be a assigned to a midwife in this area. I can only hope s/he is supportive and sensitive to my situation but it really does just feel like luck of the draw as I can’t pick and change.
Oh to be Amanda Holden…