Friday, October 18, 2013

Flashback - An Unexpected Hospital Visit

So remember how, after our Mexico Incident, I said I just wanted a boring, nondescript pregnancy from then on out? Well, the pregnancy gods granted me that wish. I was feeling calm, happy, healthy and just….good.

Until this morning. I woke up feeling a bit of wetness in my underwear and laid there for awhile thinking it was probably nothing, but finally a nagging feeling in the back of my head convinced me maybe my water had broke, so I got up to check. Now, if my water had broken, it would have been unexpected, as I’m still two weeks from due date and nowhere near ready for this baby to come, but it would have been fine. No big deal. We would have grabbed a few things and then made our way to the birth center.

But it wasn’t amniotic fluid. It was blood. Again. More than there should have been. As in, this wasn’t “bloody show,” this looked like a moderate period. Every time I wiped.

Before I woke B up, I just sat there with this feeling of disbelief and anger that this was happening again. Right when I was feeling so wonderful and calm and ready for labor and then, this. So, I woke B up and set him to work looking for cell chargers, etc, and I called the midwife on call. It was the same midwife who answered my middle of the night phone call from Mexico. I am not kidding when I say I was having real flashbacks to that trauma. She listened for a second and then said, “Ok, take a deep breath. You need to go to the ER.” I knew she was going to say that. That much blood can never be ignored. Even when you are 38 weeks along. But I wasn’t prepared for what she said next – “Are you feeling the baby move?

Oh my god. No. I wasn’t. But of course, I had just woken up. I had no idea if he’d been moving or what was going on with him. But suddenly I was terrified. The words placental abruption kept flashing behind my eyes. So, I grabbed a jug of orange juice (as instructed) and jumped in the car, chugging OJ as we sped along empty streets of Santa Monica, breaking every traffic law along the way.

And guess what? He moved. He moved 3 times on the way. Thank god.

So, to make a really long story short shortish, we got into Labor and Delivery, tumbled through the confusion of our midwife-out-of-hospital-birth situation and finally got them our back up OB’s number. They hooked me up to a contraction monitor and fetal heart rate monitor, briefly checked my bleeding, told me I wasn’t hemorrhaging, and then left us to wait for the doctor.

I have to say…as someone who is planning an out of hospital birth with minimal interventions, I definitely was LOVING the heart rate monitor at that moment. B and I both closed our eyes and just let his heart rate soothe us. It was so nice to hear his heart beat accelerate nicely as he’d move, or kick the monitor on my stomach.

Finally, the doctor showed up. Now, this is a “back up doctor.” Not someone I have a real relationship with, just someone who does ultrasounds and is willing to meet us at the hospital in a “just in case” scenario. Such as a scenario where you are awoken at 5am by sudden bleeding.

She doesn’t have the best bedside manner, but she is straightforward and to the point. She started with a cervical check. Holy shit. That hurt. The nurse helped me breathe through it, but the doctor looked nonplussed as if she was just digging around looking for the toy in the bottom of a cereal box. The verdict? Only “1-2 cms dilated.” She couldn’t even be specific about which it was? I was only having minor contractions as well, so I clearly wasn’t in labor.

However, after staring at the blood on her gloved hand (again flashback to the cervical check in Mexico), she muttered, “Get me an ultrasound machine. I need to get the placenta.” Remember, I had originally had a marginal placenta previa, which had cleared itself up by our 28 week ultrasound. When she checked today, she said that it was clearly out of the way of the baby’s head and not classified as “previa,” but was still “low.” I was frustrated because she was really wishy washy and wouldn’t (or couldn’t) say if that was the cause of bleeding or how that could affect my birth plan to have an out of hospital birth.

She did throw around the “C word” way too much for our comfort. Talking about if it were a previa, then we would need a c-section. But when I continually clarified that it isn’t a previa, she said confirmed that it wasn’t. Her concern is that, as I start to dilate, my cervix could extend up and past the placenta. But she wasn’t sure. Again, I was so frustrated because the perinatologist we saw at 28 weeks was easily able to measure from my cervix to my placenta and give me a straightforward answer that there was plenty of room for a vaginal birth. She wouldn’t do that.

So now, here I am. Waiting. Waiting for answers. Waiting for labor. Waiting to know.

Monday morning we go in to see this doctor again for another ultrasound and to discuss more. That afternoon we will meet with the midwife to discuss the doctor’s appt. And basically, we will go from there. In the meantime, if I start bleeding again, or go into labor before we know more, it looks like I will be having a hospital birth for sure.

At this point, I don’t know what to think. Part of me wants to throw the whole birth center idea out the window. Who cares about birthing in a beautiful birth suite? Who cares about laboring in a luxurious tub? Who cares about having respectful, caring, supportive midwives tending to me during labor? I just want everything to be safe.

But on the other hand, I remember the perinatologist telling us that I may have bleeding again in the pregnancy and that’s no big deal and not a risk to the baby and that the placenta was just fine. I trusted him way more than I trust this other doctor, who seemed so ambiguous in her responses. Also, the midwife said, as long as the baby isn’t at risk (this was confirmed that he’s not), we could always just go to the hospital during labor if I started bleeding, just like we did today.

So I don’t know what to think. My two sides are battling it out again. Really and truly I’m just scared if I go to the hospital, I will end up with a cesarean. The doctor kept saying how “great” it was that the OR was so close. And that really is true. As long as it’s really needed. I just don’t want to jump to any conclusions here.

The truth is…no one seems to know. No one has a clear answer for me. So for now, we are just focusing on the fact that the baby is doing wonderfully and they sent me home from the hospital. Everything, for now, is ok.

I will keep you posted as I think more, decide more, and plan more. I am currently not on bed rest, but was told to take it really easy over the weekend because we don’t want labor to start yet as we are still unsure what is going on. I have no idea if we are anywhere near labor starting, but I definitely feel very different than I have in the past week. It started yesterday because I woke up feeling so sick and tired and nauseous and that ended up going off and on all day. Then, obviously, the bleeding, which the doctor said could be a reaction to my cervix dilating. And now I’m having way more cramping and contractions that I would have previously called Braxton Hicks and now I just call “uncomfortable.” Oh, and I had diarrhea this morning (TMI?) which could just be a reaction to all of the stress, or could be a sign of my body “clearing out” for labor. Who knows. Until then, I’ll keep monitoring the minor spotting still going on, try to stay calm, and do some soul searching about how I feel about my birthing options.

Oh, and wouldn’t you know, it was on my List yesterday to pack a hospital bag and then I got sick and didn’t do it. So…I’m thinking that would be a good thing to get done this weekend.


  1. Everything crossed for a peaceful weekend. Also just going to pack that hospital bag tomorrow. Just, y'know, in case... ;)

  2. Oh no! I'm so sorry you have to go through all this. I hope the appointments on Monday give you the information you need to make the best decision for you and your family.

    Thinking of you!

  3. Oh dear, I'm so sorry you're going through this stress and unknown. Glad to hear baby is fine. Sending lots of positive thoughts and care to you, B, and baby.

  4. Thinking of you - sounds horrendous. Will be watching out for your next update.

  5. Praying for you. Glad you're back home and baby is doing well!

  6. This is terrifying! I'm so sorry that you don't have more answers right now. But I'm also glad that you're at home and baby is doing well. Just hang in there, friend! I'll be looking for your update!

  7. What a frightening experience - I hope you are able to get more answers on Monday. Thinking of you!

  8. I also had "pack a hospital bag" on my list. Didn't get to it until I was running out the door to the hospital. Then I ended up not using anything except my toothbrush.
    I hope you don't end up giving birth at the hospital. Only because it sounds like your backup OB isn't so hot. Sounds like she would be looking to cover her own ass and try to get you to do a c-section. Hope you get some answers tomorrow.

  9. Oh I am so sorry for this scare--- but, baby O is fine and that is the most important thing. I hope you are able to get more answers, but think of safety first.
    Is a vaginal birth at the hospital a possibility at all? With your midwifes as support at least during labor, hopefully through it all? I would prefer to be *already* at the hospital (where all the monitors are!), just in case.

  10. So sorry for all this stress, and so close to the end of your pregnancy! What a relief though that the baby is doing well.

    I truly hope that you get the birth that you hoped for. But really, I am wishing you a healthy delivery and a healthy baby, and I am sending warm thoughts your way.

  11. I'm sorry that you had to have yet another bleeding scare. After your visit to the ER in Mexico you really should have had an uneventful pregnancy otherwise. I hope this weekend was also uneventful!!


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