Monday, December 17, 2012

One Year Ago Today: An ER Visit

One year ago today, my Saturday began relatively uneventfully. In pregnancy terms, it was a milestone: 12 weeks, 1 day! All the books assured me that life as an expectant mama was smooth sailing after the twelfth week. I would feel energetic and vivacious; food would smell and taste good again. The latter part was debunked as soon as I got out of bed, and as the day wore on, so was the former. But I was excited about 12 weeks for a different reason: the risk of complications was supposed to drop drastically as well. Although we'd already announced my pregnancy after the first ultrasound, I still felt that I could breathe a sigh of relief at having made it to 12 weeks. If I'd known what was in store for us, I'm sure I would have held my breath until I passed out!

As I headed out to my car after work, I suddenly realized something was not right. I was bleeding. Fear and panic welled up inside me. What could possibly be going on? Will the babies be okay? I called Dan, weeping as I explained what had happened. He told me I needed to call the doctor, so I dialed the number for my doctor's office. I hadn't seen my OB/GYN during my pregnancy, so I figured I should call my regular doctor first. A few phone calls later, I finally spoke with the on-call OB for the evening, who told me I should be seen as soon as possible to find out what was going on. She seemed encouraged by the fact that I wasn't in pain, although I was bleeding profusely. I tried to tell myself that maybe everything was okay, but I couldn't muster much conviction.

In my initial panic, I'd planned to head straight to the ER from work, not thinking that OF COURSE my husband would want to come with me. After a quick detour to pick him up, we found ourselves in the ER waiting room. Despite it being a Saturday evening, we barely had time to choose a place to sit before my name was called. The immediacy with which we found ourselves in the triage room renewed my panic. The EMT helping to check us in smirked when I explained the situation, and I had to suppress a strong urge to scream at him. Then he and the nurse both left the room, and we were alone. I panicked again. Dan reassured me that everything would be okay, although I'm sure he didn't really believe what he was saying.

The rest of the evening passed in something of a blur. I was taken into a room and told to undress; a nurse came in, then a doctor. They examined me and decided I needed to have an ultrasound, since the Doppler heartrate monitor would not be able to distinguish between the two babies so early in gestation. Despite my panic, I felt a thrill at getting to see my babies. The thrill quickly turned to anger as I snapped back to reality just in time to hear that Dan wouldn't be allowed in the room with me. We frantically dug my phone out so I could communicate with him, and I found myself being wheeled down a maze of hallways.

The ultrasound tech was young and sweet, and very sympathetic to my plight. She quickly arranged her equipment and began the first scan. I felt my stomach drop as the image appeared on the screen - but there was movement! I was so thrilled, I almost forgot to text Dan as I watched the tiny bodies kicking and wiggling furiously. I suddenly knew exactly how Mary had felt when she found out Jesus had risen from the dead. Overcome with gratitude, I prayed fervently that the tech wouldn't find anything wrong.

After nearly an hour and a half of scanning, the tech announced she'd gotten all the measurements from the babies she needed. I found myself rolling through the hallways once more. After what seemed like an hour, the doctor came back in to tell me he really didn't think I had anything to be concerned about. He explained that I had a blood clot around the placenta causing all the bleeding, and that he really didn't know what would happen. He seemed confident that activity wouldn't have any effect, and told me to rest if I felt like it but otherwise go back to life as normal. He added that if I did start hemorrhaging again, I needed to come back immediately because I might need a blood transfusion. He told me to follow up with my doctor at my appointment on Monday.

Fear began to compete with the gratitude. Just when everything was supposed to be okay, something terrible was happening. Worst of all, even the doctor didn't seem to think there was anything we could do. Dan squeezed my hand as we walked out the door to our car, telling me it would be okay. I still wasn't sure he believed it. The drive home was excruciating. We stopped for dinner - meals had been forgotten in the chaos - and we talked about how tiny the babies' arms and legs had looked on the ultrasound screen. I couldn't help but wonder if I'd ever get to see them grow large enough to enter the world. For the first time since my positive pregnancy test, I was grateful for exhaustion - I don't think I could have slept that night, nor the next, without it.

1 comment:

  1. That must have been so scary. With each of my pregnancies I've had to see specialists to check out my babies' hearts (husband had a heart attack at a very very young age). My first daughter was fine, but the the second the doctor said he noticed something that after birth would probably require heart surgery. Very scary. We were blessed though and she was born healthy as can be.

    I'm stopping by from the GFC Blog Hop, and am now a new follower.
    Happy Holidays!