On the morning of Tuesday, October 19, my alarm clock went off at its usual time, 7:35 a.m. I hit the snooze button twice that morning, one time more than normal, having decided to take my time and go into the office late that day. “You’ve earned it,” I told myself. “You worked long and hard yesterday. You deserve a break.” I finally dragged myself out of bed at 10 after, not knowing that the extra 30 minutes I had taken to rest that morning would also be the last 30 minutes of my perfectly normal pregnancy.
Up to that moment, the only words in our pregnancy vocabulary had been simple ones like excellent, great, perfect and normal. I couldn’t possibly imagine that in just a few hours, we would be replacing those words with new, scarier ones like high-risk, complete previa, early delivery and bedrest.
I can remember almost every detail of what happened next. Walking to the bathroom, lifting the toilet lid, beginning to undress and discovering the shocking amounts of blood and fluid. A wave of panic washed over me as I screamed for my husband before fleeing to the bedroom, pants left behind, to find my phone and the doctor’s phone number. I called for Ebin again, the panic in my voice rising as I realized I had yet to feel my baby moving that day. I felt something slip below and ran back to the bathroom, just in time for a large, red clot to fall to the floor beside my abandoned pants.
My hands shook as I called the doctor, my voice trembled as I spoke to the answering service, begging them to have the doctor call me as soon as possible. I hung up the phone and grabbed onto my husband (my rock).
“I can’t feel him moving,” I screamed. “I can’t feel him.”
An eternity passed but the clock said only minutes had gone by. I grabbed a new pair of underwear and my pants from the bathroom floor and called the doctor again. As the phone rang, I told Ebin to get dressed. The service answered again but this time patched me through to the doctor’s cell phone. She spoke with a calm, clear voice, telling me to get to hospital as quickly as possible.
“Is my baby going to be okay,” I asked her, desperate for her to say something reassuring.
All she could answer was, “That’s what we’re going to find out.”
The ride to the hospital was long, hindered by morning rush hour traffic, but I was strangely calm. The tears were gone, as was the panic, and I was even able to relate to our mothers the morning’s events. Somehow I knew that,no matter the outcome, we would be okay. We were in the hands of God and that was all that mattered.
As we were pulling off the interstate and onto the packed exit, I started to feel the baby moving inside me. His kicks and jabs were an immediate reassurance as my only fear to that point had been that we had lost him. Once I knew he was okay, at least in that moment, I could feel my entire body relax. Ten minutes later, we were in the hospital parking lot, climbing the steps to the emergency room.
The waiting area was vacant. We walked to the check in desk and explained the situation to the man behind the counter. A few minutes later, he was wheeling me through the hospital to Labor and Delivery, where to doctor and nurse were waiting for me in triage.
The doctor performed an ultrasound, confirming the healthy status of our boy, showing me his chubby cheeks and introducing us to the term placenta previa. I would come to find out later what that would mean for the rest of this pregnancy but in that moment, all I could think about was that boy and those cheeks.
What followed is pretty standard. They admitted me for observation, hooked me up to monitors, and used my poor dehydrated veins for some kind of sick target practice. Four blowouts, some heavy bruising and nerve damage later, a kindly anesthesiologist used some local anesthetic and a smaller needle to successfully thread the IV. I spent the next 36 hours unable to leave the most uncomfortable bed you could possibly imagine. We met some new doctors, including our new high risk consultant and a neonatologist. I made a plan to see the consultant four weeks later and told the neonatologist I hoped to never see him again. I received two steroid injections to help the baby develop (just in case), ate some truly terrible food, and used the remainder of my time to attempt to figure out what could possibly have gone wrong.
The doctor said there is no way of knowing what caused the bleed that day. I think it has something to do with pushing myself too hard for too long at work the day before. Someone mentioned it could have been lifting the box of cat litter at Target the previous Saturday. Others felt like, given the complete nature of the previa and the position of the placenta, it was only a matter of time.
Regardless of the cause, I still can’t believe how quickly everything changed. I find it difficult to wrap my head around the fact that one day I was a normal, happy pregnant woman planning a natural birth for her Christmas baby and the very next day I turned into a woman stuck on bedrest due to pregnancy complications hoping for a 37 week C-Section and praying that an emergency situation didn’t warrant the surgery sooner.
We’ve been at this for two weeks now though at times I feel as though I have been trapped in this house, on this couch, for ages. Many tears have been shed as I work through the very complex emotions involved in living your life laying down. Fear, loss, sadness and resentment are frequent visitors, though I can say they are making shorter and shorter visits as time progresses. Ebin has been my hero and my constant support and for that I love him more than he knows. The baby is strong and healthy and ACTIVE. His sharp little kicks are sometimes the only thing that keep me going.
No one can say for sure how much time I have left as a second bleed could happen at anytime but we’re hoping and praying to keep him cooking for a least another five weeks. Thirty five days. 840 hours. 50,400 minutes. That doesn’t seem so long.