Scared? How about reasons to be scared? (Limbo. Limbo is happening)

Do you know what seeing blood in your underwear is like when you’re pregnant? It’s like being hit between the eyes with half a brick.

I was at work. I’d just finished a desk-shift, and beyond feeling a bit heart-burny and sick, also very tired (i.e. exactly as usual), nothing was bothering me. I went to the loo, as you do. I looked down at the crotch of my bright pink knickers. What was that mark? What was that mark? I wiped myself, and the paper came away smeared bright red. I stood up and looked in the bowl, and the water was stained with red swirls.

I sat down again, and briefly considered blacking out. But this was a cubicle in a public toilet regularly patronised by the sort of student who pees on the seat, and, well, no. No.

I sat there for minutes, trying desperately to work out what to do, while my heart rate very unhelpfully accelerated from ‘sitting on the loo’ to ‘run from tigers run run run run TIGERS‘. Eventually I managed to wrench my fevered brain into some sort of order and decided to go back to my desk, email my boss to let her know what was going on, and walk slowly and calmly up the road to the very-near-by enormous hospital, where I knew they had an EPU, on account of having checked all these things weeks ago in Paranoid All-Contingency Planning Mode. Paranoia doesn’t mean They aren’t out to get you, haha.

And that is what I did. With a wad of toilet-paper in my knickers. For the dignity.

To my almighty fucking rage, my mobile phone had absolutely no signal in the area (how does a network that boasts of being the biggest in Britain not have coverage at the centre of the major city? And it’s been like this for weeks. I am so annoyed, and now it’s personal). And H, poor lamb, had gone off at dawn for a day of meetings at the regional office a good couple of hours away. Ach, I thought, even if I do get hold of him, he won’t be able to hold my hand. I’ll go to the hospital, and keep trying H, and if it’s serious I’m sure I can get them to call him.

The EPU (Early Pregnancy Unit, that is) at Enormous Hospital doesn’t take self-referrals, so I knew I had to go to A&E (ER to you) first and get them to refer me (see? See? I’d checked everything). A&E were in the middle of having half the walls knocked down, of course, and being very busy, but the receptionists were calm and kind. I had a 30 minute wait for triage, surrounded by little old ladies who had fallen over, two other bleeding-in-early-pregnancy cases (we resolutely avoided each-others’ eyes), the standard local eccentric covered in blood and bruises, a toddler with concussion, people in slings, people having picnics, people having bitter spousal arguments in whispers, and one chap who fell theatrically to the ground while shrieking ‘I’m dying!’ down the phone to his mother (turned out to actually be called ‘I skipped breakfast and felt faint’).

I tried slow, deep breathing, but it did not work. The triage nurse was all ready to send me over to the EPU for a scan, but of course he had to check my blood-pressure and pulse. And my blood-pressure and pulse were still both at ‘run from the motherfucking tigers!’ levels. That’s just how I react to a threatened miscarriage. When I was losing Pikaia the triage nurse actually hauled me off for an ECG, my heart was hammering so. I told the nurse I usually had perfectly normal blood pressure and heart-rate, and this was just how I panic, but he shook his head and said the EPU wouldn’t take patients who weren’t ‘stable’ in the cardiovascular sense. And a resting pulse of 122 was not ‘stable’. So he was going to take me through to A&E and get a doctor to have a look at me.

Did I mention they were in the middle of renovations? There were no available cubicles at all. I and some few fellow patients were all popped on a row of chairs in a corridor right next to three men smashing a new doorway into the next corridor. This was not relaxing.

I don’t object to the long waits. It was a busy urban A&E, and there were people having heart attacks and car accidents and head injuries and seizures to deal with. The staff I did see were kind, and did take a mo to let me know they hadn’t forgotten me every now and then. The noise was appalling. The having to talk to nurses about urine samples (mine was full of blood, because I was actually still bleeding vaginally) and, err, vaginal bleeding, in a noisy corridor, next to a grumpy man in a hoodie with filthy feet and fingernails was not ideal, but hey, the cubicles were full of power-drills and boxes of saline, and/or people with limbs hanging off, so we all just lumped it and pretended not to be listening to each other. They checked my blood pressure and pulse a couple more times, in which I calmed down to almost normal pressure but my silly heart kept thundering away at over 100 bpm no matter how carefully and slowly I breathed. The nurse who checked my urine agreed that I was a) pregnant and b) bleeding, patted my hand, and told me a doctor would talk to me soon. Soon meant after an hour and a half, which actually is not too bad for a busy A&E, but said wait entirely failed to bore my heart into submission.

The doctor, who had a charming Germanic accent and a cheerful manner, eventually examined me in a store-cupboard in which a bed and a screen had been hastily jammed. He took a history, blenched slightly at all the miscarriages, was mildly confused by the variety of drugs I am on, but acknowledged he knew nothing about IVF, was alarmed by the history of endometriosis and adenomyosis (‘that is not so fun, nicht wahr?’), and even more alarmed when he felt my belly and found that idiotic monstrous bloater Cute Ute was the size of a fifteen to twenty week pregnancy already oh for the love of Christ. ‘Adenomyosis,’ I said.

‘You,’ he answered, ‘have been attacked by all the devils at once.’ And he patted my hand quite thoroughly.

And by the time all this had happened, it was too late to refer me to the EPU, which closed mid-afternoon, regardless of the stability of my sodding heart. And that, Gentle Readers, really did piss me off. I am still pissed off. I didn’t act pissed off, because the doctor was clearly doing his best and thought the EPU were being dicks, both about their opening hours and their arse-covering policies, and because after all I was not lying on the floor weeping in a pool of blood, so I clearly was not an emergency. The doctor wrote me a referral for a scan tomorrow morning, either at Enormous Hospital, or at my Local Hospital of PTSD, and told me to go home and put my feet up, unless the bleeding got worse or I developed bad cramps, or felt faint or dizzy or got a fever.

He then asked if I – he paused, looking at my nerdy teeshirt and loose jeans and bright red sneakers – if I had a partner. I said yes, and he said, carefully, ‘And your partner wants the baby too?’.

‘Very much. We’ve been trying since we got married.’

‘Good, good. Get her err them, your partner, to look after you. You need lots of rest.’

Bless the man. Bless him to bits. I smiled and said I would. I quite like being politely taken for a lesbian, you know (that’s why I dress like I dress, I guess) (but if H were a girl, like hell I’d be doing the Being Pregnant part of the relationship, as I am clearly utterly shit at it. Oh, for a spare and healthy uterus in this marriage!).

And then I and my unstable cardiovascular system and leaky toilet-paper-wadded reproductive equipment waddled off to find a pay-phone and ask H to come home and look after me.

By the time I got home, the bleeding had stopped, and I am now doing brown spotting. I have not had any bad cramps (slight constant cramps being my modus operandi since I discovered I was pregnant) or any other alarming symptoms. But I spent the evening with my feet up anyway, and we got pizza.

Poor H. When he got home he was paper-white, cold to the touch all over, and absolutely clammy with sweat. I don’t suppose his cardiovascular system was entirely stable either.

I am going to call Riverside in a minute and ask their advice. Given that Scary Symptoms have stopped, I’d rather avoid PTSD Hospital and just go for my planned scan tomorrow, if everyone agrees it is safe and reasonable to do so. But I am not going to work today. Bother work.

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32 responses to “Scared? How about reasons to be scared? (Limbo. Limbo is happening)

  • Robyn

    Far Canal! Holding my breath along with you both and hoping like hell it is the kind of spotting that lots of perfectly normal pregnancies, like one of mine, throw at you just to terrify you for kicks. Sorry it’s happening, hope by now the scan is reassuring and you are halfway through a great book, and yes, sod work.

  • carole

    Oh God. Yes, we all know that bleeding happens in pregnancy, that it doesn’t have to mean anything sinister, blaady blaady blah, but not THIS pregnancy. Nada on the the blood, Cute Ute, we don’t care if you’ve just worked out you should be having a period just about now. Get over yourself!

    But very excellent news that it’s stopped and that cramping is nothing out of the ordinary. Everything crossed for you and I hope Riverside just move your scan up to today to save a bit of worrying time. Keep us posted.

  • chon

    Oh my heart has stopped. I am sure all will be fine, bleeding is so common in ivf pregnancies xx

    • valery

      And cursing feedly for making commenting impossible

      • valery

        Anyway, Fear is a Thing, and spotting is a terrifying Thing. The heart rate should have given you an Immediate scan, as clearly needed. Hope the raisin is holding on. I know we don’t know. Hope this is still the Beginning, not the beginning of the end.
        I know it doesn’t help, but my embryos survived the 6 week spotting. With a day of tears,( and weeks of fear).
        Holding your hand, and Hs.

  • Mina

    Oh, the fuck with stupid policies!! I hope the scan reveals that it was just a prank cute ute pulled for shits and giggles, a little SCH to spice things up. The fact that the bleeding stopped relatively soon is good. It is very scary, but it happens more often than it should. I had bleeding and spotting until the second trimester with George. Thinking of you.

  • Betttina

    Oh, May. I am praying so hard for you.

    At 5w2d, I had a great ultrasound and got to see my little blob of a baby (and incidentally, that is when the doctor predicted her due date and she must have heard him because that is exactly when she arrived and babies don’t come on their due dates, ANYWAY.)
    At 5w3d, I was giving a presentation at work at 9 am, felt something, looked down and blood was running down my legs from my calf-length skirt. I emailed the secretary, who told my boss, who came to get me and took me to my car and OH it was scary.
    I went back to my IVF doctor, he checked me again, I went home to bed for the day and it was all okay. Maybe we endo girls just bleed? I don’t know. I am praying hard for you.

  • Twangy

    Oh May. I so hope that by now you are reassured. How frightening.

  • Hat

    PTSD Hospital??? Post Traumatic Stress Disorder hospital???? – I don’t know if any of us had normal heart rate reading this post. So scary. I have no way to relate except my sister had one a couple years ago. her lesson learned – no nookie. but doubt you are in mood to do so anyways. – but this may not be helpful. i’ll just shut up now. Hope it turns out to be nothing serious. just keep reminding yourself some people have their “period” the whole pregnancy.

  • Sheila

    Desperately hoping its just a scare mongering SCH…… I had one of those and Riverside were so lovely to me about it. I called them and they scanned me that afternoon. Crossing fingers and toes that you are there right now and that you and H are both smiling with relief.

  • bionicbrooklynite

    Oh, May. I am sure none of our heartbeats is in any kind of state, just reading this. What a stupid policy, indeed.

    I commend your bravery in waiting for the planned scan. I know you know there are a million reasons for blood that are not terrible, especially when you are pumped full of extra hormones and shoving pessaries in delicate places. (From experience I note that it is very hard to find books and official sorts of websites that admit this is the case, but so many of us have bled and bled and been okay.) I am hoping and maybe even praying a bit that your bleeding is of the frightening but not ultimately terrible kind. Much love.

  • Dr Spouse

    So sorry to hear this. My first thought is, well, they don’t want your blood to clot unnecessarily, so clearly the drugs are working very well. So when other people might get a tiny amount of brown spotting (scary, but usually OK), you’re getting something less clotty. Thinking of you tomorrow too.

  • a

    I think we can all agree that there is nothing worse than blood in your underwear. I saw your tweets yesterday (hey! Thanks for putting them on the sidebar for when I wander by!) and I wish I could have sat with you to hold your hand and complain about the construction commotion.

    I really don’t understand how they expect you to be calm when something traumatic is going on. How is that reasonable?

    At any rate, I’m still feeling very positive that you will have a good scan, that the blood was just the drama necessary to a May Life Event, and that all will be well. Thinking of you…

  • Amy

    Dammit, dammit, dammit. I hope this is all just a workout for your cardiovascular system, and nothing more. Hoping you get only reassuring news, and soon.

  • waterbelle44

    Thinking of you. Can’t imagine how difficult this must be. I’m feeling positive for you.

  • Amy P

    I’ve been hoping since the Tweets showed up yesterday that it’s just a matter of Doing Too Much on Sunday *hugs for May and H*

  • QoB

    Here’s to an unlimited supply of olives and an excellent, excellent scan tomorrow .

  • minichessemouse

    Cute ute, stop being a twatweasel!

    EPU stop being fucktwits about your opening hours.

    Oh may I’m holding you oh so very close to my heart. I wish there were more I could do. Stay strong dear one.

  • Blanche

    Hugs. Lots and lots of hugs. (And olives. You can have all the olives.)

  • nonsequiturchica

    Oh my. I hope that you have gotten your reassurance that everything is going okay in the ute by now.

  • Jenny

    Never commented before, I don’t think, but oh I hope everything’s all right. I had a giant bleed at 10 weeks and thought it was all over and it wasn’t. So precarious, always, so terrified. I will really rejoice with you if you get good news.

    • Betty M

      Cute Ute – stop giving May grief. Not cool.
      I’m v cross with Enormous hospital’s EPU. Particularly as I am pretty sure I know where it is (centralish, pfi rebuild, decent university?) they have assured me that they had improved this sort of thing (I have a hat that gives me minor clout with a number of maternity hospitals and a chance to try and get some of this shit changed – I will be raising EPU opening at my next meeting I tell you).
      If it helps my clinic always said that over half their successful Ivf pregnancies bled. But I know nothing will really help until you get that successful scan. Dodo gets crossed for you. Patting hands to you both.

  • katyboo1

    It is a terrifying thing. Take heart. I bled for twenty weeks with Tallulah and she came out fine (ferocious, but fine). It may just be a thing. It is often a thing. It is a bit farkinell though. Good grief woman, hugs, prayers, thoughts and everything to you both. xxx

  • kylie

    It is not fun. Fingers & Toes crossed all is well and scan shows all ok.

    It is so hard though. No real advice, as going through a similar thing. The only comment I have on scans is that my IVF clinic has much newer equipment than the hospital, so the hospital scan said 5 weeks, the clinic scan 2 days later said 6.

  • MFA Mama

    ACK! Am now utterly terrified on your behalf, and hoping like hell that this is just some anticoagulant-augmented spotty-nothingness, but as a previous commenter noted, ANY BLEEDING AT ALL IN THIS PREGNANCY IS UNFUCKINGACCEPTABLE, CUTE UTE! Feet up, drink water, PLEASE let us know you’re alright periodically. xo

  • MFA Mama

    Also bless that doctor’s cotton socks, all the devils indeed!

    • Emily Erin

      I love this turn of phrase! (I also wholeheartedly agree). I am thinking good thoughts and hoping with all I have in me to hope that this is just the requisite drama befiting of a May life event, as an earlier commenter suggested.

      I also love the side story about being taken for a lesbian and pointing out (quite logically) that should there be another working ute in your relationship, Cute Ute would be out of a job.

      Sending love, hugs, olives, chocolate and even a glass of wine (or your drink of choice) to steady the nerves (my doctor always assured me that a drink a day was fine during pregnancy, but also admitted that sometimes helpful onlookers were not so informed as to the health of said libations).

      Will be checking in with baited breath!

  • Melissa

    Oh May….i am praying so hard for you and your little bean. I hope by now you have been reassured. I have been reading your story from the beginning and i just cannot believe all you have endured. I really really hope that everything is alright.

  • Anonymous

    Sending all three of you the gentlest but earnest-est (it’s a word!) hugs in the world xx.

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