Okay folks. If you are like me, you skip right to the part on people's blogs where you find out 'what the hell happened'. So here it is.
March 8th (or 9th or 10th, not exactly sure) 2010
After our appointment the previous week with my OB, Dr. S, I went home feeling pretty upset about his assessment of my heart's ability to deal with labour. I kept thinking about my husband's and my mom's comments that "I was getting the best care". I finally came to the conclusion that if I felt this bad about it, then it was not "good care". I planned to discuss my options with the cardiologist the following week.
And, speaking of that appointment the following week...I wasn't totally comfortable with my OB's assessment that the continued bleeding I had been experiencing for WEEKS now was "just the clot bleeding out". It seemed wrong somehow. I was still confident that everything was okay, because we still had a good heart beat every time we checked with the Doppler (which I did on a daily basis), but I just wanted an ultrasound to confirm it. So I called up the nurse at the clinic and asked about getting one. She responded that if my doctor thought everything was okay then it probably was. My response "I know he's not concerned, but I'm concerned". So she talked to the nurses at the fetal medicine unit and they agreed to do an ultrasound when I came in on March 11th. Secretly I was pleased, not just because this was a way to ease my fears and make sure everything was okay, but also because maybe they would be able to see if my baby had boy or girl parts.
Oh, how I wish the next appointment ended with "well everything looks good and you're having a boy!". Oh, how I wish.
March 11th 2010 (a.k.a. Doom's Day) 17 weeks and 4 days.
We arrived for the appointment early and had to wait around a bit. Brian and I had hoped that we'd get to see the baby in the ultrasound and then he was planning to go to work in the afternoon while I stayed for my cardiac ECHO. Best laid plans...
So the nice nurse Kristie, who I had met at my last appointment at the fetal medicine unit took us in and asked us how things were going. I told her about the continued bleeding and that I just wanted to make sure things were okay. She completely agreed that I definitely needed to be followed up. So up I went on the ultrasound table, and on went the (nicely warmed) goo. We had asked ahead of time if Kristie could see boy or girl parts could she let us know.
Then she started to roll the wand around...and things got quiet. As I was laying there I saw her looking really hard at the screen, and I saw Brian trying to take video of our baby with his camera. I kept waiting for Kristie to say how cute our baby was like at our last ultrasound, but she stayed quiet. I just thought she was looking for the sex. Any second she was going to say "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl"...but the seconds got longer and longer.
When she finally spoke, it was not with joy or happiness...it was with grave concern. She said "Emily...have you noticed any fluid leaking...because I'm not seeing a lot of fluid around your baby". I managed to say "No, but with all the blood that's come out, it's hard to tell". Then Brian, who had been standing at the end of the exam table sat down really hard in one of the chairs and got really quiet. Kristie left to go and get the doctor and Brian started rubbing my ankle. I think it was around this point that I started to cry.
You know it's bad when the doctor comes rushing in to see you not 5 minutes later. He gets a hold of the ultrasound wand and starts getting images of his own. What he tells us is not good. My placenta has what looks like clots all through it. Rather than looking like a pancake, nicely tucked up against the wall of the uterus, my placenta looks like a muffin top. The placenta is so large it seems to be taking up the space the baby is in. The only good news is that baby seems to be growing appropriately and is getting good blood flow. Otherwise our hopes of having a healthy baby have just plummeted. Basically I'm now at risk of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), abruption and fetal demise. None of this is good news.
The rest of the afternoon was spent getting a pap test done to check for leaking amniotic fluid (they couldn't find any...but I'm betting now there just wasn't any to find, it was all gone by then). I also had blood work done to rule out any clotting disorders which are apparently associated with the type of condition my placenta seemed to have developed. The fetal medicine specialist we were dealing with went and spoke to another doctor who is a placental specialist and he agreed it looked like a "Breus mole" (Google it...there is almost NOTHING about it on the web...although we later found out it's also called a subchorionic thromohematoma).
Before we left at the end of the day, I asked Dr. R. if we had any reason to hope. He said "well...these things are like red flags...we'll have to keep a close eye on it"...but he didn't sound hopeful at all.
In all of this I missed my cardiology appointment. When I finally saw her at the end of the day, Dr. S. was very nice and very human and agreed that my ECHO could wait for a few more weeks until things were more settled. I was glad of this. All we wanted to do was go home and cry.
So we did. Lots. We both cried so much we threw up.
So while our son actually died almost 6 weeks later, we psychologically started grieving him from this point. Grieving the loss of a healthy pregnancy (not that it had been so wonderful up to this point...but we had hopes it would improve) and preparing to possibly grieve the loss of our baby. Their was so little fluid during the ultrasound they couldn't even tell if it was a boy or girl. We didn't even know which we were preparing to grieve the loss of.
But, I'm so glad we got those extra few weeks. Most importantly it allowed us to see him in a more developed form, so that we could see just how much he looked like Brian. It warms my heart to see his beautiful photos. I'm glad we got those. Extra time allowed me to get a bit of a pregnant belly going, which was really cute. It also gave me hope that my heart could tolerate a full term pregnancy (if and when) it happens for us. And, most important to the rest of our lives is that extra time allowed me to get past the 20 week mark, so that I was guaranteed the 17 week maternity leave, which I'm now using to get back into shape and get a handle on how I'm going to get through the rest of my life.
Without my son.