After suffering a miscarriage in July of 2001, I was all too aware that things don’t always go as they should in a pregnancy. I had what they call a missed miscarriage (as my body didn’t expel on it’s own) and I had a D&C on July 3rd. After seven months of trying and praying to become pregnant, my baby died after only 9 weeks and I felt devastated and robbed both emotionally and physically.
When I found I was pregnant again in late October 2001, I was cautiously excited. My first trimester was not the carefree, enjoyable experience I wished for and admired so much in others who were expecting--it was instead filled with anxieties and fear and the realization that it could all be taken away in an instant. However, as I approached my twelfth week, I was starting to relax and enjoy the pregnancy. I had a brief spotting episode early on, but was reassured by the doctors it was nothing to be concerned about.Then, on December 22nd, at 12 weeks exactly, I was sitting in the living room when I felt a rush of liquid exit my body. I ran to the washroom and was totally not expecting to see what I did--bright red blood both in my underwear and in the toilet. It seemed like so much; I was certain I was miscarrying. As it was a Saturday, and Christmas weekend, I called the emergency number for my doctor’s office. The doctor on call advised me to go to the emergency room.
Thankfully, the nearest hospital is five minutes from my house. My husband took me there, crying the entire way because I was convinced it was all over. Knowing how emergency rooms can be, especially on a holiday weekend, I was expecting to wait forever. Luckily, they took me right away to a private ER room. The doctor was in shortly and did an internal. She said my cervix appeared closed, then corrected herself and said it was open and I would most likely miscarry, promptly leaving the room. Talk about lack of bedside manner. I had already told her that I experienced a miscarriage 5 months earlier, but I am convinced that this woman had never been through such a nightmare and was therefore a bit cold and removed. They told me they would be doing an ultrasound to check on the baby. As I was wheeled into the U/S room, I was terrified; convinced it was going to be the worst. My husband and I both cried with relief and thanked God when the technician said “there’s your baby—he or she is waving at you.” I couldn’t believe it!
When I went back to talk with the doctor, she explained what I had was a subchorionic hemorrhage, but gave me very few details, and left me feeling uneducated and afraid of what this condition meant for the health and safety of my baby. She also incorrectly described it as placental abruption, which is not really the same thing, and had me even more paranoid. I was put on complete bedrest and told to see my regular doctor asap.
I went home and dove into all of my pregnancy books looking for “subchorionic hemorrhage” or “subchorionic hematoma”. I found absolutely nothing and very little on the internet. I hate not being informed, so I kept digging. I finally found this website after posting my story on a Pregnancy Complications board, and it was such a relief to realize I’m not alone with this condition!
The bleeding slowed down by the next day, but on Christmas night, I had another episode of somewhat heavy red bleeding. I had a follow up with my doctor’s office the day after Christmas, and what a relief that visit was! She told me that my cervix was closed as tight as a drum, and explained the hemorrhage as a pocket of blood between the membranes of the placenta and uterus. She said I could expect more red blood, and not to be alarmed if that happened. She made it seem as though my complication was fairly common and not to worry too much. (Easier said than done!)
As the weeks went on, the bleeding was all dark brown and had slowed down considerably, to where it was mostly spotting. Then it seemed to become a bit heavier (yet still dark brown) the week of January 7th, so I went in and had an internal exam by the nurse midwife as well as an u/s to see how the subchorionic hemorrhage was doing. I got a call from the nurse the next day who simply said the bleed was still there and to take it easy until my next appointment the following Monday.
On January 14th, (at 15w2d) I had a follow-up exam with a different doctor in my practice. She gave me the go-ahead to return to work, since I have an office job which doesn’t require a lot of activity. I was still spotting dark brown, but she didn’t seem overly concerned and reassured me that the baby was doing great by the looks of the u/s. She wouldn’t give me the details of the size of the hematoma compared to my initial ER visit, just that it was still there, but the main focus was the baby, and he/she was doing well.
The bleeding doesn’t seem to have been impacted by my increased activity after returning to work. I just returned to the doctor on January 29th (at 17w3d), and we heard that wonderful sound of the heartbeat! That is so reassuring, despite the fact that I am still spotting dark brown and it's been 5 weeks since the initial hemorrhage. I did ask if the hematoma was larger in the u/s in early January as compared to the initial u/s at the hospital. She said it was a bit larger, but that could just be the different equipment or measurement techniques. I have my big u/s on Feb. 13th at 19w4d, and they will know more at that point. I pray the SCH is gone for good by then!
I am determined that my little one will be fine and that I will deliver a healthy baby girl or boy some time in early July, just as planned. I do have my days, though, when I think “Why can’t I just have a normal pregnancy with no major worries?” I will worry for the remainder of this pregnancy that all is well with my little one, but I guess that’s all part of being a mom.