I could never have imagined how much differently things could go than the way I secretly plan them in my mind – even the things that just can’t be “planned.” We always hear, “Hope for the best; prepare for the worst,” but that’s not something your mind really grasps when you’re pregnant. No one “prepares for the worst.” If they did, there would be no shower, no announcements to family and friends filled with excitement and laughter, no tiny booties in gender-neutral colors purchased months before even finding out “pink” or “blue.”
Despite warning signs, I was completely unprepared for how far off my “Plan Path” this particular pregnancy would go.
Very early on, the diagnosis was a subchorionic hematoma after a sudden bout of bleeding. Bed rest for three weeks, back to my 9-5 routine and, as expected, the hematoma healed itself. By my 20 week ultrasound, they could no longer detect it. This wasn’t something new to me – I’d had this same problem during a previous pregnancy, so I wasn’t as concerned about it as I probably should have been. It will heal itself. Everything will be fine; it’s just like before. I was preparing for the best.
Everything was going perfectly after that… until suddenly it just wasn’t.
At just under 35 weeks, I had another bout of bleeding while, conveniently, at my OB appointment. After an ultrasound and monitoring, it was concluded that they had no conclusion. No cause, no visible placental separation, just a theory involving capillaries bursting as my cervix thinned in the last weeks of pregnancy. I was shaken up by it, but doctor knows best, right? Take the day off work; call us in 24 hours to update us on the situation.
Exactly one week later, I went to work despite having a small amount of bleeding (that stopped almost as soon as it had started) and minor cramping. Having never experienced early labor that wasn’t Pitocin-induced, I had no idea that that’s what was happening until a coworker advised me that, Yes, it starts with cramps, and I had best call my doctor’s office because she wasn’t feeling up to delivering my baby in the back of a retail store. When I called and explained everything, I was told to come in immediately for monitoring.
The “cramps” did, indeed, turn out to be contractions and, by that point, they were 4-5 minutes apart and a cervical check showed that I was dilated to 2cm. Terbutaline injections were given to stop contractions and I was told that if it didn’t work, there would be no stopping this baby from coming. They wanted me to make it, minimally, to 36 weeks, which, granted, was only three days away… but every day in the womb counts. It was just too soon and, while the odds were in baby’s favor at this stage, there were still so many things that could go wrong.
I only needed two shots before the contractions stopped. After a half hour of zero uterine activity, bed rest was ordered until they could see me in five days for my regular appointment.
I wouldn’t make it five days. As it turned out, I wouldn’t even make it three.
The very next afternoon, after horrifying amounts of bleeding, a doctor-advised trip to the emergency room and the suddenly very real threat of placental abruption, it was decided that there was no longer the choice of keeping baby safe in the womb. Because he wasn’t safe anymore in the one place that he should have been safest. It was then the whole world shifted.
This post was written in response to a prompt from The Red Dress Club.
We’re going to stick with the 600-word limit this week.