18 weeks: living in fear

It has been exactly 2 weeks since my bleeding episode and my fear and anxiety since then has only escalated, despite all signs pointing towards resolution of the bleed.

I had a follow up scan a week ago which showed what was determined to be two small subchorionic bleeds, each estimated at about 2cm. The OB and midwife told me these were no big deal and they were reassured to have such a benign explanation for the bleeding I’d had.  I ignored their reassurances and ran home to spend the next 48 hours googling. What I found was… scary.  Many sources say these types of bleeds in the 2nd trimester are more dangerous than in the first tri and elevate your risk for all sorts of scary complications and tragedies.

Two days after that scan as the old blood started to taper off, I became paranoid that I was leaking amniotic fluid, so back to the OB I went.  Despite the midwife’s reassurance that everything looked normal, including my fluid levels on ultrasound and the negative litmus paper test, I remained unconvinced.  I have spent the past 5 days petrified every time I get up that my water is going to break. Or that I am going to find out at my next scan that I have been leaking after all and have no fluid left.  This is beyond just an average worry. It’s a compulsive, obessive fear that I cannot stop fixating on.

I feel that my pregnancy has been totally ruined. I had exactly 7 days of pure happiness and confidence in the week leading up to this whole ordeal and now I am worse off than ever. I cringe when my family discusses plans for the baby’s arrival in February because I no longer believe there will be a live healthy baby brought home in February.  I cringe again when I write those words because I wonder if, in the off chance there was going to be a baby born in February, did I just tempt fate by questioning it?

I am going insane.  Completely insane.  I feel an emotional misery and pain that I can’t adequately put into words.  This is absolute torture.  And I feel like such an ingrate and wimp for complaining this way as I know I am so lucky to be pregnant.  But I am struggling big time with the anxiety, as well as mourning the loss of any hope of a normal happy pregnancy.

 

The past 24 hours…

Have been terrifying.

Yesterday I was working from home and got up to get something to eat. I felt a warm heavy drip and thought for a second I might have lost control of my bladder.  Then my heart dropped, and I knew before I even looked that it was blood.

I ran to the bathroom and cleaned myself up while I called the OB.  They acted quickly and told me to come in immediately for an ultrasound.  Somehow I made the drive downtown and rushed in, my husband met me there.  Over the next hour or two I had two different types of ultrasound and an exam by the midwife.  There was more blood after they used the more invasive ultrasound wand and after the midwife did an exam.

They found that the baby looked perfect, my cervix was long and closed and no signs of any placental problems. They attempted to test for amniotic fluid but it must have been contaminated by the blood as they weren’t able to get a result.  The doctor came in and said it could be nothing or it could be the start of a miscarriage.  They sent me home promising to get me in with the MFM department for a better scan this morning.

I went home terrified and praying that bleeding and cramping wouldn’t pick up and turn into a full miscarriage.  Oddly enough the bleeding stopped completely overnight, like a faucet that had quickly been turned on then off.

I was able to get in to see the MFM doctor first thing this morning and they did a long, thorough scan of every square inch of the baby and placenta.  The baby looked absolutely perfect and again they found no evidence of a low-lying placenta or fluid issues. The doctor was much more encouraging than the OB last night and said the bleeding is very common and many times they find no cause at all. In the absence of placenta previa or a large pocket of blood behind the placenta, they are not too concerned.  He did mention seeing some pools of blood near the edge of my placenta which he expected could cause more bleeding.

For now I am resting at home and feeling hopeful but very, very scared.  This pregnancy was already riddled with anxiety, and that was when it was going perfectly.  Now I feel like a ticking time bomb.  I am still experiencing some bleeding though far less, and not the scary bright red it was before.  I am praying it will stop, as every time I see blood will send me into a new panic.

Is unexplained bleeding that is totally benign in the second trimester a real thing?  I don’t understand how you can bleed and no one can tell you where it is coming from. I am finding it difficult to relax as my mind keeps going to all the worst case scenarios.

New trimester, new fears

I’ve made it into the second trimester! Today I am 15 weeks 2 days.  However, I have noticed as I have transitioned from 1st to second trimester, I have also taken on a whole new list of fears and worries.

Through the first trimester, I was worried about early miscarriage, or abnormal results from the first tri screening tests. Now that I have solidly heard my baby’s heartbeat every week, I have put that fear aside and moved on to fears about pre-term labor, amniotic fluid issues, incompetent cervix.. The list goes on.

Last Sunday I was convinced I was leaking fluid. Commence 48 hours of obsessive googling.  Then when I realized things all seemed normal, I moved on to obsessing over whether my cervix will hold up for 25 more weeks.  I had an ultrasound a few days ago and asked the tech to measure my cervix. It measured somewhere in the 3’s and she looked at me like I was crazy for even asking if that was normal.  Fast forward 2 days, I decide to no longer take her word for it that my measurement was fine, and start more obsessive googling.  Finding that most people have longer cervixes at this time, I begin panicking that mine will give out.

This is just a small taste of the mounting fear and anxiety I have been experiencing lately.  My mother and husband staged an intervention of sorts and insisted I commit to minimizing my worry and trying to enjoy my pregnancy.  (If it were as easy as just deciding to enjoy and not worry, I would have done that 3 months ago).  I keep hearing people say that they were finally able to breathe once the 1st tri was over, but I have found myself only increasingly petrified.  And I’m sure the terror of my anatomy scan will set in as that gets closer.

I have not been to see my therapist in several weeks, and have decided its time to start attending therapy regularly again. I am hoping she can help me figure out some better coping methods for my anxiety. I am starting to feel like I am the only person in the world who can’t just relax and enjoy this. It has emotionally been so difficult, as not only do I struggle with the anxiety, but also the overwhelming sadness of realizing that I can’t just enjoy and feel happy about this goal I have worked so hard to achieve.