Spotting Scare: Subchorionic Hemorrhaging from My Uterus

Last Wednesday, August 26, during my first pregnancy ultrasound, the in vitro fertilization (IVF) coordinator performing the procedure confirmed that I am pregnant with twins, but cautioned that one, Baby B, was likely dying, and, if I miscarried him rather than absorbed him, I could lose both of my husband’s and my baby boys.  After a week of emotional anguish, I received miraculous news during my ultrasound this Wednesday, September 2:  Baby B had successfully reattached himself to my uterus, had grown and had a visible heartbeat.  But my bliss lasted only 30 hours.  When I awoke from my Thursday afternoon nap, I was bleeding.

I’ve never spotted during pregnancy, unless I was miscarrying, so I was terrified.  I yelled for my husband, who was working from home, to come upstairs to our bedroom. 

“I’m bleeding.”

“What does that mean?”

“I don’t know, but it’s not good.  I’ve never bled before, except during my miscarriage.”

“What can I do?”

“Just hug me.  Then I need to call the IVF nurse to see what to do.  But, first, can you give me my injection?”

“You should call first.”

But, I know that my problem with pregnancy is my uterine lining, so I wanted that progesterone-oil injection immediately, because the progesterone is supposed to thicken my lining, because I wanted to somehow stop what was happening to my body.

He injected me with the 1ml of progesterone oil, then I called the IVF clinic just a few minutes after 5 p.m., when it closes for the day.  I had to maneuver through technology hell, pushing this button, then that, until I finally got to the message in which I was given the number to page the on-call IVF nurse.

She picked up immediately, and I explained that I was bleeding; that it was reddish-pink, which I know is bad, because it means fresh blood; that it was visible on my panty liner, necessary because of the constant discharge from the Endometrin® vaginal progesterone suppositories; that, after I urinated, blood was on the toilet paper used to wipe myself, meaning it kept flowing; that I needed to know what to do.

She remembered that I’d had a vaginal ultrasound the day before, confirmed that I wasn’t having any pain or cramping, then told me not to stress, that maybe my cervix was closing after the ultrasound, maybe the ultrasound wand had been pressing down on it.  She told me to rest, to increase my progesterone-oil injections to twice a day, and to call the next day, Friday, to let her know how I was doing.

But, she continued, if I starting bleeding heavily and/or having a great deal of pain, I was to go immediately to the emergency room.

I was not reassured.  When I was pregnant with my son, I had many, many vaginal ultrasounds, and I never bled as a result.  And, the IVF coordinator had told me during my ultrasound that my cervix had been completely closed.

I stayed in bed the rest of the night, reading everything I could about first-trimester bleeding.  But, not knowing the source of my spotting, none of the information could appease me. 

I already had an appointment with the local hospital’s Center for Maternal and Fetal Health at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, so I focused on that appointment, my opportunity to know what was wrong with my body—and maybe our babies.

I was so drained that I slept for 10 hours on Thursday night, so I felt better emotionally on Friday.  The healing properties of ample sleep are a benefit I rarely experience, life-long insomniac that I am.  My spotting seemed lighter Friday morning, with little blood on the toilet paper after urination, so I felt a bit of relief with that realization.  Now I just had to wait until my 12:30 p.m. appointment.

When ny name was called, a technician brought me in for an abdominal ultrasound, and I outlined my recent history, including the bleeding.  As always, Baby A, who is larger and on my front left, revealed himself first.  She declared him “perfect” in size, right within range for his gestational age, then showed me his pulsing heart.

I felt relief about Baby A.  He was still alive.

She then found Baby B in his still-smaller gestational sac.  She said, “There’s the second heartbeat,” but I was so nervous, I wasn’t sure I’d heard her correctly.

“There is a heartbeat—or isn’t?” I asked, desperately. 

“There is.”

She said that, while Baby B is smaller than Baby A, he is still within range for his gestational age. 

Then she pointed out the reasons I’m bleeding:  Two areas within my uterus that she referred to as “subchorionic hemorrhages.”

“It sounds worse that it is,” she explained. 

She said, “We see this.” 

And, “This doesn’t worry us, unless you’re also having cramping or pain.”  I’m not.

And, “This doesn’t mean you’ll miscarry,” but said that doctor with whom I’d have my initial consultation would be able to tell me more.

I asked if either or both of these hemorrhages were affecting Baby B’s gestational sac.  She said that the entire outer edge of his sac is solid, which is reassuring.

She then let me hear both of our babies’ heartbeats, declaring Baby B’s as “pretty good.” 

Of course, now I’m worried that his heartbeat is only “pretty good,” rather than perfect.

She handed me printed-out ultrasound scans of our babies, two each of Baby A and Baby B.  Then she directed me to the bathroom, because my bladder was overflowing, necessary for an abdominal ultrasound, then back to the reception area to wait for my consultation.

I called my husband to tell him we still had two heartbeats, to explain why I was bleeding.

Then I kept staring at the pictures of our babies.  They were real to me before, because of the changes in my body, because of seeing them on prior ultrasounds, because of seeing their miniature hearts blipping on screen.  But now I’d heard their heartbeats, seen them grow again, just within two days, and have pictures of them.  I am so attached to our babies.  I know I’m doing everything I can, I know that their lives are ultimately in God’s hands, but I want them to live, both of them.   

In my next post, I’ll outline what the doctor told me in my consultation.  In the meantime, feel free to stare at the pictures of our babies too.  And, keep those prayers coming…  Thanks.

Baby A, 7 Weeks Old
Baby A, 7 Weeks Old

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby B, 7 weeks old
Baby B, 7 Weeks Old
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