The Not So Perfect Pregnancy – A Journey Through Prematurity – Part 1
By Octoprem by Three Little Dees
Sometimes in life, things don’t go to plan, and having a baby is no different.
After two full term, routine pregnancies, I was quite surprised to experience a difficult third pregnancy, and frankly, I was not prepared for any of it. Even after a few hiccups in my first trimester and nearly weekly hospital admissions after the 22 week mark, I always just expected things to work out… until I went into labour at 27 weeks and 4 days, and there was no stopping bub from coming out…
Looking back, my first pregnancy went really well – I had minimal morning sickness, we travelled overseas, bub was growing well inside me and I was able to continue working until I was 37 weeks (after which point my obstetrician didn’t want me to be in the city at work, more than an hour away from the hospital!)
The birth of our first daughter was an unforgettable experience – the labour was quick, the pain was unbearable but the outcome was undeniably beautiful. She was born at 40 weeks and 4 days and was a little overcooked – my placenta had stopped working and she was a little wrinkly, but it was nothing of concern. We had created a princess and we were absolutely smitten.
Motherhood suited me just fine - we had all the drama of sleepless nights, breastfeeding woes, constant nurse check-ups to see that things were tracking well, and the overall feeling of being a zombie for the next 9 months. Baby brain also hit me hard, I went from having a razor sharp focus and memory, to fumbling my words and forgetting everything and anything.
Yet I signed up for it all over again soon after, when I fell pregnant with my second bub. We chose not to find out the gender of either of our first two bubs, and like the first time, this pregnancy was also good ride. Minimal morning sickness, some weight gain, good measurements and nothing to really worry about.
Our second princess was just divine and such a pleasant baby. I had a newfound confidence being a second-time mum, so I didn’t subject her to numerous nurse visits and weight checks, I just trusted my gut and she was perfectly fine. Life was great and after a while I wondered – what next?
I toyed with the idea of going back to my job but I just couldn’t justify the travel – three hours a day, and now with two little girls who’d be waiting for me. I decided against it, resigned from my job and spent my time at home nurturing my daughters. Eventually we decided to take the leap and baby number three was on the way!
I went through the same routine as the previous two times – I’d had my bloods done to check my body was in a good state beforehand, and then went back for more within a month to confirm the pregnancy. With the other two pregnancies I was in a routine with life, but this time it was more ad hoc as I wasn’t working, so I made of point of trying to be organised and on top of things – after all, life with three kids under five wasn’t going to be a walk in the park!
Things were tracking well until I was 11.5 weeks in.
After dropping off Miss 3.5 to her jazz lesson, the feeling of warmth in my jeans is to this day, unforgettable. Instead of waiting inside the studio like I usually would, I quickly walked back to my car and looked down at the blood that was pooling on the car seat. At first I was stunned, then I was scared, then I became pragmatic. I called my mum and asked her to pick up my daughter after her lesson, I told her something was wrong and I needed to go home.
Of all days, that day was the first day of our timber floor renovations at home, so instead of being at work, my hubby was at home. I called him and said ‘please bring me a towel and some pads, I’m at the dance studio car park.’ A minute later I called again and said ‘please stay home, I’m coming, just bring a towel to the car so the workmen can’t see all the blood on my pants.’
I got home, went into the shower and broke down. Obviously I thought I was miscarrying, and after a brief conversation with our obstetrician, I went to get an emergency ultrasound. It was another few hours before we knew anything…
It was a nerve-wracking wait but the heartbeat was still there… I had a huge blood clot inside my uterus that was taking up most of the space, but next to it was a tiny little flicker that was beating strong. I was advised that the next few days and week were crucial – I needed to go on bed rest immediately if this bub had a chance at survival. I’d never had any issues with clotting before, as an adult or during previous pregnancies, so they didn’t know what had happened or why, but they could see blood was entering the uterus from the rest of my body, and any further gushes of blood could potentially wipe the baby away due to its small size at this early gestation.
As you can imagine, putting your feet up is a difficult thing to do when you have two toddlers at home, but it needed to be done. My mum took some emergency carer’s leave and looked after my girls while I stayed in bed for the next two days, only getting up for toilet breaks. Mind you, the timber renovations continued as they’d already started, so it was more like bed-ridden with thumping and grinding noises all around, rather than any bed rest!
A week later we had our 12 week scan where they would check to see if bub was able to make it through all the commotion, and if so we had the option of finding out the gender. Low and behold, the heartbeat was still there, next to a 1.5L clot (which is considered extremely large inside the uterus). Clotting was a good sign they said, as it meant the blood flow had stopped, and over time it would pass out and the baby would have room to grow.
Given the journey thus far, I said I wanted to find out the gender of the baby. I already knew this bub was special, and I wanted to know more about who was fighting so hard inside me. My husband wanted it to be a surprise so I kept the information to myself for the next few months (which was extremely difficult to do as I really wanted to tell him!!)
I continued with routine check-ups and scans - as long as I had no fresh bleeds and was passing out the old clots, my obstetrician was happy and bub seemed to be fine inside, with a steady heartbeat and growing well considering. By 19 weeks the clot inside my uterus had mostly passed, so once again there was an empty and clear space for bub to grow and make their home... for the time being.
Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.