I've found myself posting about my SCH on the forums a lot, relating my experience to others and reminding them that while it's terrifying most SCHs resolve with no issues. Not a guarantee, but some hope. I never know how much I should tell them though. I might tell them I bled until around 15 weeks, or I might tell them I literally poured blood while passing sludge and clots for weeks. I never relate the horror though. I wrote about it here, but I still didn't go in depth.
I want to share what happened. I think I'm finally ready to relate the horror in it's entirety; not just the PC version, or the short hand, but all of it. If you're squeamish, this is your exit.
I was happy, because two days prior we had confirmed that he was still alive. With arm buds (!) and leg buds (!). It had been an amazing experience hearing his heart beat and knowing we'd made it that far. I hadn't bled in awhile too, and I was starting to feel good about things- like this might be the one.
It started while eating dinner. I'd made enchiladas, and we were sitting at the couch watching "Doctor Who." As the episode unfolded, I begin to feel pressure building, until sitting became uncomfortable. I wasn't sure what was going on, I tried to ignore it, but I knew something was wrong. I finally grimaced, set my plate aside and got up, then limped to the stairs. Walking up the stairs was difficult, and the pressure kept building. When I got to the bathroom I sat down, and saw to my horror that I was covered in vibrant red blood, I threw my underwear straight in the trash and called out to A. I shook, I screamed and cried, "Not again!"
I didn't go to the ER because I thought that they could save him, I knew there was nothing they could do. I don't think the staff there ever grasped that. I needed them to check my hemoglobin (because of the Lovenox) and then...since I assumed the worst, having been here enough times, I wanted them to collect him for testing. It feels clinical to type that, but while we knew we would never try again, I still wanted answers damn it. I needed to know if it was me, or it was him, that went wrong. Well, we know now that it's me. It's always been me. I never really had any doubt, but I needed confirmation. I needed closure.
I told the receptionist that I couldn't sit in the waiting room chairs because I'd already bled through my pad during the car ride. She ignored me, I was just another miscarrying waste of time since there was nothing they could do, so I stood outside triage and waited. I had rushed from my house in my desperation for answers; I didn't have any pads at home anyway, just tampons. I didn't have any cash to go into the bathroom to buy an emergency pad, and she didn't offer me any help. She huffed and came over with a wheel chair and told me to sit, like I was an idiot.
I was whisked through triage, asked over and over why I was on Lovenox, what clotting disorders I had, why I was there. When I got to the room I was told to disrobe and sit down, that's where things got scary. I took off my underwear and blood literally gushed down my legs. I'll never forget how hot it was. The way it burned running down my legs. The way it splattered on the floor, dripping a path to the hospital bed. I think that's when the nurses realized I wasn't just "bleeding."
They finally brought me a bed pad, and helped settle me in. I had an IV, and they ran tests to make sure I didn't need a transfusion. When the doctor did the internal exam they removed a lodged piece of something near my cervix; I don't know if it was tissue or leftover Crionone buildup, but when he removed it the pressure went with it. Blood poured out, rushing onto the floor, and covering it. The doctor rolled his chair back quickly, avoiding the splash. He collected the blob for testing, and set it on the table next to me. I looked at the floor and saw a huge puddle of blood. By this point, we had all given up hope.
I was bawling my eyes out, and I remember telling A over and over, "I am never doing this again. Never. Never. Never. I can't do this again." I held his hand, and I shook with both the emotional grief and the physical pain from the cramps. They added some morphine to my IV for the pain.
We were wheeled down to the ultrasound room, where they did an abdominal scan (not wanting to do an internal with the bleeding). And there he was... heart beating fiercely, moving ever so slightly. I went between relief and horror. Relief because, my god he was still alive. Horror because I didn't know for how long.
How could anything survive this?
So the bed rest began. I saw Dr. J the next morning, and V was still alive. She tried to tell me that she's seen worse, that SCHs are not uncommon, that I am at higher risk, that it happens.
A week went by, and I continued to bleed, although not to that same extent. We came back, and he was still alive. Three days later, I was in bed watching "Labyrinth," eating dinner. Why always at dinner? Ugh. I felt some pressure, and started bleeding heavier. Within 30 minutes I had filled up my heavy overnight pad, then in another 30 minutes the same. I felt dizzy and faint, nauseous, and A demanded we go back to the ER. I did not want to go.
At the ER I passed huge clots, and bled more. I was shaky. The cramps were intense, and my uterus felt on fire. I was in so much pain that time. My hemoglobin was fine though and V was still alive, somehow. They sent me home with pain killers. The next morning I saw Dr. J, and I was in a lot of pain. I had trouble sitting, moving, my uterus felt shredded, like a knife had twisted in it and ripped it apart. V was still alive, and the tear in my lining had doubled in size so that it was bigger than V.
The next few weeks I bled more off and on, but it was mostly brown sludge with little clots. I was told over and over that it was good, it meant that the clot was breaking down, that it was healing. It took about 6 weeks from the last episode before I finally stopped bleeding. I didn't get off bed rest until 18wks, and pelvic rest until 21wks.
I feel like, and I'm sure other people think, that I should be over this. The outcome was positive, I endured and V survived. What more could I want?
But... there's always that but. That experience was more horrifying in some ways than my miscarriages were. My miscarriages were bad, and the outcome has left marks on my heart that will never leave me, but the physical experience itself? I'm not sure which was worse- my second miscarriage or V's pregnancy. I still look back in horror. I still remember the sensations, the feel of the blood on my skin. How did anything survive that? I don't understand. I never will.
When people say they're pregnant and bleeding, I want to console them. I want to tell them that anything is possible. I do believe it is, but at the same time I had bleeding with all four of my pregnancies and only one survived. The one I bled the most with. The one that went on and on. The one where I had issue after issue. Still, statistically what are the odds? Reality and hope don't always offer the same comfort. I don't believe in offering false hope, but I know now that stranger things have happened. Who am I to deny that improbability is often mislabeled as impossibility?
SCHs can cause miscarriages, but they often don't. I know women who have lost to them. I've seen women who've made it through. I've seen lingering ones that last until delivery, causing issues until the very end. Mine was one of the worst cases I've seen, but not the worst by far. For something so relatively common, I find it mind numbing at times how wide the variation in severity.
And here's the thing: I'm at high risk of this happening again. I knowingly am opening myself to this possibility again. Dr. J, and Dr. M, they tell me it's probably inevitable. But that hopefully next time it'll be less severe. Hopefully... that's the best we can do.
SCHs are more common in patients who undergo fertility treatments. Check.
Women who suffer recurrent miscarriages. Check.
Who have clotting disorders. Check.
Who use Lovenox. Check.
Who've suffered them before... well, Check.
That's assuming we can even get me pregnant, right? One thing at a time. There is a chance I might get lucky, I might not have any issues. It's possible... not probable, but I'm not going to worry over the semantics of all that. It'll either happen, or it won't. Just like I'll either get pregnant, or I won't. It's all in the luck of the draw.
If you've made it this far, thank you. I never told our families what really happened, I never posted the dirty truth of it on the forums, not the whole story here, and besides A... I just needed to put it out there. Maybe it'll help someone. Maybe it'll shed some clarity on the drama within me. I don't know.
But thank you just the same.