My First Misdiagnosed Miscarriage at 12 Weeks!
My blighted ovum story was not my first misdiagnosed miscarriage. Now, I'd like to share my miscarriage scare during my first pregnancy. Many women bleed during pregnancy and many of them do carry their pregnancies to term. I hope my story helps gives women hope when they believe they may be losing their pregnancies. Not every miscarriage is diagnosed incorrectly but sometimes just holding on to hope can help us get through a very scary time.
I believe every woman deserves to have no doubt before having her pregnancy ended.
I am not a medical professional. The information I share is meant to supplement the information given you by your doctor. If you feel your doctor is not doing enough for you or not willing to listen to your concerns, I strongly encourage you to take what you've learned here and get a second opinion.
Have you ever bled during pregnancy?
The Calm Before the Storm
as I prepared to enter the second trimester
My first miscarriage scare began almost eleven years ago to the day that I write this.
My week began as any other week...well, any other week in which I had been getting sick all day long. Oh boy, I remember just having such a case of morning sickness. I seemed to be living on saltine crackers, ginger ale and prenatal vitamins.
That week, I had a routine check up. The doctor and nurse assured me morning sickness does not last forever and should be ending within the next few weeks. I heard at my appointment that now that I had reached the twelfth week, there was almost no chance of miscarriage. Congratulations, I was about to enter the second trimester...yay! I remember feeling such relief that not only would my morning sickness soon ebb but I could cross "miscarriage" off my list of concerns. What is it they say about Murphy's Law?
My Miscarriage Scare Begins
there was just so much blood
Later that week, my husband was at work. It was evening. I was resting comfortably on the sofa watching television. Suddenly, and I remember this part clear as day, while watching ice skating, I felt like my bladder gave out and I had wet myself. I got up to use the bathroom mumbling about how everybody forgot to tell me about this part of pregnancy. I also remember thinking it was slightly humorous. As I walked into the bathroom, for some reason I looked behind me and there was a trail of blood. It seemed like there was blood everywhere. I immediately panicked. I sat on the toilet, looked down and saw I was hemorrhaging. Blood was coming out of me like I had never seen before and it was coming out fast.
The next few minutes were a blur. I remember calling my husband and telling him to come right home and that I needed to go to the hospital. Fortunately, he only worked about ten minutes away. I called my mother right after and she was the first one to use the dreaded "M" word. When I told her I was bleeding heavily, she told me I was miscarrying. I think that is when I lost it. I was a wreck. Until that time, I didn't realize that this might be a miscarriage. I just knew my baby was in trouble. I know I tried to clean myself up in the few minutes before my husband arrived home and put on a maxi pad. My husband arrived home and we took off immediately for the emergency room.
Our ER Experience
one of the worst nights of my life
In the five minutes it took to reach the ER, I bled through that maxi pad, my pants and the front seat of the car. I'm sure I looked pretty scary entering that ER but I didn't care. I was just so scared. The nurse very calmly took my blood pressure and asked a number of questions. She talked about miscarriage and what to expect. I remember just wanting her to hurry so the doctor could stop my miscarriage. I also remember just apologizing over and over to my husband. I really was a basket case. I remember lying there waiting for the doctor just wishing I could disappear. I just wanted to go as far away as possible and not deal with this.
Finally the doctor came in. He examined me and told me this was most likely a miscarriage given all the blood but without an ultrasound, he couldn't be sure. Unfortunately, because it was Super Bowl weekend, they didn't have any technicians scheduled until Monday. They also could not hear a heartbeat despite both the nurse and doctor trying. He said my cervix was still closed but that didn't necessarily mean anything. I didn't care. Once he said the cervix was still closed, I suddenly had a little spot of hope and I was clinging to that. I was told to go home and they'd call me for an ultrasound in a couple days if I hadn't miscarried by then.
I remember going home that night with more of a calmness. I accepted that this might well be a miscarriage but I was going to hold on to that little bit of hope until I was told with all certainty I had lost my baby.
Our Ultrasound Later that Weekend
wait, you mean there is still a baby?
On Sunday, we got a call asking us to come back in for an ultrasound. They had found an ultrasound technician who was willing to come in despite the Super Bowl. We rushed right down to the hospital. By that time, my bleeding had slowed to probably what I would consider a light period flow.
Okay, here is where I get emotional. If you've ever been through this, you'll understand...
I was laying on the ultrasound examination table. The ultrasound tech was a very nice lady but she told us at the onset that she was not allowed to show us the screen or tell us anything about the ultrasound. That was hard. I can't tell you how long she used the probe but it seemed to take an eternity. I just kept looking from her to my husband for any sign of anything. It wasn't there. I remember having tears in my eyes and thinking my pregnancy was really over. I actually have tears in my eyes now as I write this because I remember the feeling so well. I think the ultrasound tech noticed my tears because all of a sudden, she very casually turned up the volume on her machine. THERE WAS A HEARTBEAT and the tech had a huge smile on her face. I immediately broke down AGAIN and then she moved the monitor just enough so my husband could see, when I saw the amazement on my husband's face and I knew our baby was fine.
Not the Only Scare During that Pregnancy
never a dull moment
Over the next few weeks, the bleeding slowed to spotting and finally stopped altogether. However a week or so after it stopped, I woke up bleeding heavily again one morning. Again, a trip to the ER and again, we were warned we might be losing our baby. I had a lot more peace this time since I had been through it already. All in all, I ended up bleeding or spotting the entire second trimester.
We found out at 17 weeks, we were having a boy. We also found out our son most likely had Down Syndrome. After everything we had been through, now the doctor and geneticist were asking me if I wanted to have an abortion. I actually felt pressured to have an abortion but once they realized that was not going to happen, the doctor returned to just monitoring me more frequently. By the third trimester, I was being seen twice a week.
My labor was very difficult. I was in labor 24 hours before they finally did an emergency c-section. By that point, my son's heartbeat had dropped to almost nothing and my blood pressure was out of control.
Our son was an NICU baby. He developed an infection, most likely Strep B. However, he was Down Syndrome free.
They did a pathology report on the placenta and found out that my placenta had actually had 'strokes' and was partially dead. The pathology report also stated that the umbilical cord was too long and partially detached. Our son was truly a miracle baby.
He is now sixteen years old. I cannot even imagine another woman going through these scares and, yet, I know they do because I talk to them almost daily. If you are going through a miscarriage scare, please, visit the Misdiagnosed Miscarriage site for support and to talk to other women going through similar scares.
IMPORTANT New Guidelines for Diagnosing a Miscarriage
The UK is the first to acknowledge that misdiagnosed miscarriages are indeed a problem. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has revised its guidelines. If your gestational sac is more than 25mm and/or the CRL is 7mm or more, you should wait a week to verify (if there are no complications). If the measurements are less, you are too early to diagnose. For more information (and something to take to your doctor), please, see my new page:
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