The ultrasound technician took off her latex glove, turned to me and said, “Well, the good news is: the baby looks great. Growing well. Strong heartbeat. Right on target, but the bad news…”
“…is that I’m having a kangaroo?”, I interrupted.
“I’m sorry?”, she asked with a baffled look.
I pointed up to the image frozen onto the ultrasound flat-screen that was affixed to the wall in front of me. “The baby kind of looks like a kangaroo, like I’m having a marsupial.”
“You’re not having a marsupial.”, she pointedly stated, looking at me like I was insane.
“Okay. That’s good.”, I nervously laughed as I adjusted my skirt and sat up on the exam table.
“The bad news is that the hematoma is big, and there’s nothing we can do. You have to just wait and hope your body absorbs it and it doesn’t cause any complications. Rest. Take it easy. Very little activity, and keep your fingers crossed.”, she said.
I took one last look at the ultrasound on the wall before I walked out into the hallway, and to the left of the kangaroo was a large, black, ominous looking blob, looming over the gestational sac like a dark cloud of Mordor.
It’s a subchorionic hematoma, also known as a subchorionic hemorrhage. It’s a blood clot, or a pool of blood that sometimes forms in the uterus without cause and without reason. It can cause severe bleeding, placental abruption, premature labor, and miscarriage. The majority of women diagnosed, however, go on to have full-term healthy babies. Or maybe kangaroos. There is no treatment, no magical pill or shot or exercise or magic spell that can make it go away: it just takes time. In that time it will either cause problems, get absorbed by my own body, or bleed out.
I learned of this stupid blood clot on Monday, when I was pretty sure I was going to die with nobody but Lotte by my side. Pete was in NYC for the Webby Awards, and I had just picked LJ up from school when I started hemorrhaging. While Lotte was happily watching Doc McStuffins on tv, I simply blew my nose and felt a “woosh” like I had never felt before. The blood wouldn’t stop. I quickly went from being devastated over the fact that I was clearly experiencing another pregnancy loss, to worried for my life and my kid’s well-being. Remember, I just moved to the woods; I have very, VERY few people I can call for help in this new city; my family lives on Long Island; and Pete was in NYC. I couldn’t drive myself to the hospital because I was losing so much blood I would have passed out. My angel of a friend who lives about 20 minutes away hopped into the car to come help with Lotte, while Pete called an ambulance while in a cab on the way to LaGuardia. It was terrifying.
The paramedics arrived at the same time as my amazing friend, and they immediately whisked me off to the hospital where I was poked and prodded and cried and got so many sympathetic pats from each and every lovely nurse. For about 3 hours I sobbed and texted and tweeted about how this was the worst, scariest day of my life, and I felt an aching sense of helplessness and despair until the ER doctor popped her head in and said, “Did anyone come talk to you about your ultrasound, yet?”.
“What? No.”, I sniffled.
“The baby is fine. Completely fine. You have a subchorionic hematoma that caused the bleeding.”, she said, while petting my forearm.
“WHAT? How did the baby live through that when I thought I was going to die?!”, I shouted.
She shrugged her shoulders and said, “Looks fine. You just have to stay positive and hope it shrinks. I recommend full bed rest. That’s all you can do. Congratulations.”.
That, my friends, is where you come in. I am not known to be an overwhelmingly positive person. In fact, I’m a pretty cynical, sarcastic pessimist. I ordinarily would never have shared pregnancy news until well into the second trimester, but I could use some help. Some help in seeing the light and being positive. Some good thoughts and sunny juju sent my way. Some fingers crossed and cyber smiles, because I’m kind of in love with this little kangaroo, and I’d like it to stick around.