Most women find out when they lose their period or start getting morning sickness. For me, t was the pain after slipping on N.’s potty and falling down. I must have been a good girl throughout 2016 to receive a Christmas present so beautiful.
My second pregnancy began with pain caused by the subchorionic hematoma. Yet, the baby was developing fine. My doctor was slightly concerned over my history with hypothyroidism, but all the tests came back with good results.
First trimester: Subchorionic hematoma and rest
January was an emotional rollercoaster for me. Not only that hormonal changes made me feel tired and irritated, nausea also followed me 24/7. I couldn’t even have a glass of water in the evening without feeling sick. Also, the battle to quit smoking came with its own challenges. I endured all that in hope to see perfect double-test results and finally find some peace. I was looking forward to the second trimester. I was looking forward to feeling the strength, positivity, and inspiration like the last time.
While waiting for things to finally settle down, I was supposed to rest as much as possible. Which I did. I gave up on all cleaning and tidying routines and had my family over more frequently to help out.
When my double-test results came back good, I was finally relieved. I also found the strength to stop smoking completely. Things seemed to go in a good direction. I actually lost some weight with following a healthy and regular diet plan. I started feeling stronger and more energized.
My 13-weeks ultrasound showed a healthy, growing baby that was even slightly larger than N was at that time. I couldn’t be happier. I was ‘’off the hook’’, finally. This was why I started doing things I maybe shouldn’t have.
I started walking with N for about an hour/day and got back to doing regular chores. Since my first hematoma didn’t show on the ultrasound, this was how I assume to have caused myself a second one. The one that eventually burst.
It’s been more than 10 days since the bleeding took place and almost a week since I got back from the hospital. But, the memory of that day still torments me. This is one of those experiences that isn’t a big deal from a realistic point of view, but it leaves a mark. An emotional scar. To compare, falling down doesn’t feel as scary when you are climbing up the hill, as when you slip without expecting it.
That day began perfect. Warm and sunny, and for some reason, I felt stronger and better rested than I was in a long time. I spent the morning playing with N. outside. We didn’t want to miss out on such a beautiful day. That noon, she had her lunch by herself while I cooked my favorite- spaghetti bolognese.
The sun was bright and she got so tired from playing outside, It seemed like she was going to sleep for hours. I finished making my lunch and washing dishes. It was time to put her to sleep. I’ve already carried her upstairs so many times, but it looks like this was one too many. I knew I was pushing myself too hard.
I had a talk with D. the night before. We agreed to change our routines to make things a bit easier for me. He did exactly what we agreed on. I wish I did. Instead of putting her to sleep downstairs or having her walk up the stairs by herself, I picked her up one too many times.
I didn’t feel anything when I came downstairs to have lunch. Only after I closed the bathroom door I truly panicked. Needless to say, I didn’t get to have my fresh spaghetti bolognese. The sun was still shining bright, only now it was through the windshield of D’s car, as we drove to the hospital.
No one was truly concerned, but me. I felt like it was over. The baby is gone, I’m no longer pregnant. As we drove to the hospital, mixed feelings of pain, fear, and some sort of apathy towards my unborn made me feel dizzy. One moment, it felt like it was all going to be fine. The next, it would feel like I’m already over the pregnancy and moving on. I was a hot mess.
In the hospital, doctors didn’t seem particularly concerned with my pregnancy. It seemed like more women than I assumed were going through the same thing. It was more usual than I knew. Subchorionic hemorrhage, as well as hematoma, were quite frequent. They were harmless in most cases. Still, my doctor kept me in the hospital for observation the next 7 days.
All the exams and ultrasounds that followed showed that the baby is fine. But, not me. My body seemed to have a strong reaction to bleeding. The lab tests showed the presence of some nasty bacteria. The doctor wasn’t happy with me having to stay longer than two days. She wanted to release me as bad as I wanted to leave. But, some antibiotics were in order.
My staying at the hospital was quite solitary compared to other women. I felt too depressed and fragile to talk to anyone. Even D. I couldn’t talk about my feelings to avoid falling apart. It was a lot to go through in a week. Being separated from N was the hardest. The whole situation was as benign as possible for me and the pregnancy. Still, depression followed. When you’re allowed visitations an hour longer than anyone else and no one complains, you know you don’t look well.
I couldn’t help it. I was in a dark, lonely place. Completely drained most of the time. Still, I managed to laugh and joke with other patients, but I wasn’t fooling anyone. It took a lot of sleep and comfort food, but I eventually came back. Same as my lab tests, that showed it was the time to go home.
What I’ve learned
Southeast European hospitals rarely have single rooms. Most of the time, at least two patients share one room. My room was made for six patients. I met around 10 pregnant women during my stay. It was an empowering experience, to say the least. There is no place to learn about the strength of femininity like a place where women come to give birth.
Opposite to general expectations, Southeast European hospitals aren’t that scary at all. My room was clean and the food was nice. I didn’t want to eat anything besides hospital food, although it wasn’t my normal diet. My town is small as a small town can be, and people bond and form relationships when least expected. A small hospital, with a small group of nurses and doctors, gives a sense of comfort, trust, and safety.
Despite feeling depressed, I liked being there. It was the same room where I was staying before I had N. I carry such beautiful memories from that time.
Depression and alienation
I learned about post-subchorionic hemorrhage depression when I came back home. Around 20% of women suffer from this condition after leaving the hospital. It’s no surprise I suffered from it, considering my history with thyroid-related depression. I experienced it as a form of deep beat-down feeling, rather than sadness. I finally understood why people battling depression say that they feel nothing most of the time, opposite to general assumption that they feel deep sadness.
The feeling was deep for sure, but it was everything but sadness. This was worse than sadness. I know how to deal with sadness. I didn’t know how to deal with it. A part of me felt like I needed treatment, but the other part of me wanted to move on. Get a pedicure. Text friends. See family. This was when I started to heal.
Moving on & Underlying issues
You must be wondering why am I being so dramatic about such a common issue. A state not threatening to the life of my baby. When people reveal buried issues, they usually do it in the end. Mine is this one: Control issues. I can’t control what happens to my pregnancy or the health and development of my baby. I’m a bit of a control freak. When it comes to my life, at least. My independence and freedom. I have no problem giving other people space and letting fate run its course. But, I do have a problem depending on others.
Before I became a mother, there was nothing I couldn’t do by myself. I was the one to help others, not the other way around. I was completely independent. The kind of independent women that didn’t need protection and care. Having a baby left me feeling fragile and weak. I could no longer go through life by myself. It was the hardest thing for me to admit and something I am still learning to accept.
With this baby, the uncertainty of his or her’s fate is a source of tension and anxiety. I am growing a child, and have no way of knowing if things will turn out well. But, I wouldn’t know that even if I had a completely careless pregnancy, would I? None of us can know this thing for sure.