We didn’t have a lot of time to get excited about this pregnancy before the bleeding began. The bleeding had never started this early before, with the exception of when we miscarried, and although it wasn’t talked about out loud in the moment, we both knew it to be a very real, and very painful possibility. The bleeding proceeded to get worse and within a week we had felt that we had miscarried. When my wife went to see the doctor to find out for sure, the doctor told her that she had not miscarried but that it was more than likely a tubular pregnancy and therefore we should not expect the pregnancy to last.
She received this news on Tuesday, and on Friday my wife had an ultrasound appointment to confirm the findings of the doctor. My wife was continuing to bleed as each day passed by, and our concern for her health and the health of our baby continued to grow. Friday came and my wife went to the ultrasound. That afternoon she was called back to see the doctor. The doctor told her that it was not a tubular pregnancy, that the baby was indeed in the uterus, but there was no sack, there was a cyst, and there was no heartbeat.
We went home in shock by the news, struggling in how to process what we were hearing. However, there was no time for processing, because within the next few days my wife had another bleed. When we went back to the doctor we were told that we had most definitely miscarried. A D&C was recommended and we were left to make our decision.
It had now been three weeks since we first got news that we were pregnant again. My wife and I were grieving our loss over the next couple of days, still trying to take everything in, struggling to understand what had happened with this pregnancy. Before we could make a decision regarding the D&C the doctor called and needed to do some more blood tests because the initial blood tests done after the last bleed indicated that she was still pregnant. The doctor did more blood tests and the results were still positive. He waited a week and they were still positive. He waited some more and they were still positive. All during this time my wife continued to bleed.
The doctor asked for another ultrasound appointment as he was struggling to try and figure out what was going on. When the ultrasound appointment came, the technician saw that there was a baby with a sack, with no cyst, and yes there was a heartbeat. Immediately the supervising technician called and felt that there must have been some mistake with the equipment. He wanted to see her in a larger center (a city just under an hour away with newer equipment) on the following Monday.
We went to this appointment, anxious to try and figure out what was going on. The doctor was present, along with the supervising technician. After consultation over the results, the doctor told my wife that there was a skull, but no brain, and that the child wasn’t expected to live much longer.
My wife continued to have major bleeds which were increasing in their severity. Within two weeks I had taken my wife to the valley hospital and then off to the larger center’s hospital again. There they did another ultrasound and concluded that there was a brain, but no skull, which meant that the baby would only live for a few hours outside of the womb after being born. In addition, there was the bleeding, which remained a concern, as they couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. We went back home thinking through what all this meant and what it would be like to hold a newborn that was expected to live from a few minutes to a few hours only.
A few days later my wife had another bleed and then another and then another. We decided to go to the emergency room after the third one in a week. This time the doctor on call was a visiting doctor from out of town, who was managing the emergency room that weekend. After reviewing my wife’s file, and doing his own assessment, he told us that my wife was in danger of dying if she didn’t get to a larger center hospital where they would be equipped to give her a blood transfusion if necessary. This was because he suspected that she had placenta previa, and our local hospital was not equipped to handle this type of pregnancy. We immediately made arrangements that day to take her to the Women’s Hospital located down at the coast, which was four hours away. The hospital admitted her that night and I returned home. This was on a Saturday. She was still bleeding.
On Monday she had another ultrasound but this time it was in a hospital that delivers on average 7000 babies a year and they were equipped with state of the art equipment along with highly skilled technicians and specialists. This time she received a thorough diagnosis of the pregnancy and the related health concerns to her, regarding the placenta previa. A decision was made to bring together some support teams and specialists to care for the baby for the duration of the pregnancy and for my wife’s medical needs. My wife was moved to her own room, which is where she was to stay for the next nine weeks.