We had what turned out to be a very minor scare yesterday, although it didn’t feel minor when it was happening. Around 2PM, I went to the bathroom and had just the tiniest bit of spotting. As you can imagine, I totally freaked out. I paged the doctor and when I didn’t get a call back within an hour, I called labor and delivery at the hospital directly and spoke to the resident. She asked me a bunch of questions, including whether this was my first baby, at which point, I immediately started crying, saying that it was my second, but that my older child had died from meningitis last year, so I was panicky about every little thing. She was so kind and told me just to come on in and get checked out.
By the time we got to the hospital, I was pretty sure that there was nothing to worry about. I’d had no further bleeding, no pain, no contractions, no increased pressure, and Jackson had been squirming around pretty regularly since it happened. And yet as soon as we set foot on the L&D hallway, I started to cry. Not because I was afraid, really, but because it was the first time we’d been back to L&D since Hudson was born there 2 years ago. Despite the agonizing pain of my drug-free labor, I have nothing but fond memories and nostalgia for the place and thinking about going back again in May to have this baby without my sweet little girl there to hug and kiss her baby brother just about did me in.
When the OB on call at the hospital (who is the person who should have returned my page) finally saw me, she apologized for not calling me back, and said if I ever don’t get a return call within 15 minutes, that I should call back right away. But the L&D nurse was totally awesome and told me that on nights and weekends, I can just call L&D directly—no need to page the doctor first. She also said that her rule of thumb is that if I am ever worried about something, it makes a lot more sense to come in and get it checked out rather than sitting at home worrying about it. She said whenever women tell her, “Well, I felt so stupid coming in when it’s probably nothing,” she always tells them, “But you’ll feel a lot better when you go back home and that’s what matters.” I can’t tell you how much I appreciated hearing her say that. She said she totally understood why I was so afraid, that she’d been a “hot mess” during pregnancy, and that if she’d been through what I had, she would probably not have even set foot out of the house yet. Everyone was so kind and we were in and out in under two hours.
It turned out that everything was totally fine—no contractions, no visible bleeding at all, cervix is still totally long and closed, baby’s heartbeat is fine, he was moving around, and the placenta is in the right place (no concern about placenta previa, which can cause bleeding at this stage). So there’s no apparent cause for the tiny bit of bleeding—the doctor’s best guess is just a very engorged cervix, which is pretty common at this point, and sometimes even the slightest irritation can trigger a little bit of bleeding. How nice for me. Still, the doctor was very clear that I should always come in for any bleeding, no matter how slight, which made me feel even better about my decision to come in to begin with.
When I got my discharge papers, under the section about my history, it said, “previous normal spontaneous vaginal delivery at 38 weeks but neonatal death postpartum due to meningitis.” I hadn’t told them that she was 17 months old and they just assumed that she’d been a tiny infant. All I could think was, “SHE WAS NOT A NEONATE! SHE WAS 17 MONTHS OLD! TODDLERS ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO DIE FROM MENINGITIS!” Not that it mattered to them clinically, but to me, this description seemed to omit with the punch of a few buttons the very full life she had, short though it was.
I can only hope we don’t have to go through that again anytime in the next 17 weeks. Really. Please? Pretty please? I hope that the next time we go back to L&D, it will be to meet a beautiful, healthy boy who will help us begin to put some of the shattered pieces of ourselves back into their proper places. Seventeen weeks seems like such a very long time, especially without my sweet Hudson to keep me laughing all the way. She is just so very missing and so very missed.