Monday, June 16, 2008

Ah! Freak out

Well I know what spotting is now because it happened to me. And boy did it FREAK ME OUT. I'm not quite sure why it freaked me out so much but I almost gave myself a panic attack. Here's a bit of background.

We were camping on North Stradbroke Island. My back had been sore for a week but was on the mend. I'd decided that I was well enough for a nice walk with Toby and some friends. We walked along the beach and round a headland and then along another beach and round another headland and so on. We went for a coffee, my first in ages. I ordered a weak coffee and fully expected to not be able to finish it but I did and I enjoyed every sip. We then continued our walk. I'm not really sure how much further we walked although I could work it out. It took us a while because we stopped to watch a pod of 30 or 40 dolphins surfing and jumping out of the water. It was so beautiful. At the end of the walk I went to the toilet and when I wiped - excuse me if too much information; sensitive eyes may stop reading now - found a small dark red blood clot about the size of my little finger nail on the paper.

I immediately panicked. Was the coffee a bad idea? Was the walk a bad idea? Was I going to have a miscarriage? Would I be better off if I was at home? What should I do? Did I need to take it easy or not worry? Should I seek medical attention? I'd had a feeling something like this might happen. I had noticed a very slight stain on the paper a couple of times when I'd been to the toilet that morning. I think one of them must have happened in the night as I remember having a sort of daydream that I started to bleed whilst no one was around but me and my friend and so I ended up telling her I was pregnant.

I managed to control my breathing and calm down a little. When I came out of the bathroom I waited to discreetly tell Toby and we sat down for a while on the pretense that my back was sore. Our friends offered to walk back and get the car but Toby ran after them and told them what was going on. Lucie came and sat with me and Toby whilst Scott went for the car.

On the way into the campsite Toby noticed an ambulance on the beach so whilst I lay down and got comfortable with some water and pillows and tried to relax, he and Scott ran down the beach to chat to the paramedic. Before she left the beach she called into the campsite to reassure me. She said it was perfectly normal and that I should take it easy, try to relax and let Toby look after me. She said if it was an actual miscarriage it would be more like a period with lots of blood and cramping. I was cramping a little but I think it was mainly because the super hot curry we'd had the night before hadn't yet evacuated. I started to over-analyse every symptom. She said my anxiety levels were probably high because I'd lost my previous pregnancy but that the only way to know for sure whether the baby was okay would be to do an internal ultrasound and they didn't have those facilities on the island. If I was worried I could be transported back to the mainland.

I decided just to take it easy and later that evening I was feeling well enough to go to the house that the rest of our friends were staying in for dinner. However, the spotting and feeling uneasy continued, and each time I noticed spotting, usually after going to the toilet, it made me a little bit upset. By this time the spotting was more like a dark discharge than blood clots. The colour was more of a brownish colour indicating that it was residual from the clot I'd lost earlier. I was relieved we'd told our friends as it was really nice having someone else there who knew what I was going through.

The next morning it was still happening and I wasn't feeling great. Not nauseous as usual but mentally and emotionally abstracted. Even the lack of nausea worried me. Did it mean my levels of HCG were lowering, which can indicate the baby's growth has slowed or stopped? I told myself it was just because I was extremely relaxed and in an environment where I could laze around and do nothing. The morning is a bit of a blur. My friend had her own personal trauma when she lost something of immense sentimental value and became really upset. I couldn't do much to console her and can't remember much about the event. I don't know if this inability to remember clearly is a normal symptom of pregnancy. I have muddled up the order in which things happened and can't remember details. I remember feeling unwell and just wanting to chill out on my own and then a load of our friends (who don't know I'm pregnant) turned up and I felt like I had to put on a strong face. It seemed like people just kept arriving at the site but I can't remember who specifically or what we talked about, what order they arrived in, who they were with. It's bizarre. Is this what people mean when they talk about "pregnancy brain"? Or is it possible it's stress related?

Eventually we got home but by then I was exhausted. I was really stressed about how upset my friend was on top of everything else. I was also upset, probably selfishly given her circumstances, that she hadn't asked how I was feeling or how the spotting was. I felt like I'd lost her support after only having it for a short while and I was missing it. But I realise she had her own things to concern her. I think I was probably being quite hormonal and hyper-sensitive. I had a warm shower and chilled out with my books, reading up on spotting. I was put a bit more at ease by what I read. It seems no one quite knows why some spotting occurs (some is implant bleeding and others occur when the period would normally be due but mine was neither) but it is quite common and doesn't seem to be harmful. I just wish it would stop so I could stop worrying about it.

I went to bed
exhausted at 8.30pm but was still awake at 9.30pm. All through the night I woke up with discomfort in my stomach, a bit nauseous but more like intestinal cramping. Finally in the morning I was able to go to the toilet and relieve myself but the intense nausea crept in and I've been feeling pretty rotten on and off all morning. The off periods don't seem to last very long and I'm struggling to focus at work. Because it isn't that long since I was last like this, plus I had so much time off work last week with my bad back, I feel like I can't tell anyone how I feel. I keep taking deep breaths to try and ward off the nausea so I'm sure they can tell I'm not quite right.

I'm trying very hard not to get stressed but it's difficult. My friend is upset, I'm experiencing spotting, work is crazy (although at the moment I'm twiddling my thumbs waiting for the work to be delivered), I feel absolutely awful but don't feel like I can tell anyone. I think I'll get my blood tests done today and next Monday is my appointment with the obstetrician. After that I'll feel better about telling close friends and family but I'd rather not tell work until it's a bit more definite and by then this crazy period will probably be over.

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