The Third Pregnancy
Years went by and I was together with my now second husband J and we decided to try for a baby quite early on in our relationship because I was not getting any younger (well, he neither, but you know how the scale tips more to the ladies side on this equation…). It was not as quick as I expected to get pregnant but we did manage to in about 6 months. We were over the moon and not in a moment suspected anything could go wrong. It was a new life, in a new country, with a new man. What could go wrong? Well, everything.
I was in Sweden already, where pre-natal and natal care are very different to Brazil. For starters you don't really get to see and be followed by an OB, but a midwife. It is usually the same midwife during the follow ups and then another midwife that delivers your baby. Usually because they don't even work at the same place (one is at a women clinic, the other at the maternity). You have of course the option to pay privately, which some people do, and hiring a doula, for example. That way she follows your pre-natal progress and comes to the delivery, wherever this may be.
Anyway, I was following the protocol here. I was taking my pre-natal supplements (folic acid), going to the visits to the midwife, which are not so frequent. In Swede, your first visit is around week 8-9, so that you can do a the CUB (Combined Ultrasound and Biochemical) screening test and predicts the risk of the baby having down syndrome or other chromosomal abnormalities. The CUB test comprises of a combination of blood work on the mom that needs to be done (at least in Sweden) in week 9, and then an ultrasound between weeks 11 and 14, but usually within week 12. The age of the mother at birth is also considered for the result. Most people do the test because it is an opportunity to have an ultrasound of the baby (again, here is Sweden you only usually get one chance at week 20 and if you are of a certain age or risk group you may be offered the CUB screening as well, which makes it at most 2 ultrasound scans the whole pregnancy). Anyway, during the ultrasound measurement of the fluid-filled area at the back of the baby's neck is taken. This is called Nuchal Translucency (NT). Then you get a risk factor for your baby to have chromosomal abnormalities. If the risk is high you may be offered another test called NIPT, but we will cover that on another post.
Back to my third pregnancy. I had done the blood test and was scheduled to go for my CUB screen ultrasound on 29th August 2012, a Wednesday. A few days before I had started feeling some cramps, that I put down to normal pregnancy cramping. On Monday they were quite intense at night but went away during the day. Then on Tuesday they were very intense and I started noticing some spotting. Honestly speaking, loosing the pregnancy had not remotely crossed my mind until I jumped out of bed and just shouted “please no, please no…” and felt a gush of blood coming out of me. J jumped out of the bed immediately and knew what was going on, there was no need to explain.
I want to the bathroom to shower and the blood just kept running out, in waves. I managed to catch the foetus and looked at it. It looked like my little finger with two little black eyes. I got J to find a container to take it to the hospital with us, in case it had any clues to why this had happened. We decided to call for an ambulance because there was no way that I would be able to make it to any hospital without bleeding huge amounts of blood. The ambulance came and I arrived at the hospital devastated. I spoke to the doctor who was to examine me in tears telling her that it was my third miscarriage and she was so sweet and trying to keep it positive saying things like “we don't know if it is a miscarriage yet”, but I knew. No one pregnant loses that amount of blood without losing the pregnancy. It is just not possible. Her exams confirmed it. It was so sad. I was crying non stop but also still feeling pain and bleeding.
This was the middle of the night and I stayed in the hospital to check that the body eliminated everything. I kept bleeding a lot and since they were not “measuring” somehow (not even sure there is a way to do it), I started feeling very week. At one point, I went to the toilet and I remember feeling that I would faint but I had not enough strength to ask for help. The found me on the floor in a pool of blood and put me on a wheelchair. I was admitted for the night, got a drip and was feeling the weakest and worse I have ever felt, physically. Emotionally I was devastated. I was so sick that I could not concentrate or really understand what the doctors were saying. I mean, I could understand the words (it was in English) but I could not comprehend what it meant. My brain was just not working normally and it would be a few days until it did.
In the middle of all that, J lay on my side on the bed I was laying (which in Sweden you are not really allowed to do) and proposed. It was so sweet. He said he was planning to do it after the scan, but since all of that had happened he had to change his plan. I said yes, even if I was not in the best state.
Staying the night meant that J had to leave. Again, in Sweden, there are not private rooms or rooms for loved ones unless you are in intensive care, which I was not. It was even worse, after all we had been through that day, to be parted, even if I really needed to rest. He went home to pick up a few items for me and I can only image how he spent the night, considering he is the master of the worries in any given situation.
We made it through though. Took the next few days off, rested and I tried to recover physically. Emotionally, I was trying to justify being back to “once is bad luck” and tried to move on as well as I could.