*This post contains frank descriptions relating to the female condition, if you get creeped out by "TMI" do not proceed*
I started this pregnancy with a lot more anxiety than when I was pregnant with Owen or Jonas. The general point being--we are not where we planned on being in our lives right now. We thought we'd be graduated and have a job, with a regular income, and our own health insurance. But we aren't.
So being pregnant without our own health insurance was frustrating to me. I was frustrated about having to apply for Medicaid.
I started considering what any other options might be. There is a Birth Center in a city about an hour away from here, where one of my friends had delivered her two babies. So I started looking in to that option.
It would cost $4,100 to deliver there. I was thinking maybe we could just pay for the delivery ourselves. We could apply for Medicaid in case we needed to be transferred to the hospital and for the baby's care, but otherwise just pay for it out of our student loans.
I'm confident that if I was committed to having a drugless birth I could. (With Jonas I went in with no plan to do so but labored naturally for hours on Pitocin, until I freaked out about "pushing" and got a spinal at what ended up being 15 minutes before Jonas was born.) But sure, I believe it is "within the power" of all women to birth without pain relief, and that many births can go fine outside the hospital setting. So I was having a serious debate with myself about the option of not going to an OB.
Then at 7 weeks I had some pink spotting. It was not red, but I know the difference between normal-colored vaginal fluids and pink. So I called my OB. He wanted me in right away.
Women who have had a past ectopic pregnancy have a 15% chance of any future pregnancy being ectopic. Due to my not having insurance yet we had not been in for any preliminary bloodwork. (Monitoring rising HCG levels to rule out a possible ectopic is common practice.) So we went in for a sonogram.
The sonogram looked good. There was a healthy yolk-sack, little fetus with a regular heartrate at 122 bpm. And my tube was clear. (Interesting medical side note: The sonographer was certain she could see a healthy corpus luteum on my right ovary. That indicates I ovulated from my right side and my left tube snatched the egg out of the air. . . or whatever my insides are filled with.)
The sonogram revealed an area of what looked like some inner-uterine bleeding, not entirely uncommon, but hopefully wouldn't cause any more real problems.
But I left that day with some very interesting thoughts going through my head. There's always the stress and trauma of thinking something's wrong to deal with, but I also felt like I had been given a sign. I felt like my Father in Heaven was telling me I needed to let go of my pride, get set up to see my doctor, and recognize that "hands off" prenatal care is not what I needed.
So I did. I put my paperwork through I made appointments.
At 11 weeks and 3 days I went in for my first appointment with the nurse. She took stats and drew blood.
That afternoon, I felt something strange and I went to the bathroom where I began bleeding. I called and got an appointment with the sonographer at the hospital in a few hours. I bled heavily until my appointment. I was not very optimistic about what the results would be at that point.
The first thing our sonographer said was, "Well, we've got a nice strong heartbeat--so lets just get that out there." She was training a younger girl, so she talked a lot and was doing a lot of angles, and kept saying what a beautiful baby it was.
I layed there in shock. I recognized that she had told me that the baby was fine--but I was seriously bleeding!
So we went down to my doctors office to talk to him about the results. He said it looks like the same issue as at the 7 week sonogram--this same area of bleeding. He said it looked promising as the area was beginning to show more mass like maybe there is a blood clot forming or something starting to heal up. He told us this bleeding usually doesn't last the whole pregnancy usually it heals up by around 13-15 weeks.
Inner-uterine bleeding is a risk-factor for miscarriage, so it is still very possible at this point, but my doctor expressed confidence that most of the time these areas of bleeding heal up ok and everything is fine. Since they can see the collection of blood in my uterus-it is probable that I will continue to have bleeding on and off until the area is totally resolved.
So after that experience I felt like I was definitely doing the right thing sticking with my doctor.
I don't have to feel like "less of a woman" because I have a moderate risk pregnancy that requires extra monitoring. Fertility is a precious gift. Some women's fertility is more fragile than others, and takes more protecting. I want to feel grateful for my opportunity to bear children, and not pressured into a birthing experience that any one else considers "ideal."
My doctor is an OB. He is a male. He is intelligent. He is capable. He is friendly. He is compassionate. He understands and respects how emotionally tied women are to their fertility.
I've been seeing him for the 4 years we've lived here. We've been together through a miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy, laproscopic surgery, and salpingectomy. Then the pregnancy and birth of my second child and now the pregnancy of my third.
I'm grateful to be with a doctor whose judgment I trust, and I'm grateful for the personal inspiration I am entitled to that allows me to trust my own decisions.