On Thursday, May 20, at exactly 17 weeks, I went to work as usual. Mid-morning I passed a big blood clot, an alarming mass that filled me with dread. I called James in a bit of a panic and then called one of the midwives (there were five in the practice). She calmly told me not to worry, and so I tried to go on with my day as if nothing had happened.
Suddenly, around 2pm, the floodgates opened, and I started bleeding pretty heavily. I was alone in my office, I had no other clothing, no sanitary napkins, nothing. Nevertheless, I was calm. I called James, and I called the midwife. She told me to go to the Emergency Room. James was at work in Boston so I called my friend Laura and asked her to meet me at the ER. I lay on the floor in the office as I made these calls, trying somehow to stem the bleeding.
In my memory at this point, it was almost as if my body separated and I no longer had any awareness of anything below my ribs. I was afraid to know what was going on in my womb. All my attention was in my upper chest. An almost icy calm had taken over. I felt removed, scarcely breathing, yet hyper aware.
I didn't hesitate about driving myself to the ER, which was close by, and on the drive I began to breathe again. I remember sitting at a stoplight on the way there, feeling Halia kick. Her kicks were just beginning to be identifiable, and I wasn't always sure what I was feeling, but these kicks right against the seatbelt were as clear as could be. She was doing her best to reassure me and to help me find my body again.
By the time I got to the hospital the bleeding had slowed, and Laura and I spent a while waiting. A resident came into our room with a portable ultrasound, and, as I already knew from the kicks, Halia was alive and well inside. The placenta also looked good. Once again, they didn't see any cause for the bleeding other than my "friable" cervix so I was told to go home, take it easy, see the midwife again soon to check in, and not to worry too much.
Bottom line: the baby is healthy and that's what matters. That's what they told me loud and clear, that's what I told everyone else, that's what I told myself over and over again. That's what I wanted to believe. That's what I wanted to will to be true.
But the truth was, everything changed for me that day. I hoped with all my heart that we would make it through, but I also knew that disaster had struck. Any sense of safety had shattered.
Day 18 of 31, 15 Cheshvan 5774