When early pregnancy isn’t ‘normal’

What is normal?

Is there any such thing? Certainly when it comes to pregnancy I’m sure it’s a bit of a fine line.

It’s a question that I asked constantly when I was seven weeks pregnant and had been bleeding off and on since my period had been due. I only tested because I had an inkling something else may be going on.

It varied from very light to scarily heavy at times. I was absolutely convinced I was or already had lost my baby.

I remember calling my boss in floods of tears after a GP told me I needed to go to hospital for an early scan. I felt certain the news was going to be bad.

I found out I was pregnant in the loos at my company offices when I was roughly four weeks. Quite the sentimental story!

I had been sat at my desk feeling sicker and sicker. It had been going on for a couple of days. We had been trying for a baby for about four months at this point.

I knew my cycles well so was aware this could be it. However the bleeding had me convinced I was out for that month.

I don’t know why I tested. Maybe I was bored in my lunch break or it was a bit of intuition but there I was peeing on a stick in the office loos. When it came up pregnant I couldn’t believe it.

I remember buying lunch, some kind of goats cheese panini, and then sitting at my desk chomping away as I digested the news. It slowly dawned on me that certain cheeses are a no-no in pregnancy.

I looked from side to side as I slowed my chewing and dryly swallowed just my second bite of the panini. I then removed every bit of goats cheese from it.

My husband couldn’t believe it either when I finally got home and told him. I had mentioned to him only a few days earlier that my period had started.

Now here I was telling him I was pregnant.

As the weeks rolled on the bleeding didn’t stop and I got more and more anxious. I took test after test at home. Clear Blue made a fortune that month. Finally I went to see a GP and was sent to hospital that day to the early pregnancy clinic.

I couldn’t stop crying, I was convinced I was losing or already had lost the baby.

I was seen about two hours after my GP appointment, so the NHS really did its job. It’s amazing the support you get when you really need it.

So there I was holding hands with my other half in the waiting room trying not to sob in a roomful of people.

The receptionist asked me for a urine sample and I just about squeezed one out. This was obviously very early in the pregnancy game for me. Having had two kids, now I know if you see a doctor or midwife or nurse when pregnant, always bring wee.

We waited about 30 minutes, which is about average for scans I found. They seem to book multiple people in at one time as I guess unreliable people have made life difficult for the staff.

Finally it was our turn. We were ushered in to a dark room where I was asked to hop up on a bed and pull my trousers down a bit.

When the ultrasound device was placed on my belly she looked around while reassuring me that the baby could still be too small to see. She couldn’t find anything, so then she said she would try an internal ultrasound. This involved a quite alarming phallic bit of plastic attached by a wire to the scanner being put up my foo-foo.

I was still totally freaked out at the thought of what was coming next so I really didn’t care, I just needed to know. The imaging technician had the screen facing her so we couldn’t see anything. There was a pause. The longest pause imaginable.

Then she turned the screen towards us as she said: “There’s your baby.”

You couldn’t see much, just a blob, but that blob stood out because of the rapid flickering of a teeny tiny heart. At just seven weeks there was the heart beating wild and strong to reassure us she was ok. I couldn’t hold back my tears of relief and joy.

A doctor told us after the scan that they didn’t have an explanation for the bleeding, it just happens sometimes. I should keep an eye on it, but other than that there was no more to say.

As we left we chatted excitedly about how relieved we were and how amazing what we just saw was. We pushed the button for the lift, still chatting away.

Then a couple emerged from the same double doors as we had just come from. Their expressions grim and eyes wet with tears. They took one look at us, saw the lift had not yet arrived, then dashed to the stairs.

I don’t know what news they had just received, but I can only guess it was the worst.

I can’t imagine what it must be like for women who do get the worst news imaginable in these clinics.

They have had the positive pregnancy tests and started to plan for a happy future, only to have it torn away from them shortly after.

As for me, the bleeding did stop, but not until about 10 weeks. There was never any explanation for it. Just one of those things.

Our daughter was born after I had reached full-term and was totally healthy.

I had similar bleeding with my second, again there was no explanation.

I suppose the reason I’m sharing this is that I would have given anything for a glimmer of hope when I was imagining the worst had happened. I hope this might provide that glimmer of hope if you’re in a similar situation.

I know bleeding can be a sign of a miscarriage. But it’s not always the case. Always see your midwife or doctor, ask for a scan if you’re worried.

The NHS is there for you, so use it.

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