I remember it like it was yesterday. I’d finished teaching for the day and was heading to an extended after school training session that wouldn’t finish until about 7pm when I felt that familiar gush of wetness that can usually only signal one thing… aunt flow has arrived for the month. The only problem? I was five weeks pregnant.
I tried not to panic as I quickly walked down to the toilet block to have a look. I knew that the risk of pregnancy complications after 30 was higher and bleeding in early pregnancy or really bleeding during pregnancy at all was not a good sign. Maybe it was just some cervical mucus, maybe I’d peed myself a little. But no, when I sat down and lowered my pants my worst fears were realised. There in my undies was not just a small spotting of blood but a decent pool of bright red like the start of my period.
I panicked and felt sick to the stomach but the training was starting any moment and nobody knew I was pregnant. Heck, the only reason we knew we were pregnant was because I’d been madly tracking everything from ovulation to base line temperatures for months and so at about 2 weeks when my period didn’t arrive and I had a wedding to go to that could involve enjoying some champagne if I hadn’t conceived again that month, I took a test and confirmed that indeed our dreams had come true and we were 1-2 weeks pregnant. Later that week, I had booked with my GP to get some bloods done and confirmed that yes early stages of pregnancy were on track. Until now.
I didn’t have time to think much longer so I rushed back to my classroom, grabbed some sanitary items and popped back to the toilet to put them on before rushing into the training. I was torn. If everything was fine, then I didn’t really need to go to the training anyway as I wouldn’t be there for much longer that year. On the flip side, if I missed the training and the bleeding during pregnancy was indeed a miscarriage, it would mean I would have to keep working and make that training up by coming to work for a day after everyone else and either train at another school or perform God knows what tasks at school all on my lonesome. And on top of that, If I was having a miscarriage, was there anything I could do about it?
I had a few more minutes before we had to be inside so I quickly called hubby, trying my best not to let the tears that were threatening to break loose, fall from my eyes. I went through the facts with him (that pregnancy complications after 30 were increased and the fact I was experiencing bleeding in early pregnancy didn’t look good) and we both decided there wouldn’t be much I could do anyway so I would go to the training and we would go see a GP that night when we got home.
That training was probably the longest 3 or so hours of my life. I couldn’t concentrate on a single word and I’m sure people thought I was being strange as I fought to hold back tears. As soon as it was over, I bolted for the car park and headed home to get hubby before we headed to a late-night doctor for some advice on whether this was a result of pregnancy complications after 30 or whether bleeding during pregnancy could be just fine. After I got home, I burst into tears, so upset that my body had failed me.
The bleeding had stopped and my pad was clean so presumably it had stopped within about half an hour. We waited for what felt like an eternity in that waiting room before we were welcomed into the GP’s office. Lucky she was lovely. She asked a few questions, did some poking around and after looking at my pad, it appeared that no more bleeding had happened since the initial lot. She didn’t give much away in regard to the bleeding during pregnancy but seemed a little concerned, especially when pushing on my right ovary was causing some pain.
I know one of the increased risks when it comes to pregnancy complications after 30 is ectopic pregnancy and wondered if this was what was causing the pain. I’ve continued to have constant pains throughout the last 4 or so weeks, only mild like a constipation pain, but sometimes also having sharp pains in the ovaries and abdomen. Two nights ago, I woke up in excruciating pain, felt like vomiting and was sweating profusely but assumed it was just a stomach bug. Now I wondered if it was more and these pains weren’t normal but a sign of pregnancy complications after 30 like my mum had said. The GP told me to keep an eye on it, that bleeding in early pregnancy could just be the implantation bleed, but gave me a referral for ultrasound just to be safe and told me to book for the next morning.
Once we were home, I called in sick to work for the next day and hubby got the ok from his boss to start a little later. I don’t know how we slept that night or if we even did. In the morning I rang the ultrasound office and even though they normally book out months ahead, they were so understanding of the circumstances and squeezed me in for early that morning. About an hour later, off we went to the ultrasound to hopefully determine the reason for the bleeding in early pregnancy. Again, we waited for an eternity in that waiting room before being called, made even worse by the fact that you obviously need to drink the litre of water before an ultrasound and then hold that little bladder til its over.
Once inside I gowned up and we went through what was happening with our technician. The 3 of us then sat in that tiny, dark, little room and I think my heart stopped as he applied the cold gel and started moving the doppler around my belly. Time was standing still. Why wasn’t he saying anything?
Finally, he spoke and said that the good news was that he could see the sac where the baby would eventually be and there was a single foetus present and all seemed normal with my ovaries (no ectopic pregnancy phew) but being that I was only five or six weeks pregnant, we didn’t yet have a heartbeat. This is not usually present until after 6 weeks of gestation. I felt a slight rush of relief. He decided to do an internal ultrasound known as a transvaginal scan as well just to get a better look and at the end of this confirmed that everything looked normal for this stage of my pregnancy and I should go home, rest and see a GP again if any more bleeding during pregnancy occurred. He also suggested I go for another blood test to confirm that my HCG (pregnancy hormone) levels were still rising and rule out any other possible pregnancy complications after 30 that might be causing bleeding in early pregnancy.
Even though everything seemed ok, I think this made me extra nervous for the rest of my pregnancy. Would I have more bleeding during pregnancy? Was it still an early sign that I might miscarry later in the pregnancy? That first trimester in particular, when the risks of pregnancy complications after 30 can be so high was excruciatingly long and scary every time I had a weird pain or feeling.
But after a pretty much textbook rest of pregnancy, I’m happy to say I delivered a beautiful, healthy boy with no complications. Perhaps it was a late implantation bleed that caused my bleeding during pregnancy or as happens with many people just some spotting during pregnancy. All I know is it’s a scary experience I will never forget and hopefully not have to experience with my next pregnancy.
Did you have bleeding in early pregnancy or bleeding during pregnancy at any stage? What other pregnancy complications after 30 have you experience?