Today was a bit scary. I experienced some discharge, which is nothing unusual in any pregnancy, but in the past week, it has looked different. By noon, I also noticed some clotted blood. Alarm bells immediately started ringing in my head. Having gone through one miscarriage is enough to trigger panic based on tiny bits of evidence. And I don't know if it was my panic or a real symptom, but I started to feel some cramping in my lower belly.
So off to the doctor's walk-in clinic I went, around mid-afternoon. Luckily, I'm able to go to the university health centre, which has a relatively short waiting time compared to your average Quebec clinic. I took a ticket to registering for the walk-in appointment. Once called, I promptly burst into tears explaining what the matter was. The administrative person was a complete doll. She gave me tissues and said she'd rush me in to see a nurse. As promised, I didn't have to wait very long. The nurse, likewise, was a sweetheart. She tried to contact the hospital where my family doctor works and when that proved difficult, she ran to the nearest doctor in the clinic when she heard a door open in the hall. The doc prioritized my case and I followed her straight into her office.
The doc didn't seem too worried, but said it would be better if I went to the emergency room right away and try to get an ultrasound to confirm everything was ok. She even offered me a taxi receipt to get there, but by this time hubby had made it to the clinic and we drove ourselves to the hospital. Of course, by now it was about 3.15 in the afternoon and, as usual, traffic in Montreal was horrendous. We stupidly decided to follow the GPS's advice which routed us to the highway; it quickly became apparent that was going to get us nowhere fast. Some clever map reading and we made it to the hospital by 3.50 or so.
At which point, of course, I had to take another ticket to wait in line for triage. The lovely triage nurse, like the one in the clinic, was super sweet, although she did laugh at my doctor's note mumbling something like "the way she wrote this is ..." (my doc had underlined the word URGENT and ULTRASOUND TODAY about three times).
"I doubt you'll get an ultrasound today," the nurse said honestly. "They close at four." She glanced at the huge clock in the emergency room which indicated it was now 3.55pm.
But she promised that I'd get seen by a doctor and when hubby inquired about waiting times, she said I was coded as a level 3 priority, which I guess means that you'll be rushed through. Because a few minutes later, another lovely nurse was taking my blood and then took me to a more isolated spot to wait for my next call because I was crying again. The next call came almost right away - this one to put a hospital wristband on my arm. Only then did I notice that most other people in the waiting room had similar wristbands.
Then, I had to wait. For about 45 minutes. It was at this point that many different thoughts went through my head. Everything from recalling the last time I was in an emergency room, just after my miscarriage. And how I had just told almost everyone I know - even my students - about my pregnancy, and how sad it would be if something went wrong and I had to tell them. And numerous other things: like how I was better off than the poor sods being carried in on stretchers, or they guy in the wheel chair who looked about as sick as my dad had when he was dying of cancer. A hospital emergency wait room is an odd, odd place.
Eventually, I was called into one of the treatment rooms and asked to change into a gown. I kept my shoes on and put my sweatshirt back on too, as it was so darn cold. Hubby found me there with some food and magazines to pass the time.
Some 15-20 minutes later a doctor came in. He asked a few questions, basically didn't look too worried but asked if anyone had checked the baby's heartbeat.
"No. Not yet."
So he went and got the doppler. Within two seconds he found the heartbeat. And I can tell you that there was never a better sound in the world.
Up till this point, I had been stressing out that everything might have gone wrong. But hearing the heartbeat was solid evidence that things were probably ok. The doc asked me if I was due for an ultrasound soon.
"Not till October 1st," I replied. That would be my 20th week or so.
He began to say that it was probably fine to wait till then; that there was probably little difference. But something, I don't know what, stopped him mid-sentence and he said:
"It's probably better if you get one done tomorrow."
So, about 10 minutes later, having gotten fully dressed again, he came back with an ultrasound form and appointment time, and a new blue hospital card (not sure why I need a second one, but I guess I'll find out tomorrow).
The entire experience today left me exhausted. Once in the car, I felt all my muscles getting sore - perhaps I'd been holding a lot of tension in them. At home, I fell asleep for a little while.
This whole week has been way too stressful. Five hours of standing/talking/teaching yesterday on top of a successful party on Monday and the preparations several days before. Well, perhaps I just need to do less, eat more and rest. That's what I'll be doing for the foreseeable future.