This is a very personal post, I almost didn't write it but what I went through was scary and I thought I would share it.
On Thursday morning, I woke up as usual bursting for the loo - I blame it on the baby being head down but I'm the same pregnant or not! When I got to the bathroom, my PJ bottoms were soaked in fresh blood and the toilet bowl was full of blood, it wasn't like when you get your period by surprise in the night, this was enough blood to scare me! I was 33weeks and 5days pregnant and terrified!
The baby doesn't normally move in the mornings and this morning was no different - no movement obviously made the situation scary but I had to keep thinking that it was normal not to feel her move.
I had Hubby call the labour ward for advice, I was too anxious to do it myself - trying to keep myself busy by just focusing on getting dressed and cuddling our toddler. Over the phone the labour ward asked a few questions such as if I had any pain, which I didn't and if the blood was fresh, watery or brown - this was bright red fresh, just like a cut.
We were advised to go straight in to be assessed. By 8am we were at the PRUH (Princess Royal University Hospital in Farnborough nr Bromley). Firstly the midwife took us to a triage room and checked a few details and looked at my pyjamas and pad to see how much blood I'd lost, she also asked me to do a wee sample and checked my tummy over before strapping me to a monitor - the moment we heard our baby's heartbeat was just such a relief!
The midwife explained to me that with bleeding they admit you to hospital and I would be in for at least 24hours - I wasn't quite prepared for this, in my mind all I could think of was if baby was alive and I seemed to think that now we knew she was alive and not in any distress I would be free to go. I have a bit of a phobia of hospitals (I had childhood kidney disease) but at that moment I fainted! I like to think it was just because I hadn't had breakfast but lets face it, I'd lost a lot of blood and had just been told I'd be in at least over night!
When the doctor came to see me, they did an internal to see if the blood was coming from cervix or if I was dilating - I really hate the internals but it showed the blood was fresh and was coming from further inside and I wasn't dilating. They wanted to fit me with a drip tap just in-case, this also really annoys me, I hate them, I've got tiny scars on my arms from having them as a child and I do wish they would just fit one if they are definitely going to use it! The doctor had so much trouble trying to fit it that she had to put it in my elbow crease. They also took a few blood samples from me for testing. I chose this moment as moment 2 to faint! - This time they stuck me on the oxygen mask! - honestly, it had nothing to do with the drip tap in my arm, I just needed breakfast!
At this point, they were unsure as to the cause, bleeding in late pregnancy can come from damage to the cervix, sex, a knock or fall, ruptured blood vessel, low lying placenta or part of the placenta coming away from the wall (Placental Abruption).
I was being moved to the maternity ward - which is basically through a door! Labour ward, maternity ward and the oasis birth centre are all in the same area on the 3rd floor separated only by glass double doors.
The bleeding stopped by lunch time which was a relief, I have R neg blood type which meant that I needed to have a dose of Anti-d and I was also being sent for a scan to check the placenta - these didn't happen until the evening of day 2 because they were so busy. At first I was in a shared bay usually reserved for inductions (There are never more than 4 in a shared bay at the pruh) and was moved later that night at 10pm to my own room because they needed my bed for an induction.
On the shared bay, I met a lovely girl called Amelia who was only a few days behind me in pregnancy but was in because her waters had broken and she was having contractions. - The doctors had given her steroid jabs to help her baby's lungs in case she went into full labour and also stuck hormone patches on her tummy to try and stop the contractions. Luckily they worked and she was also allowed home - I hope to bump into her when we both reach or due dates!
I got a little more sleep in my own room but it was still very noisy and disruptive through the night, all I could hear were alarms going off and doors closing. Oh and a midwife came in and woke me at 1am to check a few details! I was also woken for blood pressure readings in the night and just before 6am on both mornings to monitor the baby.
In the pruh, breakfast is self service from 8am with a choice of cereals and bread (no toaster!), I was really shocked to find the lady in the queue in front of me had had a c-section the previous afternoon and was expected to walk from her room to the breakfast cart, make her own breakfast and carry her tray all the way back to her room - perhaps it's all part of your rehab but the poor lady could hardly even walk, let alone carry anything! - obviously I carried her tray for her. Lunch at 12 and dinner at 5 are both a manned cart that you need to go to and have choices of really awful smelling stodgy - microwaved potatoes seemed to be the most popular choice. The only fresh fruit I saw on offer in 3 days was a brown banana and for some reason which I'm not sure about, I wasn't allowed a banana - perhaps because I'd already said yes to crackers? You literally have half an hour at best to get yourself to the food cart and grab food before it's taken away again and veggie or special dietary needs seemed to be ignored - unless you are happy with microwaved potato and a portion of butter.
My blood test results came back showing I would need anti-d because of my blood type (B negative) I'd had a dose of anti-d not long ago, when I was 28 weeks - I'd also had this before in my first pregnancy. It hurts, it's quite a large needle and goes into the muscle at the top of your arm, leaving you a bit tingly! I've found afterwards I get a bit warm and also a bit sleepy but the effects seem to wear off quickly.
The scan showed the bulk of my placenta was intact - they can't really see all of it and have assumed that part of the placenta coming away from the wall is the most likely cause of my bleeding, Placental Abruption. The doctor explained that it forms a clot and reseals itself. Baby's weight is 5lb 2oz already!
I was in over night for a second night and released on Saturday (day3) just before lunch, On day2 the doctor had said that as long as I'd had no further bleeding by lunch I would be free to go after the scan and anti-d but because both didn't happen to early evening, and because the ward was so busy, I wasn't discharged :-(
One of the hardest things being in hospital was being away from my hubby and toddler - although hubby stayed with me most of the time and our 22month old son came to visit me a few times each day - but it was heartbreaking on night two when toddler went to leave and realised I wasn't coming too - he just screamed "mama" and was desperately trying to get back through the doors to me - needless to say, I was in tears walking back to my room.
It's been almost 2 years since I was last in labour/maternity ward at the pruh and the staff are still all lovely - I've yet to come across any midwife who's not full of character and smiles, but what is very very clear is that the department is too busy since the close of the maternity ward in sidcup and the staff are over stretched. There aren't enough beds available to cope with the demand and as a patient, I felt how busy the ward and staff were - it's not a relaxing feeling. I was close to the door to the new Oasis Birthing Suite (Which I want to use if I can but I keep being told "no" because I might develop pre-eclampsia again - even though I haven't actually got it)) but it just seemed to be empty when the labour ward was over busy! - By having such a strict criteria for entry to the lovely relaxing oasis suite, it's empty! Honestly, it took me 30 seconds in a straight line to walk from the door of the oasis suite to the door of the labour ward where you would be transferred should you need further medical assistance than what they can deal with in the oasis suite. With it's lack of use, either the oasis suite needs to be a bit more flexible or I can see that it's just going to be turned into (desperately needed) more beds for the maternity ward.
I've been warned the bleeding can come back at any time and it's certainly left me a bit off, for the last few days I've felt over tired, drained and just weak, even just a small walk leaves me needing to stop along the way. Apart from that I feel fine (which is what I keep telling everyone!)
Emma in Bromley x