I woke up this morning around 5 am with some cramps--nothing painful, but insistent. I'd already planned to stay home from work, so I forced myself to stay in bed for a few more hours, though I didn't sleep a wink. Finally, around 8, I got up and went to the bathroom. I was relieved to see that my pantyliner was clean--then I looked down and saw the toilet bowl filled with bright red. Wiped--more bright red.
Well then. I flushed, went into the living room, sat down on the couch, and burst into tears.
Strangely, I then became very calm. I knew my doctor's office wouldn't open for another hour, and I figured it wouldn't make any difference at this point to wait until then. So I woke my husband up and told him we'd probably need to go get this checked out. Then I ate a bowl of cereal, took a shower, dug out a maxipad from the nether reaches of my bathroom cabinet, and got dressed. Called in sick to work, turned on the TV, and waited until 9.
When I finally got through to the office, the receptionist asked me to describe the bleeding, then paged my doctor, who was on duty at the hospital today. She said I should come in to L&D and she'd examine me there.
Let me tell you--Labor & Delivery, not such a fun place to be when you're terrified of receiving bad news. Everyone there was super nice, at least. They got me checked in quickly, with minimal exposure to gigantically pregnant women, and ushered me into a curtained area in triage. While we were waiting for the doctor, we could hear, a few beds down, the loud rapid whooshing of another woman's fetal heart monitor. I just lay there, staring up at the fluorescent light, with that baby's heartbeat penetrating my brain like some prenatal tell-tale heart.
The exam seemed to take forever--my doctor had trouble getting the US machine set up and plugged in (she doesn't often do exams in L&D, she explained--"It's like cooking in someone else's kitchen!"), and then she took her sweet time getting to the main event. "There's your bladder...you have a cyst on your right ovary...uh huh...it's so hard for me to see anything on this machine..." Finally, she found the fetus. Because the screen was so small and crappy, I couldn't see it, but my husband got up close--again, the machine was so crappy that the baby was just a blob, but a blob with a clearly beating heart. My doctor couldn't tell where the bleeding was coming from (I guess they don't have much call to use vaginal US on L&D, so that's why they have a machine from 1982?), but the nurse told me bleeding isn't uncommon at this stage, when the placenta is really digging in.
Got the usual proscriptions--no sex, no exercise--and definitely no flying, so no seeing my parents any time soon. My doctor (who is also Korean) made some Korean mother-in-law jokes to my husband, which got a smile out of him. Since things were quiet, she even showed us around the floor a little bit, taking us into one of the empty L&D rooms, which were, you know, institutional but fine.
So there it is. I'm spending the rest of the weekend on the couch, drinking lots of water to stave off cramps. I have my next prenatal appointment in 10 days, and hopefully things will stay calm from now on. I think I've had quite enough freaking out for a while. Thanks for the good wishes, it means so, so much to me to know you guys are out there pulling for me and this baby.