SCH

I was five-and-a-half weeks pregnant. It was early August. We were at the county fair, inside the circus tent. Something went wrong with the cooling system and it was ten thousand degrees in there. I was already feeling badly — first trimester nausea had well set-in — but suddenly I felt really awful, like I was going to faint & die awful.

We left the fair early.

I don’t remember if it was that night or the next morning, but when I went to the bathroom, there was blood — the very last thing that you want to see when you are pregnant. I tried not to panic. I’d learned from my first pregnancy that sometimes spotting can be a “normal” pregnancy symptom. But over the next twenty-four hours, the bleeding got worse. I was shattered and quickly called a close family member who had suffered several miscarriages for advice. She said that it sounded like a miscarriage (bleeding increasing over time) and advised that I call my physician. It was Sunday. I needed to be alone. I left Roman inside with Matthew and laid down in our backyard and wept into the grass.

I cried so hard, for so long. What was happening felt wrong. The baby growing inside of me was supposed to be okay, supposed to be mine. I didn’t want to accept it, but I felt like I had to face the facts so that I could survive it if the worst was confirmed.

The next morning, I went into my doctor’s office. I received an inconclusive exam and was referred to our local hospital for an ultrasound.

I was beyond shocked when I heard and saw the tiny, five-and-a-half-week-old heartbeat on the screen. The tech said that the heartbeat sounded good and strong, but the doctor would have to take a closer look at the scan. I left the hospital that day entirely confused. It was hard to be happy because I knew that something was wrong. And at the same time, I was overjoyed to learn that my baby’s heart was beating.

It was a long wait until the next day when my doctor finally gave me some real news. I had a subchorionic hemorrhage (also called a subchorionic hematoma depending on who you ask). Called an SCH for short, what it is essentially, is a blood clot or tear in the lining of the uterus.

My doctor gave me very little additional information because very little is known about the SCH and what causes it. She told me that most SCHs resolve themselves by twelve weeks. She told me that I didn’t do anything to cause it and that there was nothing to be done to treat it. She recommended that I didn’t “run a marathon anytime soon,” but that otherwise I could resume normal activity because the outcome of the SCH (good or bad) would be the same regardless of anything that I did. (Soon after speaking with her, I learned that the medical community is divided on that opinion, but I’ll get to that in a moment.)

I got off the phone feeling relieved, but also confused. So I did what all millennials do and Googled the hell out of it. I quickly learned that SCHs were relatively common, but that there was even less known about them than I’d imagined. The size and extremity of an SCH can be extremely varied. There are small ones that cause no bleeding or symptoms and large ones that can cause gushing blood and severe cramping. In worst case scenarios, an SCH can lead to premature delivery or miscarriage and there’s no way of knowing as to whether an SCH will grow or shrink and disappear. It’s all a mystery.

The medical community is split regarding treatment of SCHs. Some recommend strict bed rest and pelvic rest. While others, like my doctor, recommend no significant change in normal activity. As for me, I suppose you can say that I was one of the lucky ones. My SCH was relatively small and my bleeding — while regular and terrifying — never amounted to anything truly significant. However, I did notice an undeniable increase in bleeding whenever I increased my activity level. Therefore, at the advice of some of the women in my SCH support group, and at the feeling in my gut, I decided to put myself on bed rest and pelvic rest until the SCH resolved. Of course, being the soul caretaker of a one-year-old made the idea of strict bed rest impossible, but I did my best. On days, when I pushed myself to “just do more” I always noticed an increase is volume/frequency of bleeding and so I did my best to take it easy, no matter what.

For me, the most difficult thing about having a subchorionic hemorrhage/subchorionic hematoma was the emotional toll that it took on me. I was already dealing with hyperemesis gravidarum at the time and my spirit & body were weak. The best way that I can describe an SCH — and the many women in my support group agreed with this — is to say that it’s a total mind fu*k. You are living in constant fear. Every time you go to the bathroom you wonder– Will there be blood? How much blood will there be? Then you’ll go for days at a time and there will be nothing and you will feel so grateful & relieved and then the next time you pull your pants down — bam, you’re bleeding again.

It’s a constant back and forth. On top of the already trying physical & hormonal changes associated with early pregnancy, it can be entirely emotionally draining. There were so many days and nights where I just felt like the life was being sucked right out of me. Still, I did my best to stay positive, and most importantly grateful. I would go through whatever I needed to go through to have my baby in my arms in the end.

A few weeks into my second trimester, my bleeding stopped. As of my twenty-week ultrasound (I’m twenty-eight weeks now) it appears as though the SCH has resolved itself. The experience of living with the SCH has made me cautious about feeling relieved, but I am extremely grateful to have come this far and hopeful that the worst is behind us.

So far, my final stretch of this pregnancy has been positive. I have normal aches and pains — hellish heartburn and ungodly lower back pain. Still, I would take these inconveniences any day of the week just to know that my baby girl is healthy.

Thank you again to all of you who were here for me throughout the nightmares that were my first and second trimesters. I hope that reading through my accounts shed some light on why I was so absent/feeling so terrible. I’ve come a long way and will always be grateful for the kindness that you all showed me throughout that time. xx

7 thoughts on “Subchorionic Hemorrhage // Subchorionic Hematoma”

  1. You’ve gone through so much these past months, just shows how strong you are. I’m happy you’re healthy and your SCH has resolved itself!

  2. Oh girl, wow! I know that I felt like shit during my first trimester but to then have THIS thrown in the mix. Holy hell. I’m so so sorry that you had to endure it but I’m so happy that you’re doing better. Nothing but positive and fighting energy sent your way and to your baby girl AND your uterus! -Misty

  3. Thanks for your blog post. Its the first mention of feeling terrible beforehand I’ve seen and that’s exactly what happened to me yesterday. I woke up feeling excessively tired and kept telling my husband that I felt like I was coming down with something. Then the spotting started. Got an ultrasound today that confirmed SCH. I’m 6 weeks and 4 days and the heartbeat was fine but I’m terrified of losing the baby.

    1. Have faith, Jennifer! I know how terrifying it is, but my baby girl is 5 months old now and healthy as a horse. <3 Sending you love and strength. xoxo

  4. I hardly ever write comments, but I had to say thank you. I was admitted to hospital 4 days ago due to heavy bleeding ( I am 9 weeks and no previous spotting). Partly, the reason why I bled do badly is because I was on baby aspirin after an IVF treatment. I thought I had lost my baby and my world collapsed. Then at ER the ultrasound showed that my baby was fine. I now live with such anxiety, I just want to protect her/him, but there is nothing I can do. I am on bed rest for a week, which I hope hrlps. Thank you for giving me some hope.

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