One of the reasons that I wanted to write this post was that when I first discovered that I had a subchorionic hematoma during my second pregnancy, the first thing that I did was to turn to Dr Google. After the diagnosis, I was in a daze and didn’t take in what the doctor was saying to me. I had to search for more information simply because I’d never heard of it before.
I really wish I hadn’t conducted my own research, because I was met with horror stories. I read everything from ‘it’s a disaster and you’ll lose the baby’ to ‘it’s nothing to worry about’. That was scary. Pregnancy is hard enough. Pregnancy complications can be terrifying and self-diagnosis is problematic.
I’m sharing my own ideas from my own experiences and whilst I am happy to share what happened to me, my story is by no means a substitute for real medical advice. So if you’re looking for detailed medical advice, this isn’t the post for you. But knowing how traumatic a subchorionic hematoma can be, I wanted to share my story in the hope that it might put just one woman at ease. My story is a happy story and my healthy baby is proof of that.
What is a subchorionic hematoma?
Like I’ve already said, I’m no medical expert. When I was diagnosed, I had to learn to pronounce it, I was that in the dark about what a SCH was. I recall being told al the time, that a subchorionic hematoma is a blood clot that was positioned in the uterus. It sounded scary, but apparently depending on it’s location could either cause problems or be relatively harmless.
For a more detailed medical understanding check out the pregnancy bible What to Expect.
How I was diagnosed
My pregnancy with my elder daughter was relatively hassle free. I’m not going to lie, I don’t enjoy pregnancy. I never bloom and glow, I literally balloon like a whale from the minute I pee on the stick. However, I was fortunate to have very little sickness and felt well considering that I was the size of a house and waddled from about 6 weeks gone.
As soon as I realised that I was pregnant with Miss A, I felt different. I didn’t feel well, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Something just felt wrong. I didn’t have any pregnancy symptoms whatsoever but this time it worried me. So much so, that I paid to have a private scan (I live in the UK where healthcare free on the National Health Service) when I was only 9 weeks pregnant. I was finally reassured that everything was fine and I started to relax.
Unfortunately, just 10 days later, I got up from my chair at work after lunch and noticed that I was bleeding. By bleeding I mean, my clothes and the chair were stained with bright red blood. This couldn’t be misconstrued as spotting or implantation bleeding because in fact it was much heavier than a period. The weird thing was that it was all completely painless. I didn’t feel any pain at all. Just shock.
I instantly left work – supported by some amazing people to whom I’ll forever be grateful to – in a complete daze and drove straight to the hospital. Truth be told, I can’t really remember what A&E said other than ‘not viable’, ‘loss’ and ‘nothing that could be done’. I was utterly heartbroken and resigned to the fact that I’d lost my baby.
The doctor booked me in for a scan at the Early Pregnancy Unit the next day – ironically at the same unit that I’d had my scans with my firstborn. That night, I barely slept. I found that I became obsessed with checking to see if I was bleeding. I was still bleeding relatively heavily through pads and layers of clothing. Thankfully, it was still painless which was strangely reassuring.
I arrived at the Early Pregnancy unit, fully expecting to be told that my baby was gone. I simply couldn’t imagine how that much bleeding could result in any other outcome. The sonographer scanned my tummy and almost straight away showed me my daughter’s heartbeat. I was completely and utterly shocked. After seeing so much blood, I just wasn’t expecting for them to say my baby was ok. I also wasn’t expecting them to tell me that I had a subchorionic hematoma that measured 7.5cm x 5cm x 2cm, which I was told was on the large side.
I was immediately ushered to see a consultant at the hospital who explained fully that a subchorionic hematoma was rare, occurring in 1% of pregnancies but that even with a clot the size of mine, I was likely to have a healthy pregnancy and baby. This was reassuring. I did however now have to have all of my care to be led by the consultant as opposed to the community midwife team.
Because of some issues following my first labour (which wasn’t as easy as the pregnancy) I was already considered as having a high-risk pregnancy this time around. The diagnosis of the subchorionic hematoma (SCH) just meant that I was checked even more regularly. I had more ultrasound scans as unfortunately my SCH was so large and there was a chance that my placenta might have been damaged and resulting in my daughter being not getting the nutrients that she needed.
I was advised to take things as easy as possible, keep myself hydrated and to not lift anything other than my then 2 year old. Regardless of whether I had bedrest of was active with my toddler, I bled every single day for the next 13 weeks. Some days it was just spotting and others was heavier. Until finally at 24 weeks I had managed to go two days without spotting and by my next scan later that week, the subchorionic hematoma could no longer be seen. I still had instances of bleeding during my third trimester but these were not as frequent or as heavy.
I was warned that I was still at a risk of premature labour and the possibility that the baby might be small but neither happened. Miss A was born at full-term after a really straight-forward labour. I had gone into labour at a checkup without even realising and my contractions were picked up on a scan, I couldn’t feel them. This was so different from my first lengthy labour…
Not only was my daughter healthy, she was also not at all small. Despite the worry of the pregnancy, she was what felt like a huge 8lbs 4oz and has had no other early issues. The clot didn’t appear to have affected her at all.
After the the birth and the delivery of the placenta, I was told that the consultant could see where there subchorionic hematoma had been when she examined my placenta, but other than that, myself and my daughter were healthy. There were literally no other physical signs of the rather worrying pregnancy. The baby I was convinced I’d lost is now a hyperactive three year old with no issues except stubbornness and a reluctance to stop talking. All in all, she’s a typical pre-schooler.
Did you have a subchorionic hematoma? What was your experience?