We had a terrifying episode last Thursday. I had severe nose bleed, just as what happened when I was pregnant with Sofia. But this time it was worse, much more blood was lost!
On Thursday, I felt tired the whole morning, I even told Tony over lunch that I might be getting sick. And then I went back to office, making time to be ready to go to the OB for my 25th week’s appt. Suddenly I felt something weird in my upper nose, and immediately I thought, oh no, I will bleed. Last time with Sofia, I had the nose bleeding at 30 weeks, so I was not expected it to happen so early, but was somehow waiting for it anyway. The blood came out in a rapid stream, not a little bit of blood, A LOT OF BLOOD, NONSTOP! Immediately, I put the trash can in front of me to catch it because papers would not do it. Meanwhile, I called a friend whose office is just in front of mine to call Tony and 911. Tony came in <2 min, shocked and scared. He didn’t know what to do but giving me more papers. More colleagues showed up to see what happened and offered help. But at that point, nothing could be done but wait for the ambulance. 20 min later, the ambulance showed up and I was transported to the GW ER. By then, although I was still bleeding, it was less than when started.
When we arrived the ER, I told them my weird history of nose bleeding during pregnancy only. The doctor came pretty quickly, checked the situation and suggested to put some medicine before they can take a look and cauterize the bleeding points. By then, the bleeding stopped. We waited for half hour and I asked Tony to call him again, when the doctor showed up again, I started to bleed again. So he put a cotton pack in my nose and the bleeding stopped. Half hour later the doctors came back to take out the cotton, and check for bleeding points. They suspected two places, one in each nostril, so they put local anesthesia before they cauterize them. The procedure was painful in a scale of 7, but it didn’t work. 3 min later they were done, I started to bleed badly again. So bad that I felt I might faint at that point. They immediately moved to packing my nose, which has pain scale of 11. The first attempt didn’t work, I was still bleeding quite a lot, blood was going to the back of my throat and I was splitting blood and blood clots. So he had to take it out and put an even bigger one…. so painful!!! Fortunately after the second one was put in place, and injected with some liquid to make it expand to the max, the bleeding kind of stopped.
Due to the blood loss and recurrent bleeding, they wanted an ENT doctor to check me before sending me home. And the doctor was in surgery at that time, so we had to wait for 2 hours. By then it was close to 6pm, time to pick up Sofia at the daycare. First I asked Sarah to pick her up so Tony could stay with me, but Sofia refused to go with her, so Tony had to go. When my baby showed up, I was afraid that I’d scare her with my bloody face. Fortunately, she was fine, she’s a strong girl. She just looked concerned.
The doctor showed up around 7:30pm, checked on me, and suggested to reposition the packing to make sure it gets to the bleeding point. It was painful again, but I had no choice. Then we waited for another 30 min before we were more less sure that I was not bleeding anymore. We weren’t sure because although there was no bleeding, I was coughing mucus with blood, red blood. The doctor wasn’t sure either. He could repack it again and make it bleed again during the process, or send me home and go back in case I still bleed. We decided to go home.
The whole evening was PAINFUL. The packing caused me severe headache, not being able to breath at all, painful when trying to eat or drink anything. I couldn’t sleep but I was exhausted, so I just lied on the bed trying to rest. But I was scared, I was scared that I might bleed again, I was scared that I was continuously bleeding slowly as I still see blood in my mucus. IT WAS A BAD NIGHT.
The next morning, I decided that I needed to go back to the ER because if the packing wasn’t working, I didn’t want to spend 3 days in misery. If I had to pack it again, so be it, at least I needed to be sure that the bleeding stopped. My blood count was already in the borderline, I didn’t want to risk it.
So we took Sofia to class and went to the ER. I was admitted and checked by the doctor immediately, but the doctor suggested we wait for the ENT doctor since he wasn’t sure he wanted to move the packing. That was 10am, and the ENT doctor finally showed up close to 3pm. He is a great doctor, btw. Very patient, understanding and caring.
He checked on me and decided to take out the packing. He’d first clean out all the mucus and clots inside my nose, which could prevent the healing and cause more bleeding, and I’d be able to breath again. If I still bleed, then he’ll pack me again.
Taking out the packing was not as nearly painful as putting it, so I did fine. Then he cleaned my nose with suction to take out all the clots and mucus. He said i was not bleeding anymore, and he didn’t have to pack me again. I was so happy and surprised by this outcome!!! I was able to breath!!!!
this is the packing, it’s like 20-25 cm long when fully expanded.
I was discharged, ordered rest for at least few days, not carry anything heavy, no picking the nose and keep the environment moisture. I was feeling quite weak, due to the blood loss, not sleeping, not eating well. That night I slept for 12 hrs. It felt so good.
The next day I told my family and friends, they were all scared and worried about me and the baby. I told them I was fine, and that I will take care of myself. I had a business trip on Sunday that I cancelled. Nothing was more important than health and the baby at this point. Fortunately my boss was very understanding, sent me an email the following day, and his wife (Sofia’s friend’s mom, even offered to take care of Sofia over the weekend). Several colleagues also wrote me to ask me how I was. It was really nice.
In addition, I had Tony who was by my side ALL the time, giving me all I needed and more. During the whole process, I was scared but not too worried because I had him, I know I was safe.
He also did a great job taking care of Sofia. Usually I’d put Sofia to bed, but I was so weak for two days that he basically took care of Sofia all by himself. Sofia also understood that I was sick so she didn’t ask for me and did what we asked her. What a great daughter, so understanding and caring of her mama.
Nobody knows why I have nose bleed during pregnancy. The only explanation they could think of is that blood amount increases 40-60% during pregnancy, and the vessels are more fragile. But nose bleed is not a common pregnancy symptom, so it’s still a mystery. I’m scheduled to see the OB this Thursday, hopefully everything is fine with the baby, and maybe even give me a clue of why this happens.