This is the fourth in a series of posts that Stacey is writing about her rainbow pregnancy. To read the previous posts, please click on the links below:
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The screening results are in. I told my boss I was waiting for the phone call and had my phone out on the desk all morning and still managed to miss the call. They sent me a text message saying there is nothing to worry about but please call before 1pm as no one will be in the office after then. So I called straight back and was very relieved to hear that it is low risk, 1 in 17,000. But naturally, as it’s a rainbow, nothing will ever be simple. I started thinking about Maisie’s results which were 1 in 40,000 and wondering why this baby is more than double the risk even though it is still a very low risk. I don’t think I will ever know for sure but it has really worried me and is something I am going to talk to my consultant about.
Towards the end of this week I began to get very stressed and emotional thinking about the next scan. It is the ‘big’ one, the early anomaly scan with my consultant. As the last scan was not the best I felt like I had no reassurance or confidence to get through the next two weeks. I began to get very upset looking at the scan picture we had been given at 13 weeks and not being able to see the nasal bone, I managed to convince myself that there wasn’t one, that there was too much fluid in the skull and that the face was too flat which I believed could be anencephaly. So my husband and I decided that the best thing to do was to book a private reassurance scan. 11pm on the Sunday night we looked at their website and saw an opening two days later on the Tuesday night when I would be 14+1. We booked it and I instantly felt relieved that I wouldn’t have to wait another 12 days for the next scan and that we were taking control of this pregnancy.
This picture is me at 14 weeks exactly.
This week we had our private scan. I got so wound up during the day I was so ill and constantly sick, it carried on all day and I did begin to worry that I may have to go onto the medication I have been prescribed in case I get Hyperemesis again. Luckily the sickness did calm down and wasn’t a problem in the days after the scan.
We got there early at 7.15pm the scan was not until 7.30pm but we were called in straight away, the sonographer recognised us from our 10 week scan. I got into a state explaining about the 13 week scan and how the sonographer had refused to tell me the NT measurement, that she wouldn’t explain or show me anything and that I had convinced myself that the baby had no nasal bone, hydrocephalus and anencephaly. She smiled and said ok well lie down and lets have a look.
When we first saw baby they were lying with their back to us so we had a beautiful view of the spine and it looked normal!! I have an anterior placenta so won’t feel movement early although I think I am getting a little bit. She showed us the head (10cm circumference already!) explained about the brain, there doesn’t seem to be excess fluid or hydro and the cerebellum is in the so again looking normal! She also showed us the stomach and the bladder to show that baby is swallowing and releasing fluid. Everything looks normal at this gestation and we got to see so much.
The scan we booked came with 3 photos and was 10minutes long, well we got nearly half an hour and 8 pictures the sonographer was amazing and went through so much in very clear detail with us. I feel so relieved although I know we have a long way to go and it’s still very early I am finally starting to think that maybe this baby could be normal! I feel so much better and am so glad we booked the scan!!
I also had a reply about the student medical examinations this week. The original response was that there were looking for pregnant women in their third trimester and being second trimester I would be too early. But a few days later I got another email to say actually the Obstetricians had all talked and would like to have me go. I called them for more information and was told it was for final year students’ exams and that I would be involved in 4 students final exams. That one by one they would spend some time talking to me in front of the examiners (leading consultants and doctors) about my pregnancy, my conception, lifestyle and any previous pregnancies. They would then perform a small examination to try and find my uterus and lastly would spend 10 minutes explaining about a scan or a screening test to me to see how they communicate their medical knowledge to those receiving the care but who do not have the same level of knowledge. I have agreed to go for an entire afternoon and although I am nervous about talking about my previous pregnancy and history I am hoping that this will be a chance to teach those who are about to qualify how to care for someone in my position. That they should be kind, reassure me, let me ask any questions no matter how stupid and take their time with me. I feel like it could be my chance to give back from my experience.
A big week this week with both a midwife appointment and the early anomaly scan with my consultant that we have been focused on and building up to this whole pregnancy. I have started to get very scared about how fast this pregnancy has gone already and how my days with this baby may be limited if we get bad news at the scan. I have had increased sickness and headaches this week which I think maybe linked to the stress I am feeling about the scan.
My midwife appointment was first thing in the morning at 15+1 it all went well but I don’t feel I was properly listened to. She did all her bits tested my urine sample, took my blood pressure, felt my uterus and listened to babies heartbeat. She found it almost straight away but said she could hardly hear it over the placenta, I agreed with her as I have an anterior placenta I also find it hard to get a good clear listen. Where she found the heartbeat is exactly where I have been feeling what I thought was movement so I guess it is actually movement! I did get a bit of a telling off for having my own Doppler she said (what I already know) to never, ever to rely on it if I have reduced movement or a change in babies movement but to always go to labour ward. I said I won’t use it once I am getting regular, defined movement but for now it helps me to know at least the baby is still alive. Then she started doing all the blood forms for 28 weeks and I started to panic I don’t want them I cannot think that far ahead! I tried to explain how I needed to get past 21+2 when I lost Maisie before I could think any further ahead but she wasn’t listening. I asked about having a Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) and having it as soon as possible but she said no that there’s no point before 26 weeks. I am concerned as I have a high bmi and I know it can be done early as I know many people pregnant after loss who have had it done as early as 16 weeks. Again I was not listened to. Then she went to book my next appointment at 25 weeks which is in 10 weeks’ time; this seems like a very long time to me especially as I am meant to hand my MatB1 form in by 25 weeks but won’t even see her to get one until 25 weeks. I didn’t want to book it as I need to get through Thursday at least first but I again didn’t really get much choice. At the end she gave me some calcium tablets to take each day but the packet only contains 56 days’ worth which is 8 weeks this again makes me think that I should be seen every 8 weeks. Overall I wasn’t particularly pleased with the ‘care’ I received at this appointment.
After a lot of tears, nightmares, fear and anxiety the scan has finally arrived. I am now 15+3 and today I will find out my fate. I took this picture this morning knowing it could be my last ever.
I arranged with work to leave slightly early to make sure I would be on time (3pm) I arrived at 2.50 in the most horrendous rain by the time I had run through the car park I was soaked. Surprisingly my consultant was ready for me I panicked as my husband wasn’t there yet but they said they would wait. Finally, after what felt like hours, he arrived and in we went. My consultant asked me how I was feeling and if I have been having movement, I replied I wasn’t sure about movement and that I was very anxious about today. We got started with the scan, I couldn’t look, I stared at the ceiling, she asked if I wanted to look I replied that I wasn’t sure maybe in a minute. I could feel my face getting hotter and hotter trying to hold back the tears, I had decided that morning not to put any makeup on, I knew whatever the outcome it would only be cried off. She asked if we wanted to listen to the heartbeat which I said yes (at least I now knew there was a heartbeat!).
Then I somehow managed to start looking and saw that she had started to look through the skull from the top of the head and into the brain. She said that the cerebellum was in a really good position and looked really normal 'figure of 8' she said that this means that it is 99.99% sure that the abnormalities that Maisie had are not present in this baby. At this point I couldn’t hold the tears back anymore and started crying the big, loud, heavy, unable to breathe and talk sobs. I couldn’t stop, my consultant, the midwife and my husband were all crowding round me to check I was alright I just couldn’t believe what she was saying; that this baby might actually be healthy. She then looked further at the brain and was pleased with what she saw. She looked at the stomach, briefly at the heart (still early) and all the femurs. She took loads of measurements (each one twice) and was pleased with what she saw. She wanted to look at the spine but couldn’t get a clear view as baby is breech, back to back with an anterior placenta. She got me to move onto both sides and tilted the bed so my legs were up in the air but still the baby did not change position.
She asked me to go and have a walk and to have a hot sweet drink to try and get baby to move. I emptied my bladder (twice!) had a 10minute walk and a hot chocolate before going back to be rescanned. I think the midwife thought I was crazy as I was pacing back and forth in the waiting room trying to get the baby to move, luckily there was no-one else in there.
My consultant then rescanned me but the baby still hadn’t changed position, again she got me to roll onto both sides and tilted the bed but no joy. She said that she didn’t think that baby would change position today but she was very pleased with everything she could see she just wanted to get a really good look at the spine to be 100%. She has asked me to go back for a rescan with her in 2 weeks’ time to look closer at the spine (hopefully if the baby has moved) and to do a more in-depth anomaly scan.
She then asked me if the dates I had been given were correct to what I thought I said no I think I am 4 day less than what I have been dated at, she agreed as baby was measuring small (within the 15% centile) on everything except its tummy (fatty!). We then spent some time looking at baby in a more sort of fun way and got some amazing views of babies’ feet, toes, fingers and even its knuckles! It was amazing to experience something fun in this pregnancy and for a few minutes to feel like normal people.
I cannot believe I can actually write this but I think my baby might be ok this time!
Time is flying I cannot believe we are here already! The joy of last weeks scan has enabled us to get a bit excited about this baby and to start telling a few, select people. I have now told all my colleagues whom I have been hiding it from, some of them had already guessed but were shocked at how far gone I am and how big I am when I unfolded my jacket to show them. We have also brought something this week! I have been eyeing this up for weeks and promised myself we would get it if we got through the scan.
I hope to get the matching baby grow if we get through the next scan with good news!
This week I was meant to take part in final year student examinations, unfortunately it got cancelled the night before as all the students had already completed their exams. I am a bit disappointed as I was looking forward to it but also very relieved that I don’t have to relieve everything with Maisie 4 times over in front of strangers.
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To read Stacey’s next post, please click on the link below: