Finishing Line

I blogged a few weeks back about how I wasn’t enjoying this pregnancy, it would be remarkable if I did considering all that has happened. What I didn’t make clear was how stressful I’ve found it since we got the first diagnosis. There have been mercifully few times of extreme stress, but I’ve lived with constant low level stress for the last 23 weeks or so. It’s really getting to me now, as I get bigger, slower, more pain and discomfort as we approach the birthing hour.

I’ve only had two periods of sheer terror where I thought we were not going to have a live baby. The first one was around when we got the diagnosis of TRAP Sequence. During the second dating scan the sonographer looked at the “dead” twin to confirm her colleague’s diagnosis that it was non viable. I looked briefly at the screen, saw that it had changed from the week before, but then the shutters must have gone down in my brain.  I looked away and put it firmly out of my mind. That was a Wednesday.

Friday morning, my brain woke up, I reached for my copy of “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” and turned to the “When Things Go Horribly Wrong” section. The only thing listed that described a changing “dead” foetus was a molar pregnancy, Dr Google added the very gruesome information that a molar “foetus” would, if left unchecked, continue growing until it enveloped and snuffed out its healthy twin. There was no recommended treatment that could save the life of the baby.

I screamed.

Simon had to leave me to go to work that morning, he apparently spent most of the morning looking for alternative diagnosis. He also contacted the obs & gyne clinic asking for someone to tell us what was wrong. He got one of the lead midwives, she told him that she had just been on the verge of ringing me; the sonographer recognised the dead baby as an acardiac twin and elevated my case to the consultant who had to review the ultrasounds herself. The midwife told Simon that they strongly believed that the “dead” twin was acardiac (no heart, no head) she also told him that it was treatable and the healthy baby had a chance. Si immediately rang me to pass on the news. “Good” news in fact as there was hope. That Friday morning, the time between reading about molar pregnancy to Si and the midwife ringing me to tell me there was a chance:  that was my lowest point.

The second time I thought we had lost the baby, was this Wednesday at my routine midwife appointment. She felt for the baby, then started to listen for a heartbeat and could not find one.  I don’t know how long it took her to locate it, but it felt like a lifetime to me. I tried to reassure myself that I had felt the baby move not just an hour ago but it didn’t work. When Jackie told me that she had got a heartbeat I broke down and cried and cried and cried. Which set Tom off so I had to try pull myself together for his sake. That was my other lowest point.

I can’t deal with this stress anymore, it’s a weight crushing me, I worry every time I realise the baby hasn’t moved for five minutes, I worry if the movement seems sluggish or too energetic. I told Jackie all this, she said enough is enough you need a date.

Jackie got in touch with the obs & gyne clinic and I got a call from my consultant yesterday. She was very sympathetic, offered to admit me until the birth if it would help reassure me and keep me rested. I declined as it’s not fair on Tom and I got hangar rash last time I was admitted. If I wanted I could have had a scan today for reassurance. She also told me that I could go to the day assessment unit anytime they were open if I was the slightest bit worried.

Most importantly she got how grim I was feeling. I don’t know what Jackie said but she must have got across the state I was in far better than I’ve managed to in the past. Maybe that’s because when I’ve seen my consultant we’ve all focused on the baby and how she’s doing, at my midwife appointments the focus is more on me and my well being. The result of all this is that my consultant said I could have the baby whenever I wanted, I’d been through a lot of stress with this pregnancy and I didn’t need anymore.

And, you know what, I immediately started to feel better. We discussed timings, I think we’re looking at either the Monday or Tuesday after I turn 37 weeks so Baby’s birthday will probably be the 22nd or the 23rd. Of course medical reasons may intervene and she might arrive before then, but at last we’ve got an end date.

Edited 12 August for sense and grammar.

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