Thirty Five Weeks

I had my weekly scan this morning. The baby is doing well she’s active and the dopplers are good but the amniotic fluid levels are only so so. The AFI has been yo-yoing over the last few weeks and today it’s back to being borderline. I don’t have to see her until next Monday as all the other measurements were good.

I caught Tom’s cold over the weekend and not shaken it off yet, the obs and gyne clinic is at one of the far ends of the hospital, I now find walking up from the car park to the clinic is exhausting. I was not at my best when I saw the consultant, which is probably why she ordered me to rest this week. So Tom is now at his Nana’s and I’m tucked up in bed with the iPad.

As I’ve got rest I’ll leave it there.

30 Weeks

Another good scan, the baby is doing well, she’s growing apace, the dopplers are good and so is the amount of amniotic fluid. If we carry on like this we are good for 36 weeks, possibly to 37 weeks. I’m in a lot better state too, I’m tired and achy but no longer shattered.

However there are two main things that could stop us getting to 36/37 weeks.

I’ve had a procedure that involves puncturing the amniotic sac I’m at a higher risk of my waters breaking early than for a normal singleton pregnancy.

Of course this isn’t a normal singleton pregnancy – it started out as being a twin pregnancy with one placenta, a placenta that was wired up wrong causing the malformation of the acardiac twin. The placenta has already had a “wobble” four weeks back, we are very fortunate that the baby hasn’t suffered, she isn’t small for dates or show any other stresses from placental insufficiency. We are also very fortunate that the placenta started performing its part again. But because it wobbled once, the chances of it doing it again are far higher than in a normal pregnancy even for a woman of my age.

The frustrating thing is we can’t put a figure to those increased risks, the consultant is very loathe to even try, partly because she doesn’t want us going away with a false sense of security and partly because the factors and events of my pregnancy are if not unique, pretty darn rare. That rareness means the medical literature almost stops being scientific data and starts to be scientific stories. I read in one abstract about TRAP Sequence that since it had been first described in the 17th century there had only been about 400 recorded cases, that not a lot to be going on with.

Even though the risks are higher than for a normal pregnancy it is not a racing certainty that the baby will be born preterm, it’s probably not even likely that she will be, but being prepared for it makes sense.  I have my hospital bag packed, it’s sat waiting by my side of the bed.  I’ve tried to research what might happen if the baby was born prematurely, but as it is so common the information Dr Google gives is somewhat garbled, repetitive, and loaded with anecdotes from mothers who have had preemie babies in the past and are now trying to reassure those who are going through the same thing.  Worthy and comforting but not really useful.

I asked my consultant to run through what would happen if the baby was born today, at 32 weeks, at 34 weeks and at 36 weeks, she and the midwife on the unit did one better they got me a visit to the NICU.

The babies were tiny, the atmosphere was calmer and more cheerful than I had imagined based on what I’ve seen on TV, and far more hopeful too. If the baby is born tomorrow, if she is pink, wriggly and making all the right noises, I would get a chance to hold her almost straight after birth before she’s transferred to the NICU.  Assuming that she didn’t need surgery, she would stay in the QEH NICU until term, getting out early would be a bonus. Surgery would mean transferring to a different hospital.  At first she would be in an incubator with various tubes going in and out as she would have difficulties with breathing, eating and maintaining her body temperature.  Survival rates are roughly 95%.

If she was born at 32 weeks exactly the same things would happen except they would expect her issues to be reduced and survival rates are even better.

At 34 weeks her weight comes into play, if she weighs more than 1.8 kilos at birth, she may not spend that much time if any in an incubator, she may go straight into a cot in the NICU – it does depend on her health of course.  If she’s a heavy 34 weeker she is far more likely to come home early, probably not with me but hopefully before her due date.  Survival rates are pretty much the same as for term babies.

At 35 weeks she’s very likely to be over 1.8 kilos, if she’s healthy at birth, there’s a very good chance that she would join me on the delivery ward after birth, only going over to the NICU for checks and tests.  Theres also a very good chance that she would come home with me.  At 36 weeks those odds are even greater and at 37 weeks she would have to be poorly for the NICU to see her.

Warning – these are typical timescales – our baby may not be typical, and for anyone landing on this page researching what happens with preterm babies these timescales are only good for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn and in this year.  Check with your hospital to see find out how they manage preemies it may well be different.

It doesn’t work for everyone, but I feel a lot more in control, (no matter how illusory it may be), now I know what the typical scenarios are for a preemie baby.  I don’t feel as scared of the NICU as I did before I went in, I was worried I would see the tiny tiny babies and burst into tears – I didn’t, I did have a wee cry but that was over something different.  And finally having seen the staff and the parents tending to the parents I have a good feeling we’d be in good hands.

14 weeks

I had an ultrasound scan today.  Healthy baby is healthy and active.  The parasite twin is showing signs of swelling but is not of immediate concern right now.  I will have a scan at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital next week, this scan will be to look the healthy baby’s heart, I’m hoping that everything will look tickety boo.  The week after that I have another u/s scan at QEH then we are back to Queen Charlotte’s for them to have another look.

We had a sliver of good news on Friday, the results of the triple test and nuchal fold arrived and the baby is at low risk of Down’s Syndrome 1 in 707 – no need for further investigation unless we want it.  As an amnio can cause a miscarriage and my risk of miscarriage is high enough already I don’t think we’ll go for an amnio.

And meanwhile in the background I will have my usual midwife appointments, which I’m very glad about, I like my midwife, she was my midwife while I was having Tom and we get on well, she’s sympathetic and supportive.  She rang me last week to see how I was coping, she’s a good un.  I’m seeing her this Wednesday.

Finally – I still own the flat I lived in, in Huntingdon, until Friday it was tenanted, on Saturday it officially went on the Market, the second set of people to view it put in an offer, which I accepted.  Hopefully everything will go smoothly as they have their mortgage and solicitors in place it will complete quickly.

22 Weeks and a Bit

We’ve had a very busy weekend, looking for a house to rent before Jr arrives.   Fortunately the first house we saw we wanted, so the real business was involved in calculating whether we could actually afford it.  Which we could so first thing on Monday Simon was in touch with the agents to say “Yes” if all the reference stuff goes through quickly we could move in this weekend.

Back with the baby news – the kicks are getting stronger if not yet uncomfy and I can feel them more often, they make me laugh sometimes, Jr must think that the world giggles on an interactive basis.   My backache has disappeared, hopefully never to return.  But the acid reflux has made a return normally just as I get into work and by the time I get home, I don’t think it is the hour’s drive that’s doing it just a co-incidence.  Killing two birds with one stone, I’m drinking lots of milk to help neutralise the acid and keep my bones and teeth brimming with calcium.

Have you noticed that the pregnancy and baby magazines are mostly adverts surrounded by a little journalism, which is often just rehashing the latest release from the NHS or latest PR puffery from the baby food manufacturers.  Simon, not having read many of these mags before was quite really struck with the lack of actual original writing.

One of the things the magazines recommend is to talk to your bump, I can’t I find myself feeling too unnatural and silly. I find myself thinking to the baby, but I doubt that counts.  I can’t sing at it either, specially not nursery rhymes and there is no bloody way I’m going to listen to a nursery rhyme CD in the car during my commute.  I value my time as an adult too much, so it may be we have to play tapes of Nicky Campbell, James Naughtie or Eddie Mair to the baby to get s/he to sleep, it is also very possible that Jr will start speaking with a Scottish accent.

19 and 20 Weeks

I didn’t forget to blog I’ve just been so busy that I’ve not had the energy to sit down and do it.  We’ve been working hard to get my flat ready for the tenant who is moving in on Wednesday, clearing a long list of things off a to do list that kept on growing.  I know that my extreme tiredness has passed as I would not have been able to do what I’ve managed over the past fortnight.  Admittedly I have needed a daily afternoon nap until very recently and I have felt bone tired at work but my stamina seems to have returned even if I don’t feel particularly full of energy.

Other changes over the last two weeks I guess we can say that my tum is now the most sticky out thing about my profile even when I remember to pull my bum in and stand tall it’s time to admit that my boobs have lost their valiant fight to overshadow everything else.   I’ve also found that I’m getting back ache in the very small of my back I think it could be sciatica I will have to ask the midwife next week.

I’ve still not felt Jr move,  well a couple of times I could have sworn that I felt something but they were one offs and everything I’ve read says that once you’ve felt your baby move you always feel the movements.  I’m not worried about it but I am beginning to feel a little disappointed.  Mind you when I am sure that in a month’s time I’ll be wishing that Junior wouldn’t kick so much when I’m trying to sleep.

I’m getting better at getting people to do things for me that I can’t do myself like lifting and carrying.  I’m polite but I’ve managed to stop sounding quite so pathetically grateful.  I do feel it’s a bit of a let down that I can’t hoick things about like I used to, and it’s come on so suddenly as well but it is only temporary.  The Next  Spring Summer Catalogue arrived today, it is so heavy, yet a few months ago I wouldn’t have even noticed the weight.  Next do have some nice maternity wear but I am still slightly underwhelmed at what is available.  Considering that I was a goth and most of my wardrobe is still black or dark coloured I’ve fed up with the very limited palette of colours available to me.   But even if the colours have all been a bit drab this winter at least I have a choice in maternity wear and don’t have to wear anything as awful as some of this stuff.   It is easy to mock these dresses but in their haste to be “modest” they’ve confused the concept with ill fitting and look gargantuan rather than pregnant.  I do not see why even roughly delineating the curves of the bump should be considered vulgar, but then again I don’t consider sex and the human body to be something dirty and to be hidden away.

18 Weeks

Or 19 weeks according to Mothercare.   Still not felt Junior but as I am still not expecting to this is no biggie for me.   The nausea has all but disappeared very strong scents and nasty smells still have the power to make me feel queasy but I can now wander down the deli isle in the supermarket without feeling I have to leave rapidly.

I’m also finding that I am less tired I don’t tend to wake up shattered like I once did, assuming I got a good nights sleep which is another matter altogether.  However I do find that I tire out very easily, on the Tuesday before Christmas I did the “big shop” for all the stuff we hadn’t bought before, I was knackered before I was half way round.  My recovery time from tiredness is still very slow.  Christmas day I was fine but boxing day I was ready for my bed again before the day had even begun.

I read somewhere that nails grow faster and stronger during pregnancy.  I’m not sure if I’ve got any empirical evidence for that and mine are still quite brittle but when they break they leave sharp jagged edges behind which is new,  I’ve got a couple of nasty scratches on me where I must have caught myself in my sleep.   I now carry a nail file at all times.

17 Weeks

I’m now seventeen weeks pregnant, I’m still feeling tired although not as badly as before, I now have periods where I feel quite bright and ready for anything but they aren’t long periods but at least they are there.  The morning sickness is subsiding although some smells still make me want to heave and my taste buds have not returned to normal yet.  I managed to cook dinner tonight the first meal I’ve cooked in simply ages.   I don’t think I’ll be dominating the kitchen come Thursday but hopefully I’ll be able to help out.

The books say that by now I might be experiencing an increase in secretions from practically everywhere.   I don’t feel any more sweaty than I did before I was pregnant, which means I don’t feel particularly sweaty at all.  Nasally, I can’t say that my nose is dripping but it does feel a bit blocked up but then again its felt like that for the last three months and I’ve had a sore throat practically since day 1 so I can’t say that there is really any change there.   And down below… actually no real great change which is nice.

My hair doesn’t  seem to have bloomed yet, it seems to get less greasy but I’ve not noticed any other change.  It’s always been fabulous hair; lots of it, thick and with great shine so I don’t think there will be a huge change.   I’m still spotty though, I had hoped that I would get the marvellous skin as well but that seems to not happened, although my forehead has been feeling less scaly than it has been it’s still not back to normal.

I haven’t felt Jr yet but I’m not expecting to just yet.  But still it doesn’t stop me from concentrating deeply whenever I feel a tummy grumble come on.