The Nuchal Fold Scan

On Monday I had my Nuchal Fold, or 12 week scan.  After an hour long wait to be seen, I was finally taken in for an hour long scan!  It was an absolutely amazing experience. I know I said that after the last scan where I could see a little blob of human tissue, but this was something else all together. Immediately visible was a little head, two legs, two arms and a tiny little body. Every twenty seconds or so, my baby bounced up and down inside me as if he had hiccup that were just too big for him! (I say him, but it could be her!) The bounce caused the baby to do little flip-flops inside the fluid sac the baby grows in. It was so funny to witness, I kept laughing out loud and the doctor kept looking at me strangely. I eventually had to tell him that he might look at this all day, but to me it is the first ‘thing’ my child has ever done. I was moved by it!

The first (of many, I'm sure!) picture of our little baby

The first (of many, I'm sure!) picture of our little baby

At one point during the scan he kept prodding my abdomen to get the baby to move so that he could see and photograph the bladder, but the baby would not move.  The doctor pushed the sonogram thing deep in to my stomach and the baby actually reacted by covering both eyes with both hands! I could almost hear the baby say “No” in the way that Martin does when he refuses to do something! It was so amazing, I burst in to tears!  The poor doctor didn’t really know what to do with me!!

The scan was good – it showed the baby’s chances of having a chromosonal abnormality to be one in about 22000, which I have to admit are odds I’m fairly happy with! The nuchal fold (liquid behind the neck) showed the baby to not have downs syndrome, which although not anticipated was still a relief!

Today we met with the midwife for the first time. Sadly, she won’t be the midwife throughout. (For that priviledge I need to fork out £7980 for a ‘private birthing experience’… feel free to send donations!!) It was just a matter of giving all our medical background and discussing our choices for the birth.  She gave us an absolute mountain of materials, from pamphlets to books to magazines, everything you could ever want to know, and more about having a baby.

It’s been a pretty good day, reading through the materials, seeing pictures of babies and happy smiley mothers. Of course, none of them are nauseas and being sick even despite the anti-nausea medication, but then, they do all have supermodel bodies and Colgate smiles!

Having the scan was great for that first bonding. I am so consciously aware now of this little person, flipping and bobbing about inside me, and I feel entirely in love with this personality that I’ve not even met yet.  I am starting to think that nine months are really a very long time to make a nauseas woman wait!

Hospitalisation – Hyperemesis Gravidarum

When a doctor tells you that you’re okay, and perhaps just need to suck on some ginger, you think, “Ok… let me buy some ginger”. In the case of Dr.W however, I am pleased so say that I was right and he was oh so wrong.

After my Monday visit with him, and a frantic breakdown of desperate tears on Monday night, I took the tablets he offered on Tuesday and Wednesday and although I wasn’t sick during those two days, I was so tired I could not stay awake or continue to do a full day’s work.  On Thursday I had a busy day and couldn’t afford to take the tablets, so instead spent the day between my desk and the bathroom again, and by Friday morning was at the point of self harm out of sheer desperation.  I had a meeting with one of our providers during which I had to excuse myself at least once. At the end of the meeting Duncan, the director of their company and by now someone I know quite well asked me if I was okay, because I wasn’t really myself.  I told him in brief strokes what was going on, and he was very sympathetic, having known someone with the condition previously.  He strongly encouraged me to go to A&E and have myself admitted.  Strongly to the point of wanting to accompany me for the afternoon wait!

dripI persuaded him that I would go and did not need company.

Upon arriving at A&E and almost passing out in the que, it was finally my turn to spread my woes to the smiley woman behind the counter.  Upon her question “have you been to your GP”, I lost all control of my faculties and resumed Monday night’s frantic sobbing (great fun with a whole emergency room full of people watching you blubber!)  I went to see the nurse within about 15 minutes, and although she was okay, she too had that “this is your first pregnancy, isn’t it?” sneer about her.  Two hours later, parched to the point that I could no longer swallow, I was finally summonsed in to the emergency room. I  was given a bed to lie on, a urine test to take, and my bloods were drawn. I was allowed to stay there and sleep while the bloods went off to the lab.  My urine was the colour of muddy water, and my feelings of sickness were justified when the results came back with +++++ (i.e.5+) ketones.

I was immediately put on an IV saline drip, and half an hour later on another.  I was then moved to an observation ward where I was able to see Martin, although I don’t believe I was overly coherent at that point! Six hours after walking in to the A&E of Kings College Hospital, I was admitted to Katherine Monk ward, bed 20 where I was to spend the next 3 days.  I was given 5 litres of intravenous liquid before I was able to go to the toilet again, and it took two days for my ketones to get back down to zero.  So much for Dr.W’s diagnoses that I wasn’t dehydrated enough to be taken seriously.

As far as hospital stays go, this was a good one.  My tv was broken, so I slept and read and played a lot of puzzle games, and I shared the room with two annoying women, but fortunately I was able to tune out their eccentricities in my own misery!  The night nurse, a lady by the name of Janel was my own personal angel of mercy.  Not only did she treat me as a person, make me feel comfortable, explain what was going on and what I was to expect, but when she had time, she also sat with me, spoke to me and made me feel at ease.  I know that if I was ever to be sick again, I would request whatever ward she’s on.

My ward was where the bottom set of open windows are

My ward was where the bottom set of open windows are

I was released on Monday afternoon, and went straight back to two full on days of work. That wasn’t really clever as it turned out on Wednesday evening when I became violently ill again.  I have taken the rest of the week a little easier indeed!

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

I have not written anything in a while.  Not because there’s nothing to write, but because once things are down in black and white, it becomes impossible to take them back.  If said, you can always deny the charge, but once written they stay written forever.

This is a very difficult and somewhat lonely time in the pregnancy, I think, because the mom to be is the only one who ‘sees’ the pregnancy.  The dad to be can’t really be involved yet, because there’s nothing to be involved with, and the same goes for family. Where friends are concerned, all that’s happened is that you’re not really around much anymore.  Or maybe that’s just in my case.

hyperemesis20gravidarumI have been suffering from unbelievable morning sickness – well “morning sickness” is a misnomer – it’s sickness every time I eat or drink pretty much anything no matter how many times a day, what time of day, where I am or what I’m supposed to be doing.  By the time my dehydration, retching and general misery had reached a climax, my mom (who is currently practicing as a midwife in Australia) sent me information on a condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Yes. That’s about as pleasant as it sounds. I went to the doctor’s surgery and saw the fifth new person, we’ll call him Dr. W,  in a row, gave him my diagnoses (to which he responded “O, yes. That is what you have!) and began discussing treatments with him.

I will spare you my rant, but in short, Dr.W wasn’t really helpful. His most common response to symptoms was “That’s horrible” and his summed up treatment plan was “Grin and bear it. Lots of women have morning sickness”.  Fortunately for them, lots of women do not have HG.   The symptoms, in short are:

  • constant nausea, especially after the first trimester
  • vomiting after eating or drinking
  • vomiting not related to eating
  • overactive sense of and sensitivity to smell
  • weight loss
  • dehydration

The weight loss is not a problem – I’m quite pleased in fact, getting dressed this morning, I found I fit into my old smaller sized trousers – so long as I don’t do up the top buttons, what with my slightly distended belly and all! The rest however, is torture. Planning your day around trips to the bathroom,being really thirsty but knowing drinking anything will make you run out of the meeting you have to endure with people drinking coffee (currently one of the worst smells in my world!)

Hyperemesis Gravidarum was, years back, concidered to be a psychological disorder. Medical professionals believed that developing HG was a symptom of an unwanted baby. What an awful misconception. If anything, it’s life with your head in a toilet bowl that makes you doubt how much you wanted the child!  Now, I’m not saying I’m doubting wanting my baby, but I have to tell you there are some days where ‘is this worth it’ crosses my mind!  Fortunately I’m a child of the enlightened age, but I cannot help but feel deep pity for the years of agony and guilt desperately ill women must have felt! To quote a bad doctor… that’s horrible!

Dr. W gave me some medicine that they usually give to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy! He says it’s safe, but I did some research myself and it hasn’t even been tested in pregnant women in proper clinical trials yet, so my mom got on the case again and has advised me to use it when i need to but do so sparingly.  In the worst cases, HG lasts till well after the child is born, but I’m hoping for best case and an end to it in a few weeks.

Our baby is doing well, thankfully.  I had a follow up scan three week ago, and everything is progressing well.  They moved my due date back by two weeks (to 28 September – my brother’s birthday and four days before my own) and decided that I was actually only 7 weeks.  The baby’s heart was thumping away at 152 bpm and s/he had grown so much in two weeks, to 1.3 cm.  1.3cm, with a beating heart and a little skull. It was a magical moment, Martin and I shared watching our baby on the screen.  It wasn’t like it is in movies where people pretend to see it but dont really. Our little Button from the last scan looked like a little person with a head and partially formed body. So beautiful to see.

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