Pregnancy Under Consultant Care – by Warwickshire Mummy to Be
I am 23 weeks pregnant and now showing. Lots of people ask if I am enjoying my pregnancy, yet. It’s something I have been thinking about recently and it got me thinking how other people might feel that are under consultant care with their pregnancy too.
I was glad when I found out that most pregnancies are what my consultant calls “normal”, in terms of medical intervention, pregnant women follow a standard process of appointments with their midwife and scans at various stages of their pregnancies most without major event. But for some the journey is a little more rocky…
Just over a year and a half ago, after 4 years of trying to start our family tragically we lost our baby at 16 weeks pregnant, a story for another time. It took a lot of soul searching to find the strength to try again to start a family, complicated due to the fact it would be via a third round of IVF. With the support for family, friends, a focus on getting fit mentally and physically including some Cognitive Therapy (for a positive mind-set), fertility acupuncture and support of my amazing NHS consultant who identified the probable cause for the late miscarriage – I was ready to go.
We got a positive pregnancy from the third round of IVF (for those in the know via a natural transfer of a second frostie) – so many emotions; happiness, nerves, fear and hope among others. I made a commitment when we started trying for our family again to manage the fear – as this was the best thing I could do for the baby, my partner and myself – and probably everyone else that has supported us. The grief of losing a baby never leaves you but the fear I was determined to manage.
One thing about doing IVF is you know exactly when you conceived literally to the minute (no romance there), although for anyone who has gone through IVF one of the highlights for me is when they do the embryo transfer. When the embryo is transferred you see it via a tummy scan and a little light lights up inside you when the embryo goes in – it last seconds but it’s magical. Anyway I digress… so at 5 weeks pregnant off I went for my first consultant appointment.
After my initial consultation the consultant advised me to go and get pregnant and then she would look after me… so here I was ready to do whatever she needed me to do. I have had a very positive experience with consultant care, so far, I have had amazing continuity of care which has made me feel extra safe and looked after – I know this is not the same over the UK so I feel very lucky. I am also very lucky as the consultant I have is a Professor at the forefront of investigating miscarriage in pregnancy – so she knows her stuff.
My partner and I knew that getting pregnant, even though via IVF, would be the start of the journey and there were big challenges to come. At 5 weeks pregnant I started treatment for a blood clotting disorder (Antiphospholid Syndrome – one of the biggest causes for late miscarriages), which my consultant discovered I had. The treatment involves taking Aspirin, wearing support stockings (not looking forward to the summer months) and injections everyday of blood thinners in my tummy – one advantage of IVF I am used to injections. I was also prescribed Progesterone pessaries to help strengthen my womb lining.
I went onto have consultant scans every two weeks, I feel like the most scanned person ever, but its great having the ongoing checks and reassurance; if not nerve racking just before the scan. We both hold our breath and sit waiting for the consultant to tell us everything is ok – and breathe.
At twelve weeks pregnant we had our first normal scan which was all lovely – woop woop! Then I had to get ready for the next step – I knew that if I got pregnant again I would need to be on blood thinners and also have a cervical stitch. The stitch was something I knew might help save our future baby so when the consultant recommended it I said “Go for it”, if it meant the chance our future baby would be safe I was up for anything. Losing our baby and meeting her just for a few moments, we really felt I needed to honour the loss – we learnt a lot from losing her about what caused the miscarriage late on and both felt we needed to learn from the information our tiny baby girl had given us and try again. This has given me strength at every step.
So the time came at 12 weeks – having done limited research off we went for the surgery. My consultant carried out the surgery (with a team of 12 I felt like a racing car) where I was numbed with an epidural and all went well.
Having surgery when you are pregnant brings up lots of emotions all I could think of was is the baby ok, I didn’t want them to be hurt and again I tried to be brave so that I wouldn’t put any unnecessary stress on the baby or my body. I called the consultant the next day and asked if she would do me an extra scan as I just needed to see the baby was ok – amazingly she saw me the next day – seeing the little one moving away makes my heart leap each time.
I have gone onto have scans internally and on my tummy every two weeks – to check for growth of the baby and also that the stitch is doing its job. We passed the marker of 16 weeks that was always going to be a huge emotional milestone without drama. It was not long after this point I started to think I might be feeling the baby – it’s hard to know at first if you are imaging it. So as the next week past I started to tune in more to the movements I was feeling – I really was feeling our baby move! Thinking about it now just makes me smile – the feeling of life inside you just amazing.
Being pregnant is a challenge – mentally and physically and my partner and I carry lots of baggage from the pregnancies we have lost before – but there are moments I wouldn’t trade for anything; seeing the embryo light up inside me, the positive test, the first scan seeing the heartbeat, seeing the baby move for the first time and then do somersaults later on, the hope the pregnancy has brought for people around us, seeing my partners hand move from the baby moving in me (and his face light up), my partner lovingly stroking my belly even though I know he is holding back all his emotions until the baby is in our arms, my niece holding her not so tiny hand on my tummy asking how the baby is, just lying on the sofa listening to the heart beat and I will never get bored of the little one moving around inside me –so yes I am enjoying my pregnancy with all the challenges that go with it.
Being pregnant and considered “high risk” is scary but I hope the rewards will be worth it and our story will give other people the hope and strength to take the next steps on their journey to start a family whatever they maybe.
Links I found useful:
- The Miscarriage Association
- Hughes Syndrome – Charity for those with Antiphospholipid Syndrome
- Twitter – Amazing who you can meet and I got great support from people suffering a similar loss at the time I was.
If you have any questions fill in the form below or drop Nikki an email and I will get in touch directly. I am very open about our story and want to help others who maybe in similar situations.