Tuesday 28 January 2020

12 Weeks Pregnant - High NT Measurement

12 weeks pregnant - High NT Measurement
Normally when you reach 12 weeks pregnant it brings a sense of relief, the miscarriage rate drops significantly and you will probably be thinking about how you announce you’re good news to friends and family.

I had made it to 12 weeks pregnant but my worries about miscarriage were as strong as they had been since that pregnancy test turned positive. We weren’t thinking that we could announce our news anytime soon, and we didn’t really know how this pregnancy was going to play out.

We didn’t even know if there would be a baby at the end of it.

Along with my anxiety about miscarriage, I was trying to be hopeful and excited. This baby is wanted, so wanted. 

We had the second Fetal Medicine Appointment on the Monday, which of course offered a huge relief. It cemented that I needed to continue being positive, because the NT fluid was now normal and we were now waiting the results of our Harmony Test (which should arrive in week 14).

The tiredness seems to have returned this week with a vengeance, I have been falling asleep on the sofa under a blanket (something I never do) and haven’t been able to make it to the end of the movie Luke and I were watching. Much to his annoyance. 

This week Leo brought a sickness bug home from school which he very kindly shared with me. I was sat at work on the Wednesday (Leo had been sick in the morning before school and was with my mum), and suddenly I felt nauseous. I thought it was in my head and carried on.... When I finished at 2pm I thought I was feeling ok. 

I went to get Leo and within 20 minutes of getting to my parents, I was there with my head down the toilet. Brilliant. I thought maybe that would be it, but I couldn’t keep anything down. 

12 Weeks Pregnant - NT Baby

I had been texting back and forward with Nicky (the lady who did my 10 week dating scan) and she was thrilled to hear our news. She asked if I had been given an official due date (which I thought was the date I was provided with last time), and told me that she would try and get me back in to get the official due date in my notes.

The next day Nicky text me and said that she had a spare appointment on Thursday 30th January. As it happened both Leo and I were off work and school due to the fact we had been poorly the day before (Leo was lots better now but couldn’t go back to school until the Friday). So it meant that Leo could come with me and Granny to finally see his little brother or sister on the screen.

The amazing thing was, Nicky was my midwife throughout my pregnancy with Leo, so it was a really lovely moment. Leo sat on a chair next to Granny while I lay on the bed, the gel was applied and the Doppler positioned, and boom... there was baby wiggling around and so much clearer than the images we saw at the fetal medicine unit. 

12 Weeks Pregnant - NT Baby (Cystic Hygroma Happy Ending)

12 Weeks Pregnant - NT Baby (Cystic Hygroma Happy Ending)

I wanted to turn to see Leo’s face but couldn’t contort my body while being scanned. Nicky said straight away that baby was looking good and although she wasn’t going to re-measure the fluid, she could see that it was within normal range.

Nicky measured the baby and at 12+4 was measuring 61.7mm - all of these scans have highlighted just how quickly a baby grows and develops. 

Leo was amazed and found the whole experience brilliant, I was so happy that he had got to come along, and as always he was so well behaved. He just looked and listened. 

My due date was adjusted to August 9th 2020, a day out from where I had been placed at my 10 week ultrasound. 

When the scan concluded Nicky gave me 2 new scans, 2 beautifully clear shots of our little nugget. You could see a real difference between these images and the ones from 10 weeks. The babies head was smaller and the body had got longer, and the fluid was now gone. 

Absolutely incredible.

I sat up on the bed and we started talking. Nicky told me that everything looks perfect right now and that I need to try and relax and enjoy my pregnancy now. All of these scans has really built an anxiety up for me and before each and every scan I worry that there won’t be a heartbeat anymore. 

Each and every time though, our baby has a beautifully strong heartbeat and is continuing to grow as expected. I think with the miscarriage and then the threat of a high NT, of course there is going to be anxiety at play. 

I am one of the lucky ones though, if I had my fist scan at 12 weeks, I would never have known that there was a high fluid reading at 10 weeks. Nicky said the same, but we acted on the information that was available and I will always be thankful to Nicky for everything she did.

You can see here the difference between the 10 week scan and the 12 week scan, and you cannot help but notice the pocket of fluid on the babies neck in the top image. At this last scan Nicky said that it was the first thing that she noticed, where as I was just worrying about whether there would be a heartbeat. I guess as Nicky said, we were both looking for very different things.

12 Weeks Pregnant - NT Baby (Cystic Hygroma Happy Ending)

I am just so glad that everything is looking much more positive now.

Nicky said that she was really impressed with how I took the news about the Nuchal measurement, which actually really threw me. I didn’t start flapping, I don’t know if that’s because I didn’t fully understand the gravity of what I was being told at the time, or if it was because I like to arm myself with facts. I remember being the same in July when I was told that I had a missed miscarriage. Again I kept it together through the appointment, and later when I was away from everyone I let my feelings out.

Nicky threw her arms around me and asked me to let her know when I got my Harmony results back. It was really lovely as she is such a genuine person and I could tell she really cared. 

I found this scan appointment the most re-assuring of them all. Hearing Nicky tell me everything was fine carried so much more weight than it coming from anyone else. 

I had been worried that the other consultant may have missed the fluid and Nicky would find it again. Thankfully though everything was fine, everything was normal, everything was as it should be.

We are almost at the end of the first trimester now, and what a rollercoaster it has been. I’m hoping that the rest of my pregnancy will be simple and straightforward. The one positive thing about all of this is, I have seen our little Nugget grow from a mere little blob on the screen to a proper teeny tiny little baby.

I am 12 weeks pregnant and already had 5 scans so far...

12 Weeks Pregnant - NT Baby

I’m going into the second trimester back in midwife led care, I’m no longer high risk and the chances of a baby at the end of all this are looking sunnier and sunnier.

Now all we need are our Harmony (NIPT) test results back, and we will be well on our way. 

Monday 27 January 2020

The 12 Week Fetal Medicine Appointment

12 Week Ultrasound high NT fluid - Cystic Hygroma
Today (Monday 27th January) we made our way back to Birmingham Women’s Hospital, 6 days since our last visit. I had spent my time wishing the weekend away, eager to get back and make sure that little Nugget’s heartbeat was still swooshing away. 

Having been told I was high risk for a miscarriage, that is what I’ve worried mostly about aside from the potential of a chromosomal abnormality. The thought of getting to 12 weeks and then losing the baby I knew was growing away would be even more soul destroying than our initial miscarriage.

We arrived back at the hospital with time to spare, I had learned my lesson about guzzling lots of fluid before a scan after last time, so I had a small drink in the morning before we left home, and after the 50 minute drive there... I really needed to pee.

I had to go to the toilet at least twice to release a little, as I was getting fit to burst! As we walked into the Fetal Medicine Department first thing on a Monday morning, I could see just how much busier it was in the AM.

Our appointment was at 10:10AM but it was more 10:40 by the time we went in, it wasn’t an issue and we patiently waited our turn. Eventually our name was called and we followed the consultant into a scan room.

I handed over my pregnancy notes and lay down on the consultation table, the gel was squeezed onto my tummy and Dr Thompson apologised for the coldness (not that it mattered as I just wanted to see my baby was ok). 

My tilted uterus appeared on screen, and then Dr Thompson played the baby’s heartbeat straight away as if he had known that I had been feeling incredibly anxious that it wouldn’t be there. The swoosh swoosh of our baby’s heartbeat instantly reassured me and then he got straight down to bringing baby into view.

Having a retroverted uterus meant that it was hard to get a clear image of baby, which of course makes it harder to do all of the checks and measurements that were needed. 

Dr Thompson stayed incredibly quiet throughout, but I had a screen of my own to watch baby flipping around on screen. I was told that it may be beneficial to completely empty my bladder to see if it would provide a better view, at this moment the placenta was posterior and wouldn’t be easy to get to for a CVS.

I popped to the loo and came back, more gel was applied and the scan resumed. A long silence passed, I tried to peak at Dr Thompson’s screen where all of the measurements were being complied. Not a word was said as he completed a detailed scan on our little Nugget.

I did wonder if this was good news or bad.... on the car journey over I had pondered the thought that all of the fluid would have gone and returned to normal, but the idea seemed like crazy talk. Well... until....

Finally Dr Thompson spoke and brought us up to speed on what he was seeing. He told me that our baby’s Nuchal fluid was completely normal, that he had Re-measured it and it was between 1.2/1.4mm which is in the complete realm of normal.

12 Week Ultrasound high NT fluid - Cystic Hygroma

No abnormal Nuchal Translucency reading, no Cystic Hygroma, no fetal hydrops, no abnormality.

1 healthy little baby growing away!

I sat stunned and listened, happy butterflies bubbling beneath the surface. He explained that when I was initially scanned at just gone 10 weeks, this was outside the suggested scan period. They say that from 11 weeks or a minimum crown rump length of 45mm that a Nuchal Translucency scan can/should be carried out.

If today had been my first scan, I would have gone in and everything would have been perfect. I would have left and there would have been no concerns over our little nugget. Not one. 

Dr Thompson explained that based on what he could see today, he was looking at a structurally sound baby for the gestation. 

In that very moment I had decided against even attempting the CVS. There was no way any needles were going near my baby when the only marker that had enticed the idea was not there, or potentially even a valid measurement. It was such a early anomaly that could have been down to something as simple as the lymphatic system being underdeveloped or many other reasons.

I can’t recall how I broached the subject but I know I let the good Dr know that I was now against the idea of a CVS and enquired into the possibility of the Harmony test instead.

With this he said that we should go and discuss all of our options in one of the little rooms adjacent to the scan room. We all sat down and got comfortable, I didn’t want to celebrate too early, but I was feeling like I was on cloud 9.

Dr Thompson talked us through the options, he said that he could attempt the CVS but that it would be a difficult procedure. I got the feeling that Luke was leaning towards this, but I had already written it out of the options I was considering. There was no way I was having a invasive procedure that would be even more difficult due to the fact of where my placenta was positioned. It was a firm no go for me.

Secondly we could opt for the Harmony test (NIPT - None Invasive Pregnancy Testing) which would involve taking a sample of my blood that has the baby’s DNA within it. This would test for the 3 Trisomies and give a high or low risk. 

This is what I was hoping we would be able to opt for.

This would then be backed up with a detailed echo that would take place between 16-18 weeks - This is where they will take a closer look at Nugget’s heart and make sure that everything was as it should be.

Finally... we could do nothing and they would discharge us.

We discussed all 3 of these options and the Dr left us alone to discus them amongst ourselves. Luke was confused about how I had now changed my mind about the CVS. He was of the opinion that we should be fully prepared and know everything... I was not willing to risk my baby and wanted to do the harmony test and then enjoy my pregnancy. 

Eventually we agreed on the Harmony test and the echo. We were left in the very capable hands of Vicky - the manager of the midwifery department. We discussed our decision but she couldn’t say if it was the right thing to do, but in my heart of hearts I already knew that it was.

They had decided to try and look at the scan image from the following week before we made our final decision. Vicky came back to the room with the consent form and I asked about the previous scan, she said that she couldn’t really use it as the image was ‘skewed’ and it wouldn’t have been the scan she had used in the file (our original scan was done by a trainee consultant) - so we didn’t really know if the fluid was the same level at the 11 week scan as opposed to either the 10 week or 12 week. At this point I was too happy to mind. 

I signed the consent form and we waited for the blood room to become free. We followed Vicky down the hall and I had my blood taken for the Harmony Test, it was painless and over as quickly as it had begun. We were told it could take up to 2 weeks for the results to come back.

After a tough 2 weeks of waiting for answers, I was now happy, the results would just concrete the relief I was now feeling. I finally felt like I could be excited about our baby and their arrival in August. 

Only a day before I felt like I was in limbo, I had reached 12 weeks but didn’t think I would be able to announce our pregnancy in the near future. All of a sudden I felt that I could say ‘hey, I’m having a baby this year!’. 

It’s amazing what can change in a day!

Vicky told us that she would call with the results when they come through, got our report and new scan images together for us, and off we went. Ready to tell our families the absolutely amazing news.

I have had such amazing care at the Fetal Medicine Unit, they have taken their time to answer my questions and provided detailed scans to help our baby. Now we are coming out the other side, and I am in awe of the work that they do. 

It’s time to start being excited about the new life growing inside of me, it’s time to start thinking pushchairs, baby clothes and start getting prepared.

A high NT brings clouds, but they don’t always rain.

If you are going through this nightmare journey right now, a happy ending is possible at the end of all this. 

Tuesday 21 January 2020

The 11 Week Fetal Medicine Unit Appointment

Birmingham Women's Hospital Fetal Medicine Department

On Tuesday 21st January we made our way to the Women’s Hospital in Birmingham. We were meeting with the team at the Fetal Medicine Unit for the very first time. A place I didn’t even know existed until a week before at our dating scan, where a body of fluid of 4.7mm was found on our growing babies neck.

This appointment was for the purpose of a CVS, a invasive form of testing that would give us answers to any potential chromosome abnormalities that may be present in our unborn child.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about none stop, it’s taken over every waking moment of my day as I ponder possible outcomes for this pregnancy and our little baby. 

We arrived with about half an hour to spare, the Women’s Hospital is the biggest hospital I have ever been to, I thought finding where we were meant to be was going to be a mission in itself so insisted that before we sit down for drinks, we locate the Fetal Medicine Department. 

As it happens it was a lot easier to find than expected, thanks to helpful signage all along the corridors. The next prominent problem was that I didn’t need a wee, and being 11+2 the likelihood was that they would require me to have a full bladder to carry out the scan.

We settled in the hospital cafe, I nursed a hot chocolate and a bottle of water, all the while knowing that when that body of fluid hit my bladder I was going to know about it. Still on the run up to our appointment at 4pm, I still didn’t need to pee. Sitting in the waiting room at 4pm, I didn’t need to pee.

As my name was called, suddenly I needed to pee. In fact my bladder was now so full that I thought it might burst. A Dr named Leo walked us down the corridor to a room set up and ready to scan, he took my pregnancy notes and started to ask me questions. I explained what had happened at our previous scan and that we were here to hopefully get more answers.

I had prepared 16 of my own questions for this appointment, and some flew right off the tip of my tongue without even looking at the composition I had composed. 

Dr Leo explained that the fluid was on the babies neck under the skin, that it was not in the amniotic fluid collecting behind the babies neck. The gel was applied to my lower tummy and the Doppler pressed down firmly on my extremely full bladder (which was of course picked up on the screen), straight away a grainy image of our little nugget popped into view.

Disappointingly it was no where near as clear as the scan I had at our local hospital the week before. I wondered if it was due to my very full bladder. Dr Leo said the amount of fluid looked about the same, and over all apart from that our baby looked as expected for the gestation. 

Baby had done some growing in the 5 days since our dating scan, going from a CRL (crown rump length) of 39mm to 44.8mm. I took this as positive as baby flipped around in utereo unaware that we were all peeking in. 

It was nice to not hear the doom and gloom that I was expecting from this appointment, it was being judged firmly on it’s own merit. I found out that the placenta in this pregnancy is posterior, which was going to make a CVS tricky (especially in conjunction with my retroverted uterus).

I was told to go and empty my bladder to see if that altered the position of anything that would make it possible to perform the CVS safely. My gut feeling has come to pass, I knew ahead of time that the possibility of a CVS was slim. 

I returned feeling a lot lighter, and they had me sign the consent forms for the CVS procedure. A consultant named Tracey came in and re-scanned me, she was positive for the most part but did bring the word ‘termination’ to the table.

It wasn’t advice to act upon, it was looking ahead once we have firm results. She was giving me options. I asked if was I was allowed to fly as we have a trip to New York booked in February and I was advised that this would be fine. I should take low dose aspirin to keep my blood thin a week before the flight, and wear flight socks to keep the risk of clots to a minimum. 

Tracey’s examination was the confirmation that a CVS would not be taking place that day. I was booked in for another attempt on Monday 27th January, where I will be 12 weeks + 2 days. 

The positives of today’s appointment was that the heartbeat was good and there were no signs of Hydrops (Hydrops are swellings that occur within the baby, like in the stomach or limbs etc). 

I left with no more answers than I had came with, but I was reassured that baby was doing ok in there. I feel positive that all this may turn out ok, But I won’t know that until I have the tests that can give me answers.

I could feel tightenings in my lower tummy today, I’m certain that this is my tummy starting to stretch to accommodate our growing baby.

I don’t feel like I can tell anyone I’m pregnant, I can’t announce that I’m having a baby, I can’t even actually say I’m having a baby, because I might not. All this might end in tears, but it might all be ok. I hate all of this uncertainty, I just want to know that our babies going to be ok.

Unfortunately not even the doctors can tell me that, it’s all about taking one day at a time, one test at a time and hoping, hoping and hoping.

If on Monday I cannot have the CVS again, I have decided that I want to pay for the Harmony test, this is a none invasive test that takes my blood that has our babies DNA within it. They can test this and then give us a low or high risk for the 3 Trisomies. 

The Harmony test is not diagnostic like a CVS, but it might just give us some answers where currently there are none. I want some form of answers before we fly to New York, and if they can’t do the CVS the only other option is waiting until 16 weeks when they will perform an Amniocentesis (A needle into the amniotic sac). 

I can’t go 5/6 more weeks with no answers so the Harmony result would acts as a potential band aid in the mean time.

That brings me to the end of my latest update, I will be able to write again on Monday.....

Monday 20 January 2020

11 Weeks Pregnant - High NT (Nuchal Translucency)

11 weeks Pregnant - High NT (Nuchal Translucancy) Result

I have hit week 11 of pregnancy and with each passing day I feel like I am in uncharted territory. You would be forgiven for thinking that this was my first baby, not my second. 

Leo was such a straight forward textbook pregnancy, after his scan at 9 weeks I knew that at the end of the pregnancy I would have a baby in my arms. This time despite having 2 scans already in a mere 11 weeks of pregnancy, there is more doubt than ever that I will ever hold my baby in my arms than ever before.

In some respects I do feel pregnant now, I’m waking up anything between 2-5 times a night for a wee. I don’t remember that starting this early!? It’s a real thing though, and my boobs are really sore and veiny. 

That aside though, if it wasn’t for the high NT... this really would be another dream pregnancy. 

Since my scan on Thursday I have been a crazed pregnant Google lady. I have been re-searching high NT (Nuchal Translucency) testing and results, I have been finding some incredibly amazing, heart warming positive stories that have given me hope in the darkest of days, and I have read some equally heart-breaking accounts of what high NT actually means.

My CVS (Chorionic Villus Sampling) is happening tomorrow at 4pm. They will be inserting a needle  into my abdomen and removing a sample of cells from the placenta. They will then work up my baby and his or her chromosomes. Within 3 working days I should have my first set of results back that will tell me whether or not our little Nugget has one of the 3 Trisomies.

- Edwards Syndrome
- Down Syndrome
- Patel Syndrome

It's ironic really that I spent the first 10 weeks over thinking another missed miscarriage that I took my babies over all health for granted. I agreed to the Nuchal Translucency test at my booking in appointment without giving it a second thought. I saw a heartbeat on the screen and a active real looking baby dancing around and just expected to hear that everything was OK, that everything was as it should be.

In my 3rd pregnancy I am learning yet another valuable lesson. 

I wonder if there was something I could have done differently, is the high NT because I had flu and took a few Paracetamol? Could I really be having a poorly baby at the age of 30? 

In my research over the past few days I have been given a glint of hope, my first findings were that the NT scan should actually take place between 11 - 13 weeks and when the baby measures a minimum of 45mm (1.8 inches). At the time of our last scan I was 10 weeks + 5 days, and the baby measured 39mm. 

High NT (Nuchal Translucancy) Result

Another theory for a raised NT is the way the baby is or has been laying within the sac, if the baby is too flat then sometimes the fluid can pool there with nowhere else to go... It may be wishful thinking but I am intrigued to see what the Nuchal Fold measurement is tomorrow at the scan where I will be 11 weeks + 3 days.

I have made the decision to stay positive, I am going to get answers and request only facts. Speculation will not serve me well so I have prepared a list of questions. I feel that I have addressed everything that has gone through my mind over the last few days. 

I know that ultimately it is a waiting game, and that the real answers will come in the form of cold hard facts from the results of the CVS.

At 11 weeks I should be feeling excited at making the announcement of our baby to our friends and family, but right now it feels like a big secret. Right now I am trying to work out and fathom the fate for my unborn child, and I have a feeling that this will be something I fight for my entire pregnancy.

Tomorrow I will push for a new NT measurement, I will ask all the questions about how the overall structure of our baby is looking, are there any other markers/anomalies that jump out at them?

Can they see any issues with the heart at this stage? 

Is the heartbeat strong and normal?

My actual list of questions is rather long and I feel that they may wonder what force that have allowed into their office. 

Of course I am hoping for a happy ending, I am hoping that I am one of the lucky ones who's baby had an un-explainable high NT that was born fit and healthy. 

Right now I don't have the answers, I don't know what the future holds. I don't know if it means getting our baby at the end of it. 

I am setting mini milestones to get through this pregnancy. The first mile stone is tomorrow, the CVS. If baby is still fighting and the heartbeat beating away, the next milestone will be the 12 week scan (which we don't currently have a date for). After this I expect that I will be booking an additional private scan so that Leo can see his baby brother or sister on the screen, I want to do this sooner rather than later just in case.

After this I have been told that we will most likely have a heart anomaly scan at 16 weeks so that they can see the heart in more detail and see if that is the reason for the raised NT. 

My biggest milestone in this set of milestones will be the 20 week scan. If we can get through the CVS, if we can keep Nugget's heart beating away, and we smash all of our upcoming scans... the 20 week may just finally offer some hope and relief. 

Right now based on our NT of 4.7mm we have a 50% chance of a healthy baby at the end of all this. 


This could increase or decrease based on what they find tomorrow. .

Last night I found Nugget’s heartbeat at home with a Doppler at 11+2. Right down low behind my pubic bone. It’s crazy how low they are right now, and even crazier that I found the magical beat beat beat of their heart.

I know it was definitely Nugget because last week I found my own (Insert Laughing here), Luke thought it was hilarious, but there was no mistaking this!

Where there is life, there is hope.

Thursday 16 January 2020

10 Weeks Pregnant

Nuchal Translucancy (NT) Cysyic Hygroma baby
It's been 2 weeks since my private scan, and the last week has gone really slowly as I have been waiting for my dating scan with the NHS. This isn't the 12 week scan, but a scan to see how far along I am due to my cycles being irregular. 

Everything has been going perfectly, I was happy knowing that at 8 weeks there was a strong heartbeat, and this did help settle my mind.

I have felt less tired in recent weeks and I have put that down to the placenta starting to take over for the baby's nutrients. I am back to later nights at 10 weeks pregnant, Luke and I have been working our way through the Alien movies each evening once Leo has gone to bed.

One thing that has become very obvious is that I am not a fan of the first trimester. It's so hard being pregnant and not knowing if things are progressing as they should. You can't feel your baby move and you literally have to have blind faith that everything is going to be ok.

I think this is even more true when you don't have full blown pregnancy symptoms, for me all I have really had is tiredness and sore boobs. I have developed a few food aversions again, Halloumi is off the menu for starter, I don't know what is about this cheese when I am pregnant but I hate it.

The other night I cooked up a beautiful big steak to have in a salad, but when it came to eat the steak it just didn't taste right. The dog thought he had died and gone to heaven when the opportunity to demolish the steak came about, I stuck with my feta and salad!

Nuchal Translucancy (NT) Cysyic Hygroma baby

The NHS Dating Scan

Today, the 16th January 2020 my NHS dating scan finally came around. I didn't really have any feelings about this scan, I was eager to see that the baby's heart was still nice and strong, but I had just somehow decided that everything was going to be ok.

Luke and I arrived at the hospital, the same hospital that I was scanned at back in July when I was referred for my viability scan due to no heartbeat being detected. I was pleased to see that Nicky, the midwife who had seen me through my pregnancy with Leo, and also the one who conducted the scan back in July was still at the helm and doing the scan for us today.

It was in a different room to last time, a room that I felt was a safe space un-tainted by the past. Nicky welcomed us in and advised us that there was a student with us today, which of course was fine with myself and Luke. I lay down on the bed, Luke sat in the chair.

The gel was placed upon my belly and very quickly our baby appeared on the screen. I could already tell that baby had done a considerable amount of growing in those 2 weeks. At the 8 week scan Nugget was 17.8mm from crown to rump, and now at 10+5 Nugget was already 39mm!

I felt instantly relaxed as soon as I saw our little baby waving around on the screen, there was constant movement and the heart was beating just as it should. Nicky then said 'I do need to make you aware that there is more fluid than we would like behind the babies neck'.

This is usually highlighted around 12 weeks when they carry out the Nuchal Translucency (NT) check, this is the fluid that collects under the skin behind the babies neck. I recalled my midwife Louise talking about this check at 12 weeks, I remember saying that I wanted it.

Not for one second did I think it would be a cause for concern.

I didn't realise the severity of what she was saying right away, I just lay there in shock staring at our baby on the screen. Nicky explained that fluid behind the babies neck was a normal part of development for babies in the womb, but if the baby has more fluid than usual.... It could be an indication of a possible health problem.

Straight away my happy safe little bubble burst.

Nicky took some more measurements and confirmed that our little Nugget had 4.7mm of fluid and then talked us through the possible scenarios that could be linked to an increased NT.

Nuchal Translucancy (NT) Cysyic Hygroma baby

- Trisomy 21 otherwise known as Down Syndrome - It's caused by an extra chromosome in your cells and occurs by chance at the time of conception.

-Trisomy 18 - Edwards Syndrome - I had never heard of this one but as soon as I took to Google I hoped to God that this wasn't the case. Edwards Syndrome is a rare but serious genetic condition that causes a wide range of medical problems.

-Trisomy 13 - Patau Syndrome - Patau syndrome is a syndrome caused by a chromosomal abnormality, in which some or all of the cells of the body contain extra genetic material from chromosome 13. The extra genetic material disrupts normal development, causing multiple and complex organ defects.

- Genetic Syndromes

-Heart Abnormalities

- Increased risk of miscarriage

High NT (Nuchal Translucancy) Report

Nicky said that although it could be something, it may very well be nothing. Nicky talked us through the next steps and advised that following the scan today I would now be receiving consultant lead care for the rest of my pregnancy.

It was too early for the screening blood test to take place, and we discussed Chronic Villus Sampling (CVS), this is a diagnostic test that they can carry out between 11 and 14 weeks of pregnancy. It's an invasive test that I never thought that I would have to consider. It's where a needle is passed into your lower abdomen and into the placenta where cells are harvested and tested to look for the above chromosome abnormalities.

I looked at Luke for reassurance on what to do, the CVS had a 1-2% risk of miscarriage, we discussed what to do. We decided that we should be fully prepared and know what was happening, and the sooner the better.

In the seriousness of the scan I completely forgot to ask to purchase some scan photos. I had started walking down the corridor by the time I realised the error of my ways. I rushed back to the room like a mad woman, and Nicky had already closed the screen. She told me that she would post the images to me free of charge.

I returned to work and as I had already told the lady I work with about the pregnancy, she was of course excited to hear how I had gotten on. I explained that there was good news and some not so good news and went into the whole sorry tale.

Of course I didn't manage to stay composed and the tears did fall.

In all of the worry about the worst case scenario I had completely neglected to mention that the baby's due date was my birthday!

Our little nugget is due on the 8th August 2020! Exactly 31 years since I was born.

I am determined to remain positive, I will see this through and hope that Nugget is developing as he should be.

While I was back at work, Nikki text me and said that she had printed the scan photos off already and if I wanted to pop back that afternoon I could. When I did pop back she was in the middle of someone else's ultrasound but popped out to personally hand me the scan photos. She asked me to keep her updated and told me that she was crossing her fingers for me.

Nicky made today bearable, she equipped me with everything I needed to know (and writing it down here has really helped).

The NHS have been wonderful today, from Nicky and the referral that she has made for me to Worcester calling me up by 2:30pm (I expect this is where I will be seeing the consultant for the rest of my pregnancy) and by 4pm I had Birmingham's Fetal Medicine Department on the phone arranging an appointment for the CVS for Tuesday 21st January at 4pm!

The service today has been incredible, it may not have been the news I was hoping for, but I feel like we are in good hands.

Wednesday 8 January 2020

Fighting for a EHCP and Mediation

EHCP Mediation experience

Shortly before schools finished for the summer holiday, our then SEN teacher was working hard towards gathering and submitting evidence for Leo's EHCP (Education Care Health Plan), you may recall that I actually attempted to do this for Leo myself back in 2017.

Back then I hit a stumbling block, I can only assume within the school as they said that at this point they could accommodate for Leo's SEN nee
ds within the current academic setting. I wasn't convinced but agreed for the time that I would let the decision ride. Flash forward 2 years and we are talking potential EHCP's again, only this time the school are suggesting that it may be beneficial.

Of course I backed the decision entirely, the evidence gathering began and was submitted just before the end of the Summer term. I didn't hold much hope of actually achieving the EHCP as I had heard that they were like gold dust, but I did hope that with Leo's Tourette Syndrome diagnosis we may have more of a chance of obtaining it. 

Summer flew by and we were soon back at school and ready to kick start Year 4, Leo's tics had really faded to nothing over the summer holiday, but with the academic year starting again we fell back to earth with a crash. 

A month later we had the letter that I had been anxiously awaiting, a letter sealing our EHCP fate. 

It had of course been denied. 

Another stumbling block, another no, another door shut in our faces. 

Another case of Leo being on the cusp, a seemingly typical child, beautifully behaved, but had SEN needs that were beyond your typical school child, not severe enough for a 'special' school, but a delay none the less.

As I sat there reading the letter that had been issued, I decided then and there that this wasn't the end of the fight. We would appeal, we would go to mediation and if needed tribunal. 

I had a meeting with Leo's new SEN teacher who is quite frankly amazing, luckily for us she really knows her stuff having been on both sides of the coin. She once worked for the local authority and met with families to decide why and how they should issue an EHCP, and she now works as a SEN teacher within our school academy. 

We formulated a plan, we met with the Local Authority who went through their decision, it became apparent that it was a lack of evidence that had resulted in our 'No'. We had 3 months from the date of the letter to go to mediation, they told us that we should leave it as long as we could in order to gather further evidence that could potentially provide a different outcome. 

We did just that, and a few days before the appeal process closed forever I sat and composed an email making sure that I included everyone I needed to within the email chain. To go through the mediation process we had to contact a mediator, I emailed the Two that were recommended on the letter, and quickly heard back from one of them.

Before I made a decision on who I would prefer to work with, I spoke with both of the mediators on a separate basis. I opted for a man named Charles, he was full of knowledge and came with a great reputation, he role would be to listen and essentially lead the mediation meeting, he would pose his own questions and give structure to the agenda. 

Charles said something on that very first phone call that really stayed with me 'Remember when you were at school and posed with a maths question? After all is said and done, the working out was always the most important part. If you got the working out wrong, the answer would be wrong'. Charles emphasised the importance of evidence, things like costed lesson plans, he stressed that schools were so busy teaching the kids, that their working out was often lacking, and the lack of evidence was often the reason for the negative outcome.

Wise words!

It was hard getting a date in the diary being so closed to Christmas, but we eventually nailed down as many of the required attendees as we could, and confirmed the date for Friday 13th December 2019.

We met at a local hotel in the library, I brought my Dad along for moral support as Luke was away with work. Charles the mediator was present along with our school SEN and a lady from the local authority.

I had prepared an A4 page of my own thoughts and feelings which was essentially a short over view of Leo's entire educational background. I spoke about how the initial concerns were raised at Leo's 2 and a half year check and how those concerns were then highlighted at Nursery level and followed him into his school life. 

Our SEN teacher then gave her evidence, Charles did his bit and within an hour the Local Authority had decided in our favour and granted Leo the EHCP that we had been fighting for. 

It was such a productive afternoon, and I am still in disbelief that we managed to change their minds and get something that will be so beneficial to Leo throughout the rest of his education.

I do wish that this had been granted years ago, I kick myself for backing down and not going with my gut, but we got to the finish line in the end. 

For Leo this now means that he will have his own funding within school to help him achieve his individual goals, it will stay with him until he is 18 and leaves school. It means that Leo can attend any school I feel is best for him, even if it is out of catchment. We apply and it's almost a give in that he will get in.

We should have our draft plan with us by the end of January, at this point I will have another meeting with Leo's SEN teacher and we will make sure the plan is what we need. I have been advised that even if amendments are needed to the over all plan, to accept it and make the changes at a later date so that at least the ball is rolling.

I finally feel like we have got somewhere, I have spent years banging my head against a brick wall with no real outcome, but finally I have made enough waves to ride all the way to the shore. 

It's so important to always keep fighting, to always stand your ground and not stop talking until you are listened to. 

Thursday 2 January 2020

Pregnancy Update - Weeks 4-8

8 Weeks Pregnant - First Trimester

I didn't start writing lots of posts like last time, just in case the worst should happen.. again. So I just let the days and weeks tick by, I am writing now as I have had my early scan and I know that everything is ok. Baby has a beautiful strong heartbeat and I know how far along I am.

At this moment in time I am 8 weeks + 5, I found out stupidly early again though, 10 days past ovulation and before the HCG was strong enough for a Clear Blue Digital to even pick it up, the first one of those I got was a 'Not Pregnant' - Which in true style I popped open and revealed the faintest lines inside!

Over New Year and into early January I suffered with flu like symptoms, the lurgi had been doing the rounds and I was unlucky enough to succumb to it. I put off taken paracetamol for the first day due to the worry, but eventually gave in as even my eyes were hurting.

It was reassuring to know that we had the early scan booked.

Early baby Scan - 8 weeks

We went along to our early scan and baby lined up with my dates bar a few days, and we were given the Estimated Due Date of August 11th 2020! I was originally on the 7th August 2020 so it was literally just 4 days out from my own estimate which i'm pretty impressed with!

Not Pregnant Clear Blue

Fast forward a few days to the 29th November and I got my 'Pregnant - 1-2 weeks.

In the first few weeks up until what would have been about 6/7 I was incredibly tired.

Luke was away with work training, and he would ring around 10pm but I was already spark out asleep, so we went almost a week without physically talking on the phone due to the tiredness. Aside from the tiredness my boobs have been progressing in soreness and getting more veiny. It's strange how it happened because it really has been a gradual process and now they are noticeably sore, but not as sore as I remember them being in my pregnancy with Leo.

Positive Clear Blue Pregnancy Test

The tiredness as well, it's not the same as the tiredness in my first pregnancy. Up until 6/7 weeks I was in bed nice and early.... but now at almost 9 weeks I am back to staying up late again. If anything there have been some nights where I cannot sleep, or when I have the dreams have been so vivid and real.

I had a dream that mine and Luke's wedding went horribly wrong with lost rings and double bookings, I dreamt that I went to my baby scan and they found the baby straight away. That was the best dream, it almost felt like my body telling me that everything was going to be ok. 

I had the opposite dream in my previous pregnancy, I had dreamed that at the scan there was no heartbeat, and subsequently went on to miscarry, but following my latest dream, I went to the scan and saw my little baby's heartbeat beating away on the screen!

Luke and I had kept the news to ourselves, the only person who knew outside our little fold was my sister Alice (who actually got sent the pregnancy test before Luke did!), Luke had been on his usual Monday night training session, and when he walked through the door just before 10pm, he could see my sister and I sat at the breakfast bar leaning over a very faint pregnancy test!

NHS Pregnancy Notes

Luke was in disbelief the longest, I started taking my folic acid as soon as I found out, and I booked my booking in appointment for the 17th December 2019. I knew that I would be required to give a urine sample so I sat there at the first of many appointments that require a full bladder (really needing a wee!). I was hoping that I would have the same midwife as back in June, and then she popped her head around the corner and called me into her office telling me how nice it was to see me back!

As Luke couldn't make the appointment I decided to take the notes I had from our miscarriage as all Luke's details were the same, so this allowed Louise to simply transfer them all over into fresh notes for a new pregnancy.

I got a little upset as we discussed what happened but she kept telling me that I was here to stay this time, that they were going to keep me. She took bloods and the urine sample and that wrapped up our booking in appointment. 

It was super quick because we already had all the information, which also meant I made it to school in time to pick Leo up!

That night I decided to take a photograph of my maternity notes (Don't ask me why, I have no idea). I climbed into the bath and sent what I thought was a funny meme to my family's group chat (I'm talking, Dad, Mum, Brothers x 2, Sister and all of their partners... Of course what I really sent was this photo of my pregnancy notes!

Guess what? I couldn't work out how to delete images on WhatsApp! Within a second my brother replied... I'll insert the screen grab of the conversation below.

Basically I announced my pregnancy by mistake to my whole family! 

Everyone but Leo of course...

Now we have seen the heartbeat, now we know that the baby is growing and healthy we decided to tell Leo on the 2nd Jan 2020.

Best Bro T-shirt and Baby Scan

We laid out the 'Best Bro' t-shirt that we had bought for him back in June (the t-shirt that he never wore, that has just been sat in a box) and placed the baby scan on top and called him into the kitchen. I asked him what he thought it was and he told me 'it's a baby' and he knew straight away. He asked me if it was another baby and I explained that yes it was and he was so happy. A massive smile on his face at the realisation that he was finally going to be a big brother in August 2020.

He couldn't believe how long we have all known though, he jokingly called me a dirty liar while giggling. 

The day after the scan and telling Leo, we all ventured over to Worcester to see what baby bargains could be had at Mothercare before they close their doors forever! It was a sad sight but we managed to get some wonderful bits!

The scan and actually buying some bits for baby has made it all seem so much more real.

I have a NHS Dating Scan on 16th January, I should be 10+2 at that point.

Let’s just hope this pregnancy continues to stay normal and uneventful. 

Babyface4d Early Scan Review

Early baby scan - 8 weeks pregnant

I found out that I was pregnant again on the 25th November, ironically on the 25th July I was told that I had miscarried. Going by my last period I would have been due on 30th July 2020, one whole year to the day since the miscarriage actually happened. 

I have been taking this pregnancy one day at a time, trying not to look too far ahead, trying not to get excited just in case this ended in tears like before.

I held off booking a early pregnancy scan this time, in fact I wasn't going to be booking one this time round after last time...But after my booking appointment I was told it would most likely be the end of January before I would get a dating scan, and the thought of potentially miscarrying before then and never getting to see my baby scared me into booking a reassurance scan.

There was no way I was going to be booking back in with Peek-a-Baby again, but I had heard wonderful things about Babyface4d who have clinics in Birmingham and Bromsgrove. The man on the phone was lovely and I explained why I was booking due to our previous loss, he was so helpful and got us booked in for 17:20 on January 2nd 2020.

Christmas and New Year went really slowly for me, I was just putting one foot in front of the other and hoping that I was doing everything right to keep our little Nugget growing and healthy. I had a dream over the festive season where I was at the scan, and that everything was ok and even saw the heartbeat thumping away. I hoped that this was my bodies way of telling me everything was ok... Especially since I had the opposite dream last time and unfortunately it came to pass.

After what felt like the longest wait ever, the 2nd of January arrived. I had come down with a nasty cold virus and spent the day wiped out on the sofa (as I have every day since too for that matter!). We dropped Leo at my parent's house and made our way over to Bromsgrove.

I arrived with a full bladder and half expected them to tell me to go and empty it so they could see something (this is what happened at every scan in my failed pregnancy). I was scanned by Jill Agnew the owner of Babyface4d, Jill is an advanced ultrasound practitioner and has over 14 years experience in obstetric ultrasound and  was even a Midwife for over 25 years!

I knew I was in safe hands, and even if it wasn't good news that she would take the time to go through everything with me.

Thankfully it was amazing news, no sooner as the doppler touched my tummy, my retroverted uterus (which she picked up on straight away!) appeared on the screen, along with a healthy pregnancy sac and 8 week 2 day baby!

We witnessed the heartbeat beating away, and we even got to hear it for a short time. It was amazing, absolutely incredible and despite being poorly, I left on cloud 9.

We got 2 prints of our little Nugget and we decided that we could finally tell Leo that night.