Thursday 19 March 2020

The 20 Week Scan & FULL Amniocentisis Results

Oligohydramnios - Low Amniotic Fluid

The 20 week scan is usually something you cannot wait to experience. To see how much your baby has grown in the weeks following the dating scan, but as mine rolled around I was anything but excited. 

I was actually really anxious, and with good reason.

Those that have been following my pregnancy will know that it’s all been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. A high Nuchal translucency test revealed 4.7mm of fluid on the back of our babies neck at 10 weeks, we then had a low risk NIPT (Harmony Test) for the three trisomies and began to try and relax and enjoy the pregnancy. Then at a private gender scan the rug was pulled from beneath our feet and we landed flat on our backs, when the sonogropher found a number of ‘differences’ in our baby. 

That threw us back into the waiting arms of fetal medicine, and we discovered that on top of the structural concerns for our little baby, we also had the worry of Oligohydramnios... Also known as low amniotic fluid. 

The 20 week Scan day arrived and was set Thursday 19th March.


I sat in the local hospital waiting area with Luke and Leo, wondering if they would both be allowed in... Leo was off school as we have been self isolating due to the latest government advice surrounding Covid 19 and pregnant ladies, and lets face it... I don't need anything else to go wrong at this stage.

When my name was called, they advised that Luke would have to stay outside with Leo, so I went in alone. Luke hasn’t seen baby since the last time he was able to take me to Birmingham Women’s hospital weeks and weeks ago, which thinking back was the 12 week Fetal Medicine Appointment.

I couldn’t get my head around how Leo was allowed in to the fetal medicine appointment and even witness the Amniocentisis... but not here. 

I had spent the week from my echo scan to my 20 week scan guzzling water and peeing like a race horse. I hoped and had everything crossed that when the Doppler hit my stomach at my 20 week scan, we would see the baby more clearly because the fluid was returning. 

Of course, that was not the case.

The fluid was now very low, so low that the sonogropher couldn’t measure the deepest pool because there wasn’t one. I believe that there is still some fluid around baby, but the sac is almost comparable to a straight jacket. Baby boy cannot really move and that would explain why I have not felt him, and at this stage I have resigned myself to the fact that I probably will never feel him wiggle from within me.

I had explained to the lady scanning me how this was so far from your average pregnancy, and she confirmed that she had already read my notes and didn’t know how much help she would be to me. I was already aware that this would be the case, so it wasn’t a shock.

All I really wanted and needed from this appointment was confirmation on the amniotic fluid. This lady did her darnedest though, she tried to look at baby in as much detail as she possibly could, and it’s always interesting to hear how people describe the anomalies that they are seeing.

When she looked in baby boy's head she said that the cerebellum ‘looked small but normal’ - I had been told in previous appointments that it was ‘abnormal and small’ but not that it was abnormal just due to its size. This confirmed that it was the right shape, but small.... but considering baby is well below the plotted expectancy for 19+5 isn’t that to be half expected in some way, shape or form?

At just under 20 weeks my little baby boy is measuring around 17 weeks, around 2 weeks below where he should be. Low amniotic fluid does restrict growth, so I would guess that is also to be expected.

Baby boy’s hands were up by his face, it was almost a comfort to know that he could soothe himself with his little hands. This was the first scan since 14 weeks that I had seen the baby’s profile and at least he seems to have resigned from his breech position. To obtain the image you can see at the top of this post the sonogropher had to bring the doppler all the way over to the left side of my stomach, as simple being above baby didn't generate much that looked like a baby at all.

The sonogropher printed me some scans and told me that she couldn’t get a frontal view of baby’s face to look and see if the baby was effected by cleft palete, but in the next breath said ‘but given everything else would it be the end of the world if the baby was born with cleft palete?’

Of course the answer to this was no, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. What I wouldn’t do to bring this little man into the world and give him a fighting chance. 

This pretty much concluded the scan, I was shown back to the waiting area while the report was drawn up. When she brought it out a few moments later she wished me luck, but I could see the sorrowful look in her eyes, she didn’t think that this baby would make it even if she didn't say it.

I have to admit that seeing that low level of fluid had me on the same page. How could a baby grow and develop with such a little amount of fluid? Especially during this crucial time of the lungs developing. 

I explained everything to Luke, and Leo for that matter. We have been very open and honest about all that is going on as ultimately Leo needs to be as prepared as possible for what and most likely will happen. 

We arrived home and I resumed my fetal position on the couch with a large glass of water. I flicked through Netflix undecided on what to watch, then my phone rang. No Caller ID could only be the Women’s Hospital, and this could mean the full array results from my Amniocentisis were back from the lab. 

The Fetal Medicine Midwife Sarah confirmed that she did have my results. I was told that they were ALL CLEAR, there were no chromosome abnormalities with our baby boy. Atleast not anything that they test for.

This should have made me happy, put a big smile on my face and given me hope in my heart, but seeing my little baby on today’s scan with no where to move or turn... there was still a problem. A problem that meant I probably won’t get my baby boy at the end of this long, long road.

A problem that we didn't even see coming, despite all of the other mountains we have had to climb. After passing each test that has come our way, baby boy is still having to climb mountains, but those mountains require him to be in his safe bubble of amniotic fluid, fluid that keeps decreasing, and stealing hope.

I filled Sarah in on the latest scan, I asked if my baby would be in any pain. I was told that he wouldn’t be and that we would go through ‘all the options’ on Tuesday at my next echocardiogram with the consultants. 

I think I can hazard a guess at what the next options may present to me. I’ve been thinking about it all long and hard, and I am just waiting for them to tell me or at least present the option of termination.

 I don’t have it in me to end my baby boys life. 

I’ve already decided that I will stay pregnant as long as I can, I will say no to any offer of termination, I will let my body decide what happens, and I will keep fighting for that little heartbeat even though everything seems so bleak.
I am 20 weeks on Sunday - Mother’s Day, it’s just to cruel to let us get half way through this pregnancy after everything that we have been through and done for us to just exhaust all options now. 

I remember writing in a previous post that my biggest milestone was to get to 20 weeks, I’m almost there. Baby boy still has a strong heartbeat and I know that we’re still 4 whole weeks off being ‘viable’ and I most likely won’t get that far... but I have to try. I have to try knowing that even if we did get to 24 weeks that he could be born and we would most likely lose him anyway, but I have to try.

I can't be the one resposible for stopping his little heart beating. I can't be the one to ultimately decide to end his life, and I wont. 

I’m weirdly ok about it all, I am prepared for the worst. It won't be some big shock if anything does happen.

I’ve somehow accepted this, but I can’t give up and I won’t give up. 

Luke has said that he will support whatever decision I have made, and it might sound crazy but I’ve already made my mind up. 

One way or another I’m seeing this through for my baby boy. 


  1. Hi lovely
    Saw your posts on the BabyCentre and everything you have been through..

    Fingers crossed your baby boy continues to grow stronger 💙

  2. Hi Laura I’m in the same position now (at 19 weeks) as you were earlier this year, I hope things turned out well for you and you have a healthy baby. Also were you offered any treatment?

  3. Hi Laura I’m now 19 weeks and in the same position that you were earlier this year with almost no amniotic fluid. I pray things turned out well and you have a healthy baby now. Also were you offered any treatment?


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