Thursday, 9 April 2020

22 weeks pregnant - Fighting for life


22 weeks pregnant - Oligohydramnios

The weeks are ticking by, I can't decide if they feel like they are going quite quickly, or if they are dragging due to how slow life has become with Covid-19 and the lockdown that has been imposed on Britain.

I have now been self isolating for 3 weeks, and I am now 22 weeks pregnant. 

I am 2 weeks from viability. 

There are 14 days between being able to fight for life and just having to let him go.

I have accepted that I am on a different path in this pregnancy, there is un-certainty but for me, only one clear way forward, and that is to carry on.

I am not buying things for my baby, in many respects I am just hoping to wake up each morning and still feel his movements, to still hear his heart booming over the doppler. There will be no new baby clothes, no next to me crib and no coming home outfit.

At least..... Not any time soon.

When I woke up on Sunday morning I could feel Nugget popping his little limbs up, hard enough for me to feel the effort with my hand. I immedietly called Leo into my room. He has been waiting weeks to feel his baby brother kicking for himself.

Leo gently placed his hand on my tummy and within a few seconds, he had a few bops to the hand from his baby brother. 

The first contact between two siblings.  

Leo thought it was amazing, and I was so happy to know that he got that experience. There was a time that I didn't think any of us would get to feel his movements, that the straight jacket he was contained within would prevent any movements what so ever, but little Nugget had other ideas and is letting us all know that he is getting stronger.

I've had some dreams during this week, the first one ended not long before I called Leo in to feel his baby brother wiggling around. I was at my parents, and Nugget had decided to come early. I was holding him in my arms and he was just like your typical new born. I recall changing his nappy and getting him dressed, we hadn't made it to the hospital, but he seemed to be doing amazingly...

The second dream was a few days later, I found myself back at Birmingham Women's Hospital, only this time I seemed to be having an appointment in the basement where the higher tech sonogrophy machines were apparently based... I was in a long line of pregnant women who were all waiting to see their little one's. 

Eventually it was my turn, and I was told that my fluid levels were now absolutely fine and that baby could most certainly have a chance at life now. 

Then I woke up....

I've worked out that my levels must have been lower since around 18 weeks, it was classed at the lower end of normal during the scan I had at Worcester, but then classed as below normal at the 18 week Amniocentisis.

Today I had my first consultant appointment, this was luckily with the lovely consultant I had met at my last Worcester scan. It was at the local hospital in my town which was ideal, especially since this was the first time I had taken myself out anywhere in over 3 weeks. I was surprised to see how busy the nearby streets were, but the hospital itself was eeirly quiet.

I had given this appointment so much thought, I had wondered how it would go, whether my requests for what happened for the remainder of my pregnancy would have them class me as barking mad and unreasonable. I already knew how I wanted to proceed and I was anxious that once my notes hit the table, I would be faced with the doom and gloom once again, instead of clutching to that small glimmer of hope.

I walked into the hospital, the reception desk was closed with no one manning it. I had no idea where I needed to go.

I wandered up and down the corridor and saw a group of ladies at one end, I asked if they had any idea where I needed to go, and then I recognised one of the faces. Nicky!

My midwife with Leo in my first pregnancy, the lady who saw me through my miscarriage in July, and the same lady who has been my absolute saviour in this pregnancy. I swore I wouldn't cry at this appointment, but as soon as I saw Nicky I felt insanely emotional.

This golden women got me into fetal medicine so quickly, she's provided additional scans, valuable advice at the end of the phone, and even got me appointments when I have had more worrying feedback from scans, to try and find some clarity in this emotional rollercoaster of a pregnancy.

I owe a lot to this lady, and considering that she is not my assigned midwife in this pregnancy, and actually in a completely different role... I have had more contact and help from this one lady than I have either of my actual midwives.

For the first time since my booking in appointmnet I had my urine tested for water infections and what not, my blood pressure taken and I heard Nugget's heartbeart for the first time other than on an ultrasound (and on my home doppler of course).

I had to chuckle when they exclaimed how clear my pee sample was, I guess from all this water I have been drinking for Nugget I am now super hydrated! Thankfully the sample was clear of any nasties that might put more of a concern over my pregnancy and baby boy.

I filled Nicky in on the Amniocentisis results, and then I was called into my appointmnet with the consultant. Nicky had already told her that I was concerned that my choices might be deemed on the crazy side, but both of these wonderful ladies were completely reassuring.

Not once throughout either of these meetings did anyone speak of termination or ending the pregnancy, and for this I was so grateful. 

It wasn't a very long appointment as I am actually due to go back to Worcester Hospital and the Fetal Medicine team (with this very consultant) on Tuesday 14th April. I chimed in that I already knew pretty much the direction I wanted this to go in. I put forward my wish for medical intervention, for a c-section and steriods for Nugget's lungs before birth.

I laid bare my understanding, and let her know that despite all of this I want to give my baby boy a chance at life.

It wasn't the fight of a conversation I had built myself up for. It was a simple discussion, one that reassured me that I could decide how we play this out. It didn't have to just be a care package, it didn't have to be a natural birth that distressed Nugget.

It could be as much or as little medical intervention as I decided.

I was advised that I would be scanned and baby re-evaluated the following week, following this appointment we could make a plan. I guess I need to think about the gestation of baby when he makes his arrival, and what intervention I would want and when.

Would I want a c-section at 24 weeks? When it's put like that, when he is literally right on th cusp of viability when completly healthy babies have the biggest of fights before them.... Would I really want to put my baby boy through that?

No one knows how far I will go in this pregnany, I think it is pretty safe to say that I won't go full term and I have accepted along the way that the best case scenario for my little man is to be born prematurely.

Ideally I want him to get to 30 weeks, and potentially a minimum of 26 weeks.

30 weeks would take us to next month on May 31st. It is so strange to think that he could make his appearance in the world that soon.

Today's appointment was more positive than I could have invisioned. I feel like I am in really good hands, and I am re-assured that it won't just be me fighting for his life. I will have a team of people who are also fighting for him and listening to my wishes, all the while with them considering my personal needs and health.

It is nice to feel that we have a direction again, the last few weeks since the final fetal medicine appointmnet and Tetralogy of Fallot diagnosis, I have felt like we had just been written off, brushed under the carpet. In the notes the consultant made today, she said 'Mum keen to give baby a chance, but also realises that this is gestation dependant'.

That is more positive than the outright fetal demise I was pretty much promised at my last appointmnent. It's not clairty, but it's a chance.

I just need to hope that he is gaining weight and growing, all be it if he is smaller than your average baby. He just needs to be getting bigger and following his own little growth plan.

That wraps my 22 week update, I would say it has been another good week.

For me everyday that his heartbeats means we have conquered another day.



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