27 weeks 💗

Can’t quite believe it, but here we are at 27 weeks! Very nearly third trimester and all has been calm and well for the last 5 weeks or so. It’s been so lovely to be without complications for a bit, I feel like I’m more carefree and able to enjoy this pregnancy at the moment despite the insomnia, back ache and CONSTANT peeing! I really hope it’s plain sailing from here on in (although I feel as though I say that every few weeks!)

I haven’t been blogging much because really there hasn’t been much to say – which is a good thing for sure! But as I’m here now, I’ll take the opportunity to update you all on the exciting things that have been happening with the miscarriage training I’ve been a part of at my local hospital for the last few months.

The sessions have gone from strength to strength and the feedback has been so overwhelmingly positive. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s a paper about the training being presented at the Royal College Of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians World Congress in June, which I’ve been asked to record a soundbite for to be played alongside it, AND as if that wasn’t awesome enough, the training has also been nominated for an NHS award!

I’m blown away, humbled and so proud of how far this little project has come already and so excited to see where it goes next. I found a lovely lady from Bristol who’s taking up the mantle at one of her local hospitals so already the sessions are starting to spread out to other health boards and other hospitals which is just brilliant. Hopefully the World Congress and the awards will be further opportunity to get Doctors from other hospitals keen and involved so that eventually this training becomes standard practice across the UK, and dare I say, maybe even beyond!

On top of that I’ve now agreed to be part of a working group to discuss some of the main points that have come up during these sessions, working with NHS staff to put better tools and practices in place for them, and for their patients. One of the things I think may be an early focus of this working group is the production of an information leaflet, so it’s all going on!

Understandably I’m going to have to take a small step back from all of this for a little while after little miss arrives, but I plan to be as involved in these projects as I possibly can be for the foreseeable so I’ll definitely be back to it once my home life settles down a bit post baby.

As ever I’ll keep you all posted! If any of you are UK based and interested in volunteering at your local hospitals please do get in touch with me and I’ll see if we can’t get the ball rolling!

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22 Weeks

Here we are at 22 weeks already! This pregnancy seems to be whizzing past but I think it’s at least partly because we’ve had so much worry along the way that I’ve sort of put it out of my mind a lot and now suddenly we’re over halfway!

After we had our 20 week scan and everything was spot on we thought we were finally in the clear and had nothing but excitement and joy ahead of us. Of course that isn’t how it’s been at all though, of course we’ve had to endure another bleed, more tests, and more worry. It’s been tough. Last week it all got on top of me and I didn’t cope very well at all. Probably not helped by having a horrendous chest infection too, but I had a really low week of feeling tearful and very down.

It’s my birthday soon and I had lots of nice plans to catch up with friends, go on nice day trips and I’ve now had to cancel all of them as it seems that being on my feet for any length of time results in a bleed which understandably causes a lot of stress and worry and means more trips to the hospital. Every time it happens we get checked out and baby’s fine, they can’t find a reason for the bleeding but my gut is telling me to take it easy and rest as much as possible. That does seem to be keeping the bleeding at bay so far but leaves me feeling down in the dumps. It feels a bit like I’m giving up more and more independence with every passing week and that’s not something I’m used to. I’m an active, busy person generally so all of this resting and taking it easy just doesn’t come naturally to me.

This morning, after almost 2 weeks of feeling terrible I’ve woken up feeling much more myself. A change in mindset was needed so after a bit of wallowing and a lot of tears, I’ve reset my brain a bit. Yes it’s frustrating having to take it easy and no I don’t enjoy losing my independence and feeling anxious every time I’m away from Paul or further than I’d like from a hospital, BUT it isn’t forever. It’s a short term thing, just a few more months and my baby girl will be here. She’ll be worth it all I’m sure so for now, I’m going to try and enjoy what’s left of this pregnancy and stop feeling sorry for myself. Plenty of people have it much worse, and whatever small sacrifices I’m having to make at the moment, if it’s that or not having this baby then I know which I’d choose every time.

Onwards and upwards (or should that be outwards?!)

“Not a girl baby please Mammy”

After all the worrying we’ve done this pregnancy, we felt we needed something nice to do, something Arthur could be included in (we’re always too terrified to take him to any medical scans or appointments – just in case) and something to finally get us excited about having this baby instead of just anxiously waiting for the next stumbling block. So we booked a private gender scan for yesterday morning. I won’t lie, I was absolutely a bag of nerves before the appointment, scans are always slightly terrifying to me because unfortunately we’ve had more negative experiences of them than positive, but I knew we needed to do it. The 20 week anomaly scan still feels like a lifetime away, I wanted to see for myself that our little bean was still ok in there.

The place we used is somewhere we’ve used previously when we were expecting Arthur, they’re medically trained and have all worked in the university hospital of Wales prior to starting the private business so we know we’re in safe hands there.

The scan was absolutely lovely, we saw our little bean, heard the heart beat and Arthur was mesmerised. It was a really nice experience and I’m so glad we did it. And the cherry on top was that we found out that we’re having a girl 💗 we’d have been over the moon no matter what, but having one of each is perfect as we know this will be our last. Arthur had repeatedly asked me for “not a girl baby mammy” so I thought we might be in for a bit of trouble with him, but he was actually so excited and hasn’t stopped talking about his baby sister since. I think the fact that her heartbeat sounded like a drum sold it for him!

I had an inkling all along that it was a girl this time, I feel different than I did on Arthur and my bump is very different this time around too. Much neater and higher than my big barrel belly was on Arthur! We’re absolutely thrilled and I can’t wait to start buying pretty little girly things! I’ve had three years of buying boys stuff so it’ll be a nice change.

16 weeks 2 days.

Other than our exciting news, I’ve also been in contact with my local hospital again who want to run another miscarriage training session for some newly qualified GP’s and they’ve asked me to come along and help out again. I’m so so pleased that this is becoming an ongoing training plan and not just a one off, I feel very passionately about doing all I can to help spread awareness and improve treatment of miscarriage and I’m really pleased that the feedback from the first session was so positive, and that I’ve been invited back. I used some annual leave for the last one, but as this now looks to be something more long term that won’t be an option each time, so I had a nose at my options with my employer. As it turns out, the organisation I work for are really supportive and keen to encourage volunteering if it helps the local community or personal wellbeing – I think these training sessions tick both boxes so I cleared it with my boss (who is always incredibly supportive), and have secured 4 half days a year that I can take as volunteer leave for these events. So all things considered, it’s been a really good week!

Relief

Just a quick update to say that we’ve had our results back from the hospital and they’ve come back negative for Down’s Syndrome, Edwards and Patau’s. The NIPT test is bloody amazing and of course we’re so relieved.

I don’t think I’ll fully relax until the 20 week scan confirms everything is ok, but I definitely feel more relaxed now than I have done in months.

Maybe I can actually get some sleep now?!

Thank you to everyone who’s contacted me with words of support and encouragement, you’re all awesome and what makes this community is so invaluable to me. 💗

NIPT

We’ve just come back from our NIPT blood test which is now whizzing it’s way to Cardiff for testing. We should get the results next week all being well, so now all we can do is wait. It’s definitely nerve wracking and I know this next few days of waiting will feel like an eternity but for now we’ve done all we can. So we wait.

Paul and I had a good long chat after the initial shock had worn off, and once we both knew we were on the same page about any future decisions we may have to make I think we both felt a lot better.

The NIPT is 99.9% accurate, so although we may still be offered cvs/amniocentesis if this result also comes back high risk, we agree we would most likely decline it. It’s a very personal choice, but for us the margin of error in the NIPT is so small, and the risk of miscarriage following an amnio is actually greater than the risk of our baby being born with Down’s Syndrome so we feel declining the amnio would be best for us, especially given our history of miscarriage. Ultimately, if the results come back and confirm that our baby is likely to be born with Down’s syndrome it won’t change a thing. We’re still having a baby, we just may need to make plans a little differently is all.

As my mum always says “nothing worth having comes easy”. Boy ain’t that the truth.

Another hurdle

So after having approximately one week of feeling slightly less anxious I got the call everyone dreads yesterday. My results have come back as being high risk for Down’s Syndrome.

I’m glad I had the presence of mind to write things down as I was hearing them, and that the midwife was very patient and happy to repeat things a million times because honestly, I went in to a blind panic. Came off the phone in floods of tears and had a little panic attack. Couldn’t get the words out to tell Paul even which I’m sure was terrifying for him to see me so hysterical and not know what was going on. Thank God I was working from home is all I can say.

Everything was “normal” at our scan, including the NT measurement but something in my bloods has made our risk come out at 1 in 148. Anything below 1 in 150 is considered high risk so I’m only just in the high risk category and trying to take comfort in the fact that the scan was all normal. The midwife was really reassuring and said to try not to worry (easier said than done) as they get a couple of these turn out to be false positives every week. There’s a new non invasive test (called NIPT) available at our NHS hospital that we’re having on Friday, and we’ll get the results a week later with 99% accuracy so we’re just focusing on that for now and trying not to worry about what may or may not happen next. Again, that’s easier said than done. We’re very lucky that this test is available to us though, until recently it was only available privately and cost anything from £400-£900. The midwife said they’d love to just screen everyone with this one test which is far more accurate than the current 12 week screening, but it’s just too expensive to be able to offer to everyone. Just another example of our wonderful NHS having their hands tied due to funding problems.

I didn’t get much sleep last night, and I definitely resemble puffy eyed roadkill this morning so working from home is the order of the day but having had a bit of time to process, research, and talk things through with Paul, and with a friend who’s been through this recently I do feel a little better today.

We’ve gone through so much already, and overcome so much already that this is just the latest hurdle for us to get over. Whatever the outcome we’ll deal with it like we’ve dealt with everything else that’s been thrown our way. I just wish I could fast forward to a week Friday now. The waiting is agonising.

…aaaaand breathe!

Just a quick update to let you all know that everything went well at my appointment and baby G is looking chilled and cosy in there. 13 weeks today and starting to feel slightly more human…although it would be really nice to be able to brush my teeth without provoking a vom!

Anyway, no complaints here, I’m just so happy and relieved that everything is ok. For the first time in months I actually feel like I can stop holding my breath.

Phew.