02 February 2014

The Twelve Week Scan

You might recall I was getting myself all worked up that we would somehow be behind with the 12 –week scan.  I didn't know I was supposed to visit my community midwife as soon as I knew I was pregnant.  Why would you know with your first.  Nobody tells you what you have to do. Here's the next part in the Waiting for Daisy series, following on from Two Pink Lines 

It’s feels like nobody medical takes your pregnancy that seriously until you reach certain milestones and the twelve week scan is one of them.  For most this will be the first time you find out your due date, you’ll see the baby’s heartbeat on the scanning monitor or there’s the cliche of Dad fainting when the sonographer announces it’s twins; which probably never happens.  You’ll go home with a little print off and you are so proud of this picture you will mostly likely frame it! By the end of the day you'll have bought something for this baby, maybe that pretty baby book you’ve had your eye on.  It’s such an exciting time bringing a baby into the world and I was beaming with pride, 2009 was definitely my best year. It's hard to keep a lid on the bubbling pot of excitement when you know you're expecting but haven't officially announced it yet.  The difference with me was that pot had been on the boil for quite some time.  Most knew before the 12 week scan because it would've been a bit tricky to keep from people you see day to day or week to week; people that were close knew.  I tried to keep things pretty casual though, not wanting to set myself up for a fall should the worst happen.  However, I did want to make plans because you can't just sit and wait until you have the baby, you should be able to enjoy the things that pregnancy brings.  
I was nervous.  I guess these appointments are also where you might find out it is game over for the pregnancy; something that constantly plagued my mind.  You just try and get through one day at a time.  I’ve spoken to women who just dreaded getting their period every month when they were trying to conceive.  They would sink into depression when Mother Nature confirmed they were not pregnant.  I would say the whole IVF experience was a bit like that.  Living on a knife-edge, waiting for something to go wrong.  This was a huge deal to me.  IVF doesn’t just happen overnight and one day Daisy will realise how much she was loved and wanted.  I think most people with first pregnancies are a little nervous; it’s to be expected.  Then there’s those earth mother’s who have had textbook pregnancies, no problems no fear and maybe a little naive.  I don’t think they would share the same anxiety as someone who has battled to become pregnant or someone who has lost babies in the past.  I knew already how hard a battle it was to get to this point and I still felt very much in battle.  I read my baby book that I got from the awful midwife like a boss!  I wanted to get myself gestationally aware, so I knew what to expect, what was happening and when.    

We arrived at the scanning department and I pretty much knew what to expect, you see it on TV all the time.  Plus I get scans of my internal organs every year, so I know the drill.  The uncomfortable part about the twelve week pregnancy scan is the sonographer pressing down on your stomach when your bladder is so full that you are just desperate to pee.  Your uterus is so small, so in order to get clear pictures of the baby you have to have a full bladder.   When your bladder is full it pushes the uterus to the surface of your body, a bit like how the ballcock valve in a toilet works.  As my name was called we both stood up and walked through to one of the treatment rooms.  I remember thinking I’ve got so much to say to this woman and she’s only supposed to be doing the scan.  I told her that I’d came here after having successful IVF treatment at the fertility centre and that I hadn’t found my community midwife very helpful.  I told her I was concerned that nobody knew my background and that I was likely to be a high risk patient.  Once you are confirmed pregnant by the fertility clinic, that is the last they see of you.  You are thrust into the antenatal system.  She quickly assured me that I would be seen a lot and that I would probably end up having scans every few weeks.  This really put my mind at ease.  I got up onto the bed and pulled my jeans down a little so the sonographer could get to the area where the uterus sits.  You may think it sits just under your belly button but you would be wrong, as it's actually a lot further down.  I always laugh to myself at my annual review appointments because the sonographer always has a cheeky wee look to see if there’s anything in there.  That cold jelly stuff was squirted onto my stomach and I heard myself take a deep breath.  The lady asked if I was ready and there was a tense few seconds before she turned the machine on.  Then she looked at me and said, there is your baby as she gestured towards the screen with a lovely warm smile.  I exhaled

The scan was AMAZING, seeing our baby on the screen for the first time, as a little human being was the best thing ever.     Our due date was the Nineteenth of December, a little Christmas baby for Mr & Mrs S!  I can't even put into words how you feel seeing your baby for the first time.  It's another one of those moments that you'll never feel until you are in that situation.  Even the most hardened personalities would crumble.  It didn’t last long, maybe five to ten minutes.  It's really just a measuring exercise so you can be given a due date.  Nevertheless, it was a wonderful and an incredibly emotional experience, more so because we waited so long for it to all happen.  We wanted this baby more than ever.  We got some really neat pictures to take away with us of our little alien looking blob.  Having a national health service in the UK, there’s never any exchange of money for medical services so I found it really weird when asked to give a donation for the print out of pictures you got.  Really, are we that low on funds that we are asking expectant mothers to pay for scan pictures.  After hearing about my medical history she took us up to the clinic.  I remember the first thing my husband and I spoke about after we came out of the room.  I mean the second we got out the room! Well actually we were whispering to each other like little kids.  We were discussing the sex of the baby while following the scanning lady up the corridor.  We were both convinced it was a girl and I was on cloud nine because I really liked the idea of having a girl but didn’t want to get my hopes up.  I wasn’t sure what my husband’s preference was; he never really gave clear answers.  I thought all Dads wanted a son, you know to play football with and stuff like that but he was different, he didn’t like sport.  I knew he fancied a little Daddy’s girl.

We were sitting in the waiting room to see the doctor.  Monday appointments were for high-risk pregnancies and that was me.  I didn’t fully appreciate why I was high risk.  I thought the main issue was that as the baby grew inside me, it would put pressure on my lungs and I would struggle to breathe as my diaphragm was pushed up towards my lungs.  That’s it, end of, oh and the bugs in my chest possibly going crazy.  I had absolutely no idea of the possible things that could go wrong during a normal pregnancy, let alone mine.  The Consultant Obstetrician that would be looking after me, well I wasn’t overly keen on him.  Years and years of experience visiting the hospital, you get a feeling for the people you trust.  I have no doubt that he was a perfectly capable Doctor but I just wasn’t sure about him at times.  The reason for this was that he was not an expert in CF, so when I would ask questions in relation to CF and pregnancy I felt he didn’t know, he gave the impression that he was guesstimating; not his area of expertise I get that.  However that doubt in my mind made me watch his every move and analyse every response.  I thought it should be the responsibility of this man to make it his business to find out how my pregnancy may affect me and give me as much information as possible.  But give him his due, it was the first he had met me so I had to give him a chance.   He decided to get me back to the clinic in three weeks time.

Now that the morning sickness had subsided, I was feeling better.  Mr S was going back to work for two weeks.  I didn't have to be back at hospital for three weeks, so I booked a holiday to Turkey with Mother for some much needed relaxation.

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