We Have a Heartbeat :-)

Scan

Firstly, my apologies for the long time it took me to update – I only get to post in the mornings!

So… wanna hear all about it?

I waited at the EPAU for 65 long minutes to see a consultant. I think my sonographer was in training, because when I finally got in there, the consultant kept telling him what to do…

He hadn’t turned the screen properly away from me, so I could just about see what he was doing as soon as he started. Straight away I could see the little black hole that was the pregnancy sac. But it was empty. He moved in and out, it got bigger and smaller, but there was nothing inside.

He turned to me with a smile, and spoke with an indeterminate accent:

This looks very good here.

He pointed at the black hole.

I figured his training wasn’t going too well, given that he was reassuring me already and he had yet to find an embryo.

He then said he would have to use the “wand” if it was OK with me (that’s the vaginal probe or vag cam), but the consultant stepped in and told him to use the ‘other’ probe.

Ahhh yes, you are very slim, you see! I must use this one!
Yes, yes
, laughs the consultant, she is slim so the other probe is better!

He held up another probe for me to look at and grinned at me.

I couldn’t believe how cheery they both were, given that no one had yet seen any evidence of a baby.

Then suddenly, with the new probe for skinny people, a shadow appeared in the black hole. My heart leapt – there was something there.

He zoomed in and out of the layers of the shadowy area and then there it was – I saw it at the exact same time he did.

A flickering light. A tiny flashing area. A beating heart.

I gasped.

Can you see?
A heartbeat! There’s a heartbeat?
Yes, yes…

He holds the probe still and watches me while I watch the flickering light on the screen in complete awe.

And then I cry.

And my stomach bobs in and out and the baby disappears from view.

I manage to contain my tears long enough for him to find the baby again, take a photo and print it out.

Their smiles say everything.

The baby measures 4mm, which is a little on the small side, but the presence of a heartbeat at that size is just AMAZING.

They want me back in 4 weeks for a repeat scan. In the meantime they have given me aspirin and progesterone suppositories (nice).

For once, I might just take the drugs without question.

So now what?

As you can imagine, I came out of the hospital walking on air. I felt so relieved.

But old habits die hard. By the time DH and I were sat on our own and the boys were in bed, all the fears and doubts were creeping back in. Having been through a horrendous missed miscarriage, I can’t shake the fear that this baby could just stop growing at any time, and I wouldn’t even know.

I have achieved hardly anything over the last couple of weeks, feeling like my life was on hold because I needed to know if this baby was OK in there.

I can’t spend the next four weeks doing the same, and then the four after that, and so on. I can’t live in limbo.

So we have made a decision.

We will book a private scan in two weeks, just to check that everything is progressing as it should through the time that I lost the pregnancy before.

In the meantime, I’m going to try not to think about the millions of adverse outcomes (missed miscarriage, miscarriage, genetic defects, bad test results, bleeding, physical anomalies and deformities, placenta praevia, stillbirth, death in labour (me or the baby or both)), and instead focus on the one good path:

That I am pregnant, and that at the end of September this year (or soon after) we will be a family of five.

I went to sleep last night thinking of all the hearts beating oh-so quietly in our house. Mine and my husband’s, my two boys, and deep inside me, in miniature form, the brand new heart of a miracle I’d long ago stopped hoping for.

The Mind Boggles

DS1 attends preschool and is good friends with another little boy there, called Billy.

This morning, during breakfast, DS1 said:

Mummy, Billy had to go to hospital.
Did he? But I saw him yesterday when I collected you at preschool – you were sitting next to him.
He went to hospital and his mum had to pick his bum-bum, ha ha ha!
Huh?
His mum had to pick his bum-bum and there was blood.
There was blood on his bottom?
Nooooo Mummy, the blood was INSIDE his bum-bum. She had to pick it out.
She did??
Yes, she had to pick the blood out of his bum-bum and when Billy wet himself yesterday he showed me [DS1 is sporting a huge grin].
He did??
Yes, and at the hospital the nurse had to use a knife to cut the blood out of his bum-bum [laughs with glee].
That sounds horrendous!
Noooo Mummy. He was very brave. He told me.

I contemplated texting Billy’s Mum to enquire if Billy was OK, but decided that some things are best left unsaid.

Place Your Bets Now

I did a pregnancy test today. Why? Because my temperature dropped a little this morning. Why did I take my temperature? Because I’ve gone back to temping since I had spotting.

And?

My test line was lighter. At 29dpo it was lighter than at 24dpo.

Logic says that lighter test = less HCG in sample.

However, googling for this turns up lots of threads about lighter tests in early pregnancy and the so-called hook affect where a higher level of HCG actually results in a fainter line.

Apparently, you can test this theory yourself by dipping two tests, one in 100% urine and one in 50% urine, 50% water.

Being scientifically minded, this is exactly what I did next.

And?

Both lines were about the same and they were all lighter than my line 5 days ago.

So much for the hook affect.

So, as I count down the hours until the ultrasound reveals all, I am weighing up the signs that tomorrow will go well, against the signs that tomorrow will go badly.

Positives:

I have some degree of nausea.
My belly is definitely bigger.
My boobs are sore, every day.
I’ve had no cramping.
Implantation occured during the best window for chances of success.
I’ve carried two successful pregnancies to term.
My early tests showed excellent progression of line colour.
I’ve had no dark brown spotting (unlike my miscarriages).

Negatives:

I am 39.
I am nowhere near as tired as I was with DS1 and DS2 at this stage.
I’ve had increasing amounts of lower backache – more miscarriage than pregnancy in my experience.
I’ve had three days with some red spotting.
My uterus feels sore and swollen.
I’ve lost 6 pregnancies previously.
My temperature was down this morning.
My pregnancy tests are now showing a lighter line.

What is my gut feeling?

I really don’t know anymore.

It has been, pretty consistently, a good feeling.

But tonight I’m not so sure.

When I had my scan at 11.5 weeks that showed my missed miscarriage, I honestly believed everything was ok until the actual words of apology came out of the consultant’s mouth.

I am a hopeless optimist. When things go wrong I am never prepared for the emotional impact of the blow.

I know that I will be sat on the hospital bench tomorrow and 99% of me will be expecting a heartbeat and a baby that sizes correctly for my dates.

Yet I could be barrelling toward a sudden and bloody miscarriage with no idea that it is about to happen.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, that’s the end of my self-analysis. It is a relief that tomorrow I will be dealing with facts and numbers, and not feelings and estimates.

It’s been a long 3 weeks – and probably not just for me, eh?

Thank you for all your words of encouragement and support.

I am Massive

I’ve always shown really early.

With DS1 I couldn’t button up any of my jeans at 6 weeks. Luckily, I was wearing generally baggier clothes with DS2, so it was a little longer before I had the same problem (and it was easier to hide because I weighed more).

I don’t know why I show so early. The baby is tiny (if it’s growing properly, it is the size of a lentil right now). So I can only assume that it is a combination of the thicker lining of the uterus, the fluid-filled pregnancy sac (maybe I have big sacs?), general fluid retention, the fact that I’m quite small to start with and my extremely slack stomach muscles. I suppose if my intestines are pushed up even an inch, my weak abdominal wall just lets them spill straight out in front. Oh the joy of the post-childbirth body.

This is what my stomach looked like before I got pregnant for the first time (cue poor quality holiday pic):

belly

I spent the whole of my teens in severe angst about my skinny body and lack of womanly curves. I had tiny boobs, a tiny bum and no belly. I thought I looked like a stick.

Then, this was my belly with my first pregnancy, at 8 weeks:

DS1_8weeks

At this point, because I didn’t fit into my own jeans, I had to buy the next size up. They were baggy around my bum, but I wasn’t big enough for maternity wear. Eugh. Even though I was still small, I walked around feeling fat and frumpy and nauseous and fed up. I had spent most of my twenties wearing skin-tight clothing and I wasn’t too enamoured with the idea of wearing frumpy trousers to hide the fact I was pregnant.

I don’t have a picture of the early weeks of DS2 (I spent most of the first trimester with swine flu – seriously – it still seems like a miracle DS2 survived), but I was bigger second time around.

And this time?

I took these yesterday (6 weeks):

6weeks_1

6week_2

I’m just fat now, right?

The thing is, I weigh LESS now that I did when I got pregnant with DS2.

But I am massive.

If I turn up to that scan tomorrow and they tell me there is no baby growing in there…

There’s got to be something going on, right?

Gawd, I hope I haven’t got some kind of fast growing fibroid, or weird tumour, or excess amniotic fluid, or some other horrible affliction.

My uterus feels really sore and swollen and I am not very comfortable.

I think I might be incubating a dinosaur.

Day 42 – 6w0d

Well, six weeks is a big milestone.

However I’ve had a small amount of spotting again this morning after two days of nothing.

Two long days to go until my scan. Jeez, how I am gonna feel if they tell me the pregnancy is not viable?

How am I gonna feel if they tell me it is?

Luckily the next two days have things to do and activities for the boys so they won’t drag on like today. Monday’s tend to be mostly pyjama days, maybe punctuated by a grocery run.

Eugh.

I cannot believe I am 6 weeks today. It just doesn’t seem even vaguely like reality.

My nausea is very intermittent. I’m tired in the evenings but not exhausted.

In actual fact, I don’t think I can even associate pregnancy with myself right now. It all seems to be dependent on confirming there is something in there. If I see a heart beating, maybe I’ll be able to believe it.

Otherwise I am feeling distinctly emotional, which I am guessing is down to hormones.

I’m doing my absolute best to ignore it all as much as I can, but it’s not easy!

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