Last Night’s Scan

Rather than drive all the way to the fertility clinic, we used the local imaging clinic for last night’s scan. It felt pretty weird driving back there. I pulled into the car park where 13 months ago I sat crying in the car after finding out the baby’s heart had stopped beating at 10w4d. It was kind of surreal knowing that 13 months had passed since that day, that I’d survived and moved on, lost another pregnancy in the interim, and was back¬†again at eight weeks pregnant. Life eh?

I felt pretty calm going in – to be honest I have felt so rough that I was expecting nothing other than a heartbeat. Which there was ūüôā

So that was all good.

They are absolutely lovely in this place, and we’ve used it many times over the last six years. Thankfully staff turnover means I’m not recognised, unlike the hospital early pregnancy unit, which I’ve managed to completely avoid this time around, hurrah! I’ve booked another scan there for 11w1d, because that is just past the point we lost our baby boy last year, as well as booking my nuchal fold scan. It’s the third nuchal fold scan I’ve booked in three years, so hopefully we’ll actually get to go to this one. IF that all works out, I’ll finally book in with a midwife.

I’ve got a lot going on in my head (as usual), so I’ll ramble through it, trying to make sense of it all.

I came out of the clinic and I knew I should have been happier. I knew I should have driven home feeling fabulous that it was all going so well, but I just couldn’t. I felt pretty flat to be honest. The bottom line is:

Okay, so there’s a heartbeat. At eight weeks that means my odds of a successful pregnancy are now 98% [1]. But I had a heartbeat at ten weeks last year, which gave me odds of 99.6% – yet my baby was in the 0.4% that didn’t make it. Someone has to be on the wrong side of the statistics, so why won’t it always be me?

I just can’t seem to accept that this is ever going to pan out into a “proper” pregnancy. For three years all I’ve seen are blobs on the ultrasound screen with or without heartbeats that never grow into real babies. In fact, I remember my complete astonishment last year when I did miscarry, that what came out was actually a miniature human being. All I’d seen had been indefinite blobs with no distinct limbs, yet¬†when I passed the baby, it really¬†was a perfect baby. Ten perfect and unbearably small fingers and toes.

I think going to these ultrasounds doesn’t reassure me because a) they haven’t made any difference to the outcomes really, just given me dates on when things have gone wrong and b) you end up with pictures that look like this:

2015-04-15-scan

And that is the best one. That blob is apparently normal. I’ve stared at it until my eyes are sore, but I can’t even fathom what is what.

I’ve also sat and watched the heartbeat video they gave me over and over again. And then I dug out the one from last year and compared it. They look exactly the same. I even counted the beats. They both run at about 160bpm.

Everything the sonographer said was good. She told me the heart was “going like the clappers”, he was right at the very, very top of the uterus (good news given my brush with placenta previa when I had C), and he’s in a nice big sac (a small sac is correlated with miscarriage – although a large sac is correlated with chromosomal issues like Downs – as you can imagine I’ve googled the hell out of every piece of information I’ve been given).

Also, there was no sign of a second sac/unidentified object (and to be frank, no room for it given the massive balloon this baby is in), so whatever that blob was on scan 1 it has gone.

So.

All in all, I really have no reason at all to worry. I should be dancing around the house and ordering newborn babygros.

But I am worried.

In fact, I was so worried last night that I went to bed with a massive headache, and then in bed I felt a couple of weird pains in my uterus that were vaguely like the pains I had when I lost the baby at ten weeks and I was instantly convinced I’d miscarried straight after the scan (which is what happened last year).

This morning I dug out my doppler from the bottom of the drawer, where it’s lain discarded and untouched for 13 months, switched it on and searched desperately for a heartbeat.

And I found it within 60 seconds. Galloping away, it was still there. The pains didn’t mean I’d miscarried. Everything was still okay. The baby is sat about an inch above my pubic bone, right in the middle. He’s still in there.

I am going crazy, I tell you.

And do you know what my new obsession is? Chromosome and birth defects.

When I saw my doctor at the start of this week, he talked to me about the risk of Down syndrome and said if I wanted to talk over the nuchal result to just let him know and we could chat numbers and statistics before making any decisions about invasive testing (my doctor is a wonderful man – I am actually very fond of him). He said given I’m 40 my risk could well come back high and it won’t necessarily mean anything is wrong.

So I went home thinking, how high? What IS the risk at 40?

And it turns out the average, age-based risk for Downs for a women aged 40 at term is 1:85 [2]. Except I’ll be just a couple of weeks away from being 41 at term, which would increase my risk to 1:70.

1:70!!!!

I thought the risk was around 1:250 for my age. So I totally freaked out about that. And then of course there’s the progesterone (slightly increased risk of hypospadias [3]), and the prednisolone (increased risk of cleft palate [4]), and my crazy blood sugar highs and lows (high blood sugar in the first eight weeks is linked with a list of defects longer than you can imagine¬†[4]).

I just feel exhausted thinking about it all.

It seems like the chances of having a healthy baby are microscopically small.

So instead of being all happy clappy and pleased with myself, I’m walking around under a cloud of fear. A 40 year old pregnant women with a history of miscarriage. What chance do I have of having a real, live, healthy, happy baby at the end of it all?

I think this will lift somewhat when I get past 10w4d, for obvious reasons. Yet that still seems so far away. And hopefully at the next scan I’ll see something that actually resembles a baby, which will help enormously. I’ll be able to stop worrying I’ve created something with no arms or legs, or deformities beyond recognition.

I was going to write more, about my meds and what’s going on there, but I’m tired of the subject now. I’m going to go and eat some boiled eggs instead.

Before I go, I’ll leave you with this smiley ghost face, which is what I see every time I look at last night’s¬†scan picture:

2015-04-15-happyscan

I’m aware I probably sound a little¬†completely crazy, given I have no reason to suspect anything is wrong, but given that over the last few years¬†if it can go wrong it has, I’m really struggling to accept the “normality” of this pregnancy. Bear with me. At some point the switch will flick and I’ll revert back to the Faye of old (I hope she’s still in there somewhere), but right now I’m still in furtive, anxious, on-the-edge-of-hysteria mode.

I want to allow myself to be happy.

But I don’t want to feel like a total f*cking idiot when¬†if it all goes wrong.

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