My IVF Diary 3 – 12-13 weeks pregnant

11 Apr

Week 12 & 13: the two weeks following my hemorrhage largely passed by in an emotion filled fog.

I was ecstatic that my baby was alive but terrified of what this hematoma might do to my precious cargo in the coming months.

I was bleeding and in great pain. My doctor signed me off work with instructions not to lift anything heavier than a bottle of water, and to rest, rest, rest. I daren’t move at all for fear of the consequences, so I spent the entire week at home being cared for 24/7 by my husband and mother, who alternated taking holiday from their work.

My primary focus each day was to slow the bleeding as soon as possible and to make it to my 13 week scan the following week in one piece.

It wasn’t glamorous. It was kind of pitiful when I look back on it.

I wore the adult equivalent of disposable nappies, couldn’t walk without assistance, and ascending and descending the stairs to visit the bathroom was a strain too far, so my husband bought me a commode. But I didn’t care. My dignity long gone, I would do anything to protect my baby.

For the first few days, the bleeding continued, accompanied by all sorts of revolting “material”, honestly, had I not seen my baby waving at me on screen, I really would be convinced I was miscarrying at this point. Anyone who has been pregnant before knows that “losing blood and tissue accompanied by pain and cramping” does NOT bode well in any pregnancy and I had the lot, so it seemed totally against all logic to tell myself that things were still ok.

By the end of the week, the bleeding had finally slowed significantly, and was older in appearance, until it eventually stopped altogether at the weekend.

I breathed a huge sigh of relief, but still experiencing pain and tenderness low in my abdomen continuously, I remained on bed rest, just willing baby to hold on tight.

By Monday, I was due my 13 week scan at the hospital, and was eager to see whether the lack of bleeding over the weekend would show some sign of an improving situation inside.

When my husband and I arrived at the hospital, I staggered my way towards the ultrasound waiting room. Since we were 20 minutes early and my bladder was struggling to hold much liquid, I decided to chance the loo with the knowledge that I could easily down a bottle of water during the wait. Besides, this hospital is notorious for running late, so I would undoubtedly be here for a while yet.

To my surprise and annoyance, just 5 minutes later, I was called in to the scanning room.

When I entered, I was met by a tall, unwelcoming lady who barely acknowledged me, instead preferring to focus on the computer screen and my notes.

I climbed onto the bed and looked at my husband nervously.

Abruptly, she swivelled around on her stool, squirted the gel on my stomach, and after confirming my due date commenced the scan in virtual silence.

As she placed the probe on me, I immediately saw my baby, with a heartbeat, looking more developed than just one week previous. I instantly felt some relief, but was hoping for a few words of reassurance from the sonographer to calm me.

Instead, she remained mute, only speaking once to chastise me for not filling my bladder adequately.

After what seemed like an eternity, she measured the baby’s neural tube and crown to rump length twice, declaring both “fine”, swung her stool around, and announced the scan over.

“But what about the hematoma?” I asked, bemused.

“Yes, you have one, what about it?” She retaliated.

“Well my discharge notes state that it should be reviewed at my 13 week scan.”

She turned back around, huffing audibly and placed the probe back on my tummy.

She located it instantly, (hell, you could hardly miss it’s enormous black shadow next to the baby) and quickly measured it’s dimensions. I found it hard to keep up, but from what I could gather it had increased in size since the initial bleed. I was deflated and disheartened. It seemed preposterous that I could have bled for 5 days and yet the blood still pooled inside me had got bigger.

The sonographer asked if I had bled and I confirmed that I had, she jiggled the probe on my tummy violently and turned around to my notes once more without commenting further.

I asked if she had come across many hematomas before and she shrugged her shoulders and said “yes we see them all the time, you will probably bleed throughout the rest of your pregnancy”.

She then asked me if I intended to go ahead with the triple screening for Downs Syndrome, and when I confirmed I would, she proceeded to spend the next 5 minutes asking me to justify why I was bothering and telling me I shouldn’t do it. I was perplexed and irritated, so I nodded and grunted at her rambling in an attempt to end the conversation as soon as possible, until she handed me the blood test form for the screening and dismissed me from the room.

I shuffled through to the waiting area until I was called for my blood test. I handed my form to the midwife, and she splayed out numerous tubes with coloured lids to begin. I pointed her towards my best veins and she inserted the needle and the first tube. Nothing.

She took the tube out and inserted it again. Nothing.

She took the needle out and inserted one into another vein in the back of my hand. Nothing.

Trying to seem unflustered, I laughed it off, but I hate needles and the pin cushion treatment doesn’t really appeal to me.

The midwife scuttled off to find another experienced midwife to take my blood. She arrived 5 minutes later and inserted a cannula into another vein in the opposite arm. Ouch! Nothing.

Now becoming annoyed, I struggled to remain polite towards the fumbling women. She fetched yet another midwife, who entered the room a few minutes later, but instead of inserting another needle she gave me two choices:

Walk to the other end of the hospital and have the blood drawn by a member of the Pathology Team in the hope they would be successful, or go home and come back another day.

Since it had taken every ounce of effort I had just to walk from the car to the antenatal clinic, I was not confident I could make the 10 minute walk to the other end of the hospital, especially knowing they might still be unable to draw my blood. However, I didn’t fancy the greater effort needed to return within the next few days to try again. So I agreed to visit Pathology.

I waddled down the corridor at a snails pace, yelping and squawking with every step as it pulled on the wound inside my uterus. Once I finally reached the Pathology department, I shuffled onto a seat at the front of the waiting area and sat there sweating and out of breath from the strain.

Fortunately, I wasn’t kept waiting for long. I entered the test room and sat in front of yet another woman waiting to extract my blood and handed the forms to her, explaining that I had been sent by the midwives for being a difficult customer.

She glanced over my now punctured veins, applied the tourniquet,and inserted another needle into the same vein that had earlier been unforthcoming. Bingo! Blood poured out freely into several tubes, Hooorah!

I clasped the packet containing my specimens, and hobbled back out to my waiting husband, fist pumping as I went. Anticipating another long walk back to the antenatal clinic to hand my bloods to the midwives, I told my husband I must visit the bathroom first. Diving into the cubicle in Pathology, I breathed a sign of relief as I emptied my bladder for the hundredth time that day, but gasped as I wiped. Fresh blood on the toilet paper.

My heart sank again. That most unwanted sight. I wiped again and again, and whilst not heavy, the blood remained.

I returned to my husband and relayed this latest news. He immediately flicked into the role of protector, telling me to stay where I was while he ran to the opposite side of the hospital to hand my bloods in and collect the car.

I appreciated the thought, but pointed out that there was no other closer area to drive the car to, so I sent him on to deliver my bloods and told him I would walk slowly to the drop off zone of the car park. Some 15 minutes later, he was waiting for me as I arrived in the car park and he ushered me into the front seat, fussing and holding me as I climbed in.

I returned home frustrated by the disappointing scan and difficult blood test, and wracked with worry and anger that the bleeding had started again, but, having delayed the announcement of our pregnancy to most who know us for the past week, including my son, and knowing that people would soon be questioning my prolonged absence from work, we finally agreed to bring everyone in on our secret.

By Wednesday, the bleeding was ongoing and I was still fretting about the dismissive treatment by the sonographer and whether she had caused the new bleed with her rough jiggling above the wound during my scan. When the bleeding picked up on the Thursday morning I broke down to my husband and begged him to book me a private ultrasound to reassure me that the hematoma and new bleeding was not an immediate threat to my poor helpless baby.

He spent over an hour ringing around every private clinic within a 20 mile radius and eventually managed to secure an appointment at 10.30am with a place unknown to us in Marlow.

No sooner had he phoned his work to delay his start time and helped me get dressed, we were on our way.

We arrived in Marlow just 30 minutes later, and scurried into the waiting room of the clinic. Just as before, I sat with my head down, staring at my twiddling fingers and twitching feet trying to hold back the tears.

The assistant asked us to complete some information sheets to confirm details of the pregnancy, but I shooed them away towards my husband as the thought of concentrating on anything right then was implausible.

Finally, we were called in by a cheery sonographer. She read through the notes and reaffirmed that the purpose of the scan was for reassurance after some ongoing bleeding.

I nodded, and explained that we had had a very dissatisfactory experience 3 days ago, after which I began bleeding again, and I was very anxious to understand what was happening.

She squirted the now familiar gel onto my stomach (warmed through for my comfort – you get what you pay for), and placed the probe onto the area. As is usual now, I covered my eyes, grimacing until she confirmed the presence of a heartbeat. And then, in stark contrast to the hurried scan 3 days previous, she spent half an hour showing us every detail of the pregnancy: the baby, it’s measurements, every body part, the hematoma, it’s dimensions, the contents of it… Where it was clotting, where it was located in relation to the placenta, the blood flow to the placenta, the umbilical cord, the ovaries. Everything. All the while, reassuring us that baby was right on track and the hematoma, whilst sizeable, was not yet affecting the placenta.

And then we received two extra special treats.

Firstly, she confirmed that at the princely age of 13 weeks and 3 days old, our baby was sporting the beginnings of what seemed to be male parts, and therefore was about 80% likely to be a “he”. I was shocked. Not because I expected anything different, I didn’t care what it was after the trauma of the past year, but just to know at such an early stage that our baby had an identity. We were carrying a boy. It made him more real somehow, and me more determined to save him than ever. I loved him already.

Secondly, we got to take a sneaky peak of him in 4d. Still so tiny, and yet so human. Looking every inch the little fighter, just like my first son.

image

We left the clinic finally satisfied that we understood what was happening and excited to have seen our beautiful little boy properly at last.

When I returned home, my mother was waiting to care for me. After a few hours rest, she drove me to see my sick uncle for as long as I could manage. I showed him the picture of our little soldier and told him it was a boy. I could only manage a short visit before the pain became too severe, but I’m relieved I made the effort because he passed away later that evening.

The remainder of the week was spent on bedrest, with the usual unwelcome bleeding and discomfort, sometimes slowing, only to pick up again by the evening.

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5 Responses to “My IVF Diary 3 – 12-13 weeks pregnant”

  1. KayC April 11, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

    you write so well, it always leaves me with a lump in my throat, I think all your readers are just willing you and little one on with everything we have. My blood boils at how they treated you, just truly horrible, so much for the caring profession eh? thank heavens for Marlow and good people. Keep those feet up! xxxx

    • ferreroroche123 April 11, 2014 at 9:50 pm #

      Thanks. Yes, NHS has been a disappointment in many ways, but we are fighters!

  2. rebeccabeesley April 12, 2014 at 8:46 pm #

    sorry to hear what an awful experience you had with that scan, but so glad you got that picture at the next one. It is truly amazing to see that level of detail. Really hope things improve for you through the rest of the pregnancy. #PoCoLo xxx

  3. Victoria Welton (@VicWelton) April 13, 2014 at 8:01 pm #

    Crying again…as always. This is so beautiful. I am SO happy for you. How dare that sonographer treat you like that!! People with that sort of attitude should not be allowed to work in hospitals. If I knew who she was I would give her a piece of my mind!! So pleased that you got to see your boy and find out the exact details. So sorry about your Uncle – glad he got to see the photos. Thank you for linking to PoCoLo lovely xx

    • ferreroroche123 April 13, 2014 at 8:07 pm #

      Thanks Hun. Will try not to make you cry at every post!

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