Pregnancy Story - Intrauterine Growth Restriction
So here goes, pregnancy. I have a love hate relationship with pregnancy. I absolutely loved the feeling of having and knowing I was creating life inside of me, my beautiful baby, I am making him. However my pregnancy was far from easy, it consisted in some long days and nights in hospital, laying on the sofa daily in silence, praying to feel a little kick.
Lets start with finding out I was pregnant. I had plans of getting pregnant, . I just knew my boobs were sore, I was knackered, which was pretty normal then as I was working two full on jobs to keep my own little flat running. But someone suggested I did a pregnancy test, so I thought I should. I did a wee on the stick, left it, had a bath and totally forgot about it. I got out peeped over thinking ‘oh yeah the test’..well wasn’t I surprised, a faint line, hang on is that even a line? MUM! I called her straight away..ahh I’m pregnant, (I accepted after at least 10 tests). I didn’t go to work that day; my emotions were super high, and I needed time to digest it. Poor Nick, on his way back from his week away in Poland, excited to get back to tell me all about it, that lasted two minutes before I broke the news, he was brilliant, hands on straight away and we had moved in together just five weeks later. Bless him.
My first trimester was ok, I mean, I felt sick all the time and of course absolutely knackered, but that’s totally normal right? There's not so much glitz and glamour in the first trimester. I remember our first scan, sitting in the waiting room absolutely terrified. Will there be a heartbeat? Am I really pregnant? Is there only one? But yes, he was perfect, floating away in there, growing nicely and super happy.
At 15 weeks pregnant, my whole world crashed burned and changed. I lost my dear Nanna, my absolute rock, I can’t explain to you how close we were, and I’m not even going to try in this blog right here, as I would be typing for hours, but you get the jist, absolutely broken. Can you imagine, a couple of months ago the best thing in the world happens, then the worst. What a whirlwind. She was poorly from the beginning of my pregnancy, but I would give my right arm for her to of been able to hold on to least to meet him. I found it super hard to enjoy my pregnancy after this, I did my best, but all I could focus on was getting through each day, riddled in grief.
From around 18-20 weeks pregnant I started to have concerns, as I hadn’t felt any movements and people would be asking all the time ‘can you feel him kicking away’, and also I had no bump, I’d put on some weight, but as far as bumps go, nothing. I shared my concerns a few times with people, but nothing properly, people would say, ‘oh everyone is different’, which yes that’s true, but this was really really different.. I attended the delivery suite a few times, they would check his heartbeat with the Doppler and send me home, saying that I couldn’t feel the movements, because I had an anterior placenta, which, yes, this can delay feeling movements, but shouldn’t be used as an excuse.
The reduced and absent movements went on and on, and I was still given the same answer, and they told me before 28 weeks, they just check the heartbeat, but I knew something wasn’t right.
We had our 4D scan at 27 weeks, which did put my mind massively at ease seeing him again, and he was absolutely beautiful! If you are thinking about having one of those scans, do it, I massively recommend.
The day I was 28 weeks pregnant, as usual, reduced/absent movements, and I decided enough was enough, and as promised, I knew they would look into it more, now I was 28 weeks pregnant. I called the maternity unit, and I was there that day for 7 hours. I was initially put on the CTG monitor, but it did not meet the criteria for the whole hour, so I was told to go for a walk and try again, after that, the monitor met the criteria after 45 minutes. Next my uterus was measured, which they seen was way below the centile, which the doctor then demanded I had a growth scan that day, which we did, to then they found that Theo was teeny tiny and hadn’t been growing properly. Finally I’m being heard.
From this day I had to attend the maternity unit every week for a scan, one week would be a growth scan, which they could see Theo had static growth and intrauterine growth restriction, then the following week, I would have a scan to measure the fluid, which was always good and a Doppler to check the blood flow through the umbilical cord, which was always very high, as he was having to really put pressure on my placenta for what he needed.
The static growth went on for a few weeks, and at 31 weeks, I was given injections, to prepare our little boys lungs for delivery, and I was mentally prepared by the doctors, that at some point I may need to be transferred out to Exeter or Plymouth as they have more specialist units for premature babies, than at Torbay
But our little fighter picked up his growth from then, only a few ounces here and there, but he was growing, which meant they let him stay inside me for that little bit longer.
I was at the hospital every day at this point, having daily CTG’s, so they could monitor his little movements, as I couldn’t feel them very often. There was a time I stayed in hospital for 2 days, being monitored every couple of hours, that was hard, I’ve actually never felt so alone as those couple of days. I remember laying in bed hearing babies crying, so envious of them, wondering when and if that would be me.
Doctors and consultants had told me there was no way I would be going past 37 weeks, and we had discussed induction, however they had told me it was highly unlikely it was going to work for me and also a good chance Theo would not cope with the stress of labour due to his size and of course the unknown if there was going to be any other issues with him, so nick and I had to make the decision that I would deliver by c-section, which of course was not an easy decision.
Once we had made the decision, we were booked in for a few days later, having a very rushed pre op assessment, to get us prepared. I had a scan the day before he was coming, to realise, I had slowly lost most of my fluid, and my placenta was giving up on him. Luckily we were already booked in the next day, but was put on to the emergency caesarean list.
He was born at 36w+6, so close to full term, a tiny 4lb 6oz. He was perfect. I will certainly do another blog post on my birth story and my six day hospital stay
There was never any answer to why what happened to Theo did, they did blood tests, but there was no known cause, it was just one of those things I guess. Am I scared it’ll happen again when I have another baby? Absolutely terrified. But it won’t stop me, Theo is perfect and I am honesly so so blessed.
IUGR is a scary thing to go through, for both families and babies, we are very very lucky. I would never of got through the difficult time without the constant support from both Nick and my Mum and between them, made sure I never once attended the hospital alone and were there every step of the way. The staff and midwives on both level 4 antenatal clinic and Jon Macphearson at Torbay hospital, are absolutely incredible and I can’t fault a single one of them, I will forever be grateful for all they did for me and my family Please ladies, you know your body and baby, if you feel something isn’t right, speak up and be heard, don’t suffer in silence, because you just never know