The lead up to my premmie journey
It was around my 30 week scan. (I’m actually 30 weeks at the moment…) - 11 May 2016 to be precise. I was having regular check ups as my eldest baby was IVF (with subsequent babies all being naturally conceived, that’s a whole other story for another day). I was going through the public system and had a mere month left of full time work before heading into the romance of the maternity leave sunset…
The midwife was scanning me and was all ‘hummmm… ummm… yes…’, which needs some qualification for any Mum being checked over in that situation to not send her completely doolally. This was when we first saw signs that my baby’s growth was slowing down. At 30 weeks, she was measuring 10 days behind. No biggie, right? She was still within range so there was nothing to worry about. Phew. The following obstetrician appointment saw us referred to shared care for more monitoring.
Me in the middle of CTG monitoring
The following week I went in for the shared care appointment and they explained that fortnightly growth scans and weekly fluid checks would be needed. I was now in the care of the hospital and we’d start monitoring straight away.
Scanning for the fluids, and the blood flow in the umbilical cord, was easy enough - in and out. The scan was showing high pressure in the cord but it was OK for now. They were looking to make sure that blood and nutrients were still flowing through to the baby and were satisfied with the result.
However, scanning for baby’s heartbeat took over an hour as my wee baby had too much room to move around and the nurse kept losing her! They only needed 20 mins of CTG monitoring, uninterrupted, showing that she was coping well under no stress in the womb. Monitoring progressed every other day over the following weeks, and proved testing in that respect, with one day being a marathon session of 2-8pm!
(This actually went on right up until she was born.)
The scan was still showing high pressure in the chord and they were concerned that the pressure was so high that the blood was going back and forth in the chord instead of flowing through to baby. Whilst this meant that baby was now suffering from IUGR (growth restriction), I had to face the prospect of a cesarean - something I’d never even considered. (Again, another blog post for later - I’m quite ‘sore’ about this in general.)
Over the following 2 weeks, the docs tried for as long as they could to keep baby in. They mentioned the special care unit but I didn’t really have an inkling of what that meant as I wasn’t aware that we would need it at all.
35 weeks + 4 was to be my last hospital visit. The doctor, one of many different doctors I’d seen, said that it was time to deliver my baby.
Looking back, all the signs were there that my baby would come early but as the monitoring continued, I didn’t really know when or whether it would be the case. I had no idea what delivering early meant, what questions to ask or what to expect. Knowing what I know now I would’ve done things differently.