Monday, 11 March 2013

The Optimism Of Medical Staff

As I mentioned in my last post, from test to 12 week scan I was petrified that this pregnancy wouldn't progress, having had a "missed miscarriage" earlier in the year when there were no outward signs that anything was wrong and it was only the scan with no heartbeat that flagged the end of the pregnancy.

Which prior to my 12 week scan made me very nervous.

Very nervous indeed.

I knew what could go wrong and it had happened to me 'just' the once. Medical staff must have seen many, many more women bounce cheerfully into their scan rooms only to hear horrendous news. Yes, many more might get good news but surely the bad news stories stick in the mind more.

So of all the people you'd expect to be touching wood or at least using cautious language, medical staff would, you'd have thought, been right up there.

Not a bit of it.

I had a scan at my IVF clinic at 10 weeks.

The Doctor cheerfully finished the consultation by handing me a form. "Please can you complete this when the baby is born and return it to us. And we'd love a photo too!"

The form asked such unimaginable things as birth weight and how accurate the estimated due date was.

When I graduate to the NHS I had a midwife appointment BEFORE my 12 week scan. Now I'd had scans with my clinic before so I knew that there had at least been something there but I couldn't help but wonder about those who had conceived by normal means. Having this appointment before any medical professional had had the opportunity for a good rummage round their bits to check the embryo was developing properly. The discussions about breast feeding clinics just seemed a little premature.

Then when I finally got to my 12 week scan I checked in at reception. "Will you want a picture" she asked. "Yes" we confirmed a little doubtfully. "That'll be three pounds." And we dutifully handed over the cash. But I couldn't help that think, should the scan go badly, would I get a refund?

Today I had another midwife appointment - at 16 weeks and 6 days. The midwife was in the midst of explaining how she didn't normally check the heartbeat at this stage, as it can be difficult to find, when she saw my face. She clocked that I wanted a bit of reassurance so whipped out the doppler. It is still there, the heartbeat.

I'm not quite at the relaxed state of the medical staff I have encountered. However my mind has been set at ease a little more which should push me through the next few weeks until my 20 week scan.


  1. Give 'em a little history, and I'm sure they will hold your hand all the way through! However, any minute now, you might be able to feel Doug moving about, so the reassurances may not be quite as necessary.

    Why wouldn't they do the Doppler anyway? The doctors and physician's assistants did that every time I went in - ostensibly to check on the baby's position.

  2. I remember my first ultrasound at 8 weeks they handed me a bag full of pregnancy stuff while I waited for my appointment. I couldn't help but wonder if they would take the bag back if there was no heartbeat.

  3. After my miscarriage, I went in right away for a scan at 5w and 5d. There was a fluttering heart beat. I cried. Pretty heartily. They took pity on me and let me come back the next week. The heartbeat was still there, and strong, and baby was growing splendidly.

    I did not relax.

    13w I had another sono, to do the downs check? Baby was perfect. Growing right on time.

    I did not relax.

    21w I had the anatomy scan. I made them check his heart several times. Was everything measuring appropriately? Were they sure it was all there?

    I relaxed a bit.

    But I promise you, it was not until that child (now 6 months old) was out, and I was sitting up crying saying, "is he okay? is he okay?" and they answered, "he's perfect."

    And then I finally relaxed.

  4. All sounds perfectly normal to me: rather restrained in fact! After an ectopic and years of faint positive tests that came to nothing, I was a basket-case even with almost weekly scans up until 14 weeks and a couple more afterwards. Then everything went a bit...unusual...OK, there are not a LOT of positives about getting rampant pre-eclampsia at 19 weeks, followed by HELLP syndrome at 27 weeks and having a baby at 28 weeks, but being able to SEE the baby breathing and circulating blood and just generally being alive at any time I wanted; that was kind of a relief. Not that I could admit that, of course. I didn't want the nurses to think I was weird or something :-)!

  5. I was a bit unusual, I guess, in that I felt flutters from about 13-14 weeks, but I remember the first time she booted me. I was walking through town, at 16 weeks, and had to stop and swear. It didn't hurt, but I was so surprised!
    Hope you feel movements soon, though they bring their own worries. Too much? Not enough?!
    I didn't relax until she was out, and even then it took a while. Exhaustingly stressful, pregnancy

  6. Oh, the boundless optimism of others. I find it startling too. And then perhaps just the tiniest little bit contagious ........ I hope you catch it too.

  7. Just FYI, no, if your nuchal screening results in bad news, no, you don't get a refund.

  8. Glad to hear that you got to hear the heartbeat and confirm that Doug was still 'dug' in. Sending you wonderful baby vibes and hoping that you might feel the first flutters soon!

  9. So glad things are progressing well and don't worry about not relaxing, I didn't until jack was born!

  10. Glad to hear you've passed another milestone - long may things progres in that way for Doug! Are you going to buy a doppler for yourself?

    Btw - did you see the Douglas Adams article in yesterday's guardian? I was reading it thinking of your little one!

  11. So they have asked about breastfeeding already. Did they ask about a "birth plan" yet?
    (I found that one a bit crazy, my answer was that it was tooo early for babe to be born. And when it was time I still stuck to 'living baby'. Should have mentioned 'living mother' too. anyway)
    And my brother mentioned something about enrolling for school the day after birth?? hopefully only his part of London... because that would be something hard to wrap your head around.
    Keep on keeping on...

  12. new line smile network
    Such a very informatics post, as I have browsed the majority of your posts. But I found this post is almost certainly where I got the most useful information for my research. It is really very interesting to read this particular post. I just would like to say thanks for your great efforts.


I've resisted word verification for ages but I'm getting so many spam comments at the moment that I think it is time. Sorry!