Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Viability

Viability is, for many, a huge milestone.

There is no set date when the fetus nestling in one's womb becomes a fool-proof survivor if kicked out early but – thanks to the wonders of modern medicine - there is a good chance of the baby surviving earlier and earlier.

At 24 weeks a premature baby has a 50% chance of surviving. From 26 to 27 weeks – assuming the baby is over 500 grams the survival rate is a staggering 90%. After that the survival rate doesn’t improve much until the baby reaches full-term. But this is less to do with the fact the baby is premature but those 10% who do not make it are likely to have underlying health problems that caused them to be born premature in the first place.

I am, today, 27 weeks pregnant.

Curiously enough I haven’t been hanging out for viability. I just haven’t had the feeling this baby is going to come early.

Don’t misunderstand me this doesn’t mean that I have been sailing through this pregnancy sanguine, confident of a healthy hearty baby. I’ve been petrified on numerous occasions.

The worst was Christmas day, not two hours after I’d sheepishly revealed to the womb mate why I’d decided against cooking a lovely rare joint of beef for lunch. I went to the loo and I was bleeding. There was nothing I could do, no one I could call so I went to bed for a couple of hours. It wasn’t a top ten Christmas but, thankfully the bleeding stopped and, well, here we are now.

My biggest fear is the baby just dies inside me and I have no clue that it has happened. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that this stems from last May when after loosing one twin in a torrent of blood the second’s heart just stopped beating with no outward sign, not even the cessation of morning sickness, to alert me to something being wrong.

This is one of the reasons I am absolutely loving feeling the little one having a wee wriggle. Early mornings, after lunch and late at night are her favourite squirming times. Which is ok at the moment but, once she is born I am hoping things change pretty sharpish as those are times I’ve mentally earmarked for her (and me) to be sleeping.

Of course there are points where I think I’ve not felt a little internal squiggle for a while and I start to worry again. I’ve been given a few different techniques to get her moving – the cruelest was the suggestion to have a hot bath followed by an ice-cold drink. I find however, sucking a sweet seems to give her the sugar rush she needs to land a healthy boot into my duodenum.

Which is, obviously, a trial.

Generally my fears are abating.

We’ve all heard people say they don’t care whether the baby is a boy or a girl as long as it has ten fingers and ten toes. (To which there is always some smartarse who expresses the hope that the baby has eight fingers and two thumbs, and then they usually do a little snort at their incredible wit.) Even this I am quite confident about - the scans have been so exhaustive that I am pretty confident any missing digits will have been spotted by now.

The only concern that has been raised at my scans has been the last one they said my placenta was low lying. I always imagines the placenta swaddling the whole baby. In actually fact it is more like a feeding bag attached to the belly button. Where it was at the last scan was essentially blocking the baby’s escape route. If it stays in this position then I will have to have a cesarean.

Even this isn’t unduly concerning me.

It feels like there is plenty of time for things to get into the right position – I’ll have another scan at 33 weeks to check where everything is.

Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t relish the idea of a cesarean in the slightest. I might be too posh to pronounce bath and grass exactly to my husband’s satisfaction (yes I talk properly, unlike the husband and his vulgar vowels - I'm more Downton Abbey whilst he is a touch Trainspotting), but I am not too posh to push. I worry about the recovery time, not being able to lift up my baby and let’s face it having a fairly major operation. But I am hoping it won’t come to that, so pushed that worry from my mind for the time being.

But despite viability not being a date I’ve been hanging out for it is quite nice to have reached it.

Now I guess it is just a case of feeding up the baby – pass me another sweet please.



10 comments:

  1. Your posts simply make me smile these days. Congrats on this major milestone. Beyond happy for you.

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  2. For me, the C-section recovery wasn't bad. I'm not much of a malingerer, though. Don't worry - stuff moves around. And, this might get you some extra scans for reassurance.

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  3. I actually got shivers when I read, "I am, today, 27 weeks pregnant."

    And I'm glad she is doing a lot of active squirming/baby-breakdancing. This was also very significant for me as I had the same fear - that he would simply cease to be and I wouldn't know about it until a scan. The movement takes a lot of that guesswork out (though, I did have some terrible moments convincing myself that I hadn't felt him move for some time...it's hard not to occasionally think the worst when you've been burned before).

    A lot shifts in those final weeks, and I'm crossing fingers and toes that the placenta moves by the time she's ready to put in an appearance.

    (I am not doing a lot of commenting lately but I AM here. And very, very chuffed for you).

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  4. Congratulations on hitting a huge milestone. I agree that you still have a lot of time before birth and things could definitely change with your placenta location. At least, that sounds logical to me. What do I know? ha!

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  5. I started shopping once I hit 28 weeks - have you started yet?! It's so lovely to read posts like this from you - congratulations! Btw, I ended up with an emergency section first time and it wasn't too bad - I actually thought it would be a lot worse. I was walking and picking up baby with relative ease within 24 hours, so don't worry too much about it. At the time I figured I didn't care how he got here, once he got here safely. I made the decision beforehand not to get attached to one form of birth over the other and it made things a lot easier when things went squiffy.

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  6. You have every reason to worry and at the same time you really shouldn't being worrying at all...
    1) Pregnancy, giving birth and raising children...none of it goes to plan and there's not a lot you can do about it. So stop worrying and go with the flow.
    2) There's too much emphasis on the details and the 'what can wrong' and you, of course, have had more than a 'belly-full'! The ability to Google everything, the amount of close-watch scrutinity you are receiving....who could blame you if your fingernails aren't bitten to the quick.
    3) Worrying about giving birth is the normal preoccupation of every pregnant woman. My advice is to focus on the fact it will happen, you won't be able to plan how, but there will be lots of people who'll take care of you and will see it that both you and your daughter are delivered safely.
    In the meantime, enjoy those lovely wiggly 'rat-in-a-sack' sensastions the Doug-daughter is giving you. You have tiny foot shapes in your tummy and a hiccuping womb to look forward to. That's when it gets really bizarre.
    As katie says: I too am so happy for you :-)

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  7. scheduling naps, I've heard about that. My baby daughter hasn't though. Agree on the sweets thing: in the womb she used to do a yippy-yay somersault whenever I ate chocolate. Now I have to wiki/google a body part. And why Zappa made a song about it...

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  8. Wow 27 weeks, congrats Liz I'm so excited for you. As for an exit plan- I had a placenta previa so it was a c-section for me-- really a easy recovery just don't get constipated (I know TMI).

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