Friday, 4 June 2010

the beginning of the end

(for the middle click here)


I was terrified before my 12 week scan. The scan was on a Monday - 19th October. I couldn't sleep the night before. I spent hours googling, trying to work out the odds of a missed miscarriage with no symptoms. I was driving myself crazy. I was amazed I managed to sleep at all.

D picked me up from work and drove us to the hospital. We bought tokens so we could take away four pictures. We wanted plenty to show friends and family. I drank my water and waited.

The screen was turned away from me when we were finally called through. D could see it from where he was sitting; I couldn't. I remember thinking that if anything was wrong that would be bad. Thought that either we should both be able to see or neither of us should. I was so busy thinking about that that it took me by surprise when the woman said 'Well, there's only one in there!'

D was pretty relieved to hear that. Me? I was just amazed that there was a viable baby in there at all.

The baby wouldn't keep still. It was moving constantly, up and down and around and around. We joked that it was definitely my baby. I am known for my inability to keep still, for the fact that I'm always on the go, doing something. The woman (I never know what to call them) took three pictures. None of them were great; it wouldn't keep still long enough. It was strange, to see how much the baby was moving. Strange that so much was going on inside me but that I couldn't feel a thing.

(Sometimes I wonder whether it was in pain. Whether that was why it couldn't keep still. I know that babies aren't supposed to be able to feel pain that early on. But still, it haunts me.)

The heartbeat looked pretty slow to me, and I wondered whether or not I should be worried. But neither of the women in the room seemed concerned, so I assumed everything must be within its normal range. And according to my calculations I was only 11+2, but they measured the baby to be either 11+4 or 11+5, ending up on 11+4. So, I reasoned, everything must be well.

I had seen my baby alive. Everything was going to be OK!

As D drove us back to work, I asked him if it was real now. He told me that for him, it had been real all along. But not for me. For me, things had only become real just then. I had known I was pregnant, but I only became confident that everything was going to be OK while watching my little baby move and leap around on the screen.

D took one photo back to work, I took two others. I spent the afternoon walking round the building, telling people my news. I was having a baby! It was all so exciting! In my building, there had been very little other than bad news recently - death and serious illness - and I was excited to have good news to share for a change. And for some reason, hardly anyone seems to have babies there. In the nearly three years I've been there, there have only been two women off on maternity leave (although one has now had two babies during that time). I was so, so excited to be in that elite crowd.

And everyone was excited for me. It was so good to see how happy they all were.

---

I enjoyed telling people in person that I was pregnant. A lot of my friends shared their pregnancies by text or email or facebook; I didn't want to do that. It's one of the reasons I didn't blog about it; I didn't want people to find out from my blog. After my scan, I didn't see my biggest group of friends for three weeks, so I didn't put anything on facebook about the pregnancy. I waited until 5th November, when we all met up for tea, and told them all then. It was really nice to have them all exclaiming over me. It was good to think that there were four of us pregnant at once, that we would be all off on maternity leave together. That we could meet up with our babies and have lunch. Let them play together.

---

I still didn't really relax, even after the scan. I still checked for blood every time I went the loo. There never was any. But I believed. I believed my baby would be OK. I believed it was just a matter of time. I looked at my friend's baby, who had been born in September; I watched him develop and I thought how strange it was that my child would be in the same school year as him. How strange it was that he had had all this extra time to develop before my child was even born. I thought how odd it was that so many of my friends had had babies before me, when we had been together and married almost the longest of all my friends (only one couple had been together longer). I had always assumed that we would get there first.

---

At fifteen weeks, on a Sunday morning, I started to panic. It was a Sunday morning, I was nice and relaxed, but I didn't feel it. I could hear my pulse beating in my ears; even after I did a 30 minute relaxation CD it was still there.

I ended up phoning the maternity unit at the hospital. I'd got myself quite upset by this stage, so they told me to come along and they would take my blood pressure and make sure I was OK. I got D out of bed - he'd been having a well-deserved lie in, poor guy - and he drove us down to the hospital.

They took my blood pressure, and it was indeed high. The duty midwife told me that I looked stressed and upset, and that she thought my doctor should sign me off sick for a fortnight - at least. I nodded and told her I would go straight to the doctors the next morning, but secretly thought there was no way I needed a fortnight off. I kind of thought they would give me a scan, just to check the baby was OK, but they didn't, and we trundled off home. I took the next day off sick and went to see the doctor; I told him what the midwife had said and that I thought I might need a day, but nothing more. He checked my blood pressure. It was back to normal and he agreed that I would be OK to go back to work the following day.

I did. I told them that I had been stressed and not looking after myself. My managers - pretty high up managers - told me that I shouldn't worry too much about work. That I should take it easy and look after myself.

---

The next week. Wednesday. I had my second midwife's appointment. It was at 1pm, so D could take the time to come with me on his lunch hour.

I had a list of questions for my midwife. We got through them all and all the stuff she needed to go through with me. And then, time to check the baby's heartbeat. I hadn't heard it yet. We'd seen it at the first scan, but never heard the sound.

She told me before she started that sometimes it took a little while to find it. That I shouldn't panic if it took a little while. I lay down and she started moving around.

She could hear my heartbeat, no problem, but not the baby's. She made me get up and turn around, and tried again. No joy. No sound.

So I got back up and sat down again. She told me that she thought everything was OK, but that she knew I was a worrier, so she told us to go down to the hospital. That they would listen, and that if they still couldn't pick anything up, they would give me a quick scan. Just to make sure all was well.

I nearly told D to just drop me off and go back to work. But I decided not to. Just in case.

So we went along. A midwife tried again to get the heartbeat. Nothing. She told us she would get us in for a quick scan, to wait and for me to drink water.

I drank lots. We waited. I was dying for the loo. We waited. And waited. It was nearly 3pm. D should have been back at work. I thought about making him go back. I didn't think anything was wrong. I asked him if he thought anything was wrong. Nah, he said. We were just going to get an extra peek at the baby.

I asked how long it was going to be. They told me that we had to wait until they could make a little break. We didn't have an appointment. I shrugged. They must believe everything was OK. Surely they wouldn't leave us having around for so long if there really was a problem?

So we waited.


(for the end click here)

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