Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Antenatal Care

Another disclaimer post - too much information probably mentioned! 

Well today we are 18 weeks and 2 days pregnant with Alexander. So far this pregnancy I've visited the hospital or midwife a total of  12 times.  6 of these visits have been routine or pre-booked; the other 6 visits have been extras and a result of bleeding scares. 

For the most part I cannot fault the hospital's care. They've had me in quickly when I've needed to be checked over. They keep scanning me, re-checking my cervix to ensure everything is ok and listening to Xander's heartbeat. 

Today was yet another of those days; which also included an insensitive and fumbling Doctor.  

My only complaints so far regarding my care is the Sunday episode and having to wait 2 days to be scanned because it was bank holiday, and this Doctor today who insensitively bowled in with the question "is this your first pregnancy" because he evidently had not bothered to look in my notes he was carrying under his arm.  Really; would reading my notes and handling me gently be too much to ask?  He has been my least favourite encounter so far and inspired the least confidence in me. 

Anyway, yet another bleed last night that felt like it filled the toilet bowl and spotting afterwards meant another phone call to the hospital to be told they wanted me in for first thing.  

This time I've been diagnosed with cervical erosion. A 'harmless' type of bleeding in pregnancy I'm told, often caused by hormonal changes affecting the neck of the womb; being sensitive and inflammed can lead to bleeds of various degrees, but totally unrelated to the safety of the pregnancy itself and well away from the womb and the baby. 

Well it may be harmless to Xander but it is pushing mine and Jon's stress and coping levels to new limits at the moment, an added worry that we just don't need. 

Who are these women who sail through pregnancy? Why can't I be one of those?  I thought I had sailed through more or less with Anabelle until our threatened prem-labour, but now in our subsequent pregnancy when I'm feeling increasingly fragile we could really do with the bleeding to go away and stay away more than ever. It doesn't look like that is going to happen and so this bleeding may well continue on and off throughout this pregnancy.  

The Doctor I saw today said there was no need to come in again for it unless I thought the episodes were substantially worse or accompanied by pain, but as I said, not bothering to check my history didn't inspire confidence in me and I just want to see my consultant now who knows the bigger picture and more ready to appreciate my crumbling emotional health.

Being this time of year and June is not helping at all. A week today until it is 12 months since Anabelle died. 

Another question I want to ask tonight is; why does it take our family history and Anabelle's death to give me this level of prompt care in pregnancy?   We had a few bleeds in early second trimester with Anabelle, nothing to the extent as its continuing with Xander but it happened; it happened three times before anyone wanted to see me at all, three times before they would scan to see if everything was ok.   The difference of care I'm receiving at the moment is quite astounding. 

I know the answer is cost. Caring for people costs money. Of course I'm currently costing the NHS thousands of pounds in Doctors time and equipment; I know that my son is worth it, but so was my daughter. 

Why does it take one baby to die before this level of care is put in the next pregnancy?  Will this level of care make a difference to the outcome of this pregnancy? Or is it to ease my anxiety a little?  I suppose the hope is if even the slightest of changes will be spotted instantly and acted upon, but surely all women and babies, regardless of obstetric history should receive close monitored care? 

So far in 18 weeks Alexander has been scanned by the NHS 5 times - we have another 2 pre-booked routine scans booked in next week which will take us to 7, and they'll continue at a maximum of 4 weeks apart until he is born unless it is deemed necessary to look in even more frequently than that. I think the final number of scans will be quite something. Apart from scans I'm booked into see consultants at a maximum of 4 weeks apart from Monday onwards for various other checks and  weekly midwife from 25 weeks pregnant onwards as well. 

Anabelle had extra scans too - we had 6 in total with her; her dating scan, an extra scan after the three bleeds, her anomaly scan, a random scan with a consultant to check her position which we weren't expecting, the scan I had before being discharged following threatened prem-labour and then that final sixth scan that confirmed she had died.  But no-one was "on top" of my care as they are now. No-one was going out of their way to reassure me. 

Monday I have an appointment with my consultant. I'm desperate to see her now for any level of reassurance and understanding. These last weeks have been increasingly tough - feeling fragile and vulnerable about sums it up, a single thread of coping left, no energy left to deal with anything else scary with Xander and still so much of June to get through. 

I miss Anabelle. This isn't supposed to be how my family is. 


Anonymous said...

Oh Caz my heart goes out to you. Louisa xxx

Catherine D said...

Thinking of you all xx you know where I am if you need me. Unfortunately there are some very rude and lazy people out there who call themselves professionals.... A Dr who can't be bothered to read your notes well say no more.... Very rude&Lazy... Monday can't come sooner for you I imagine xx

Sara said...

Hi Caz,

Do you have a Sands sticker on the front of your notes? That might help to prevent idiots from, well, being uncaring and hurtful idiots. They should have some at your hospital or your local sands group might be able to get you one if they can't.

When I was sitting in hospital with Griffin we had three separate auxiliaries 'congratulate' us on our new baby. All for the want of a label on the door!!!

It sucks that you can't have a simple pregnancy but it sounds like in the most part you have a good team looking after you. That must be some relief.

Sending love and non bleeding cervix wishes

Anonymous said...

I have bought my own Sands stickers from the website and put them on my notes myself this time as the hospital I am at this time doesn't routinely use them, this doesn't mean that the doctors actually read your notes before they talk to you but by the time they do they know that we have lost a child. I also had 6 scans with my first child, 2 routine, 1 private NT & 3 for possible IC but it didn't stop him dying. I am now 19+6 and have had 1 private and 4 NHS scans with 3 more booked for this week (fetal heart scan, IC scan and routine 20 wk). It took 5 phone calls to get my first hospital appt at 10 wks, I was told they routinely see people at 13 wks for their booking in & NT scan together but they had a backlog and it would 13 +5, I had to explain (in tears) that my baby died (and that I had an early mc since) and was then told to come in the next working day. It's not every day though that you have the strength to make those phone calls and make `a fuss'. Having a baby might be the most natural thing in the world but it's also one of the most difficult, something the NHS needs to start taking note of.

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After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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