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, 2 June 2011

Pregnancy Stress

Be warned, this post is going to be a "too much information" blog.  Don't read if you don't talk about "women's things." 

The last few weeks have been tough. Emotionally I'm struggling to cope with this pregnancy. Every time I think I have a handle on it and my confidence improves; I then find myself terrified again and unraveling fast. Our anxiety levels are currently through the roof. 

In the last few weeks I've now had 3 episodes of spotting, the latest 'episode' turning into a week of stress- sometimes brown, sometimes red. These added 'complications' are putting an enormous strain on our emotional health during already one of the scariest times of our lives . Each time I've had a loss I've been scanned; and Bow has been fine. The build up each time to another scan is intense, fearing we're about to hear those words again replaced with an overwhelming relief that for now our second little one is still there and still growing. As lovely as it is to see Bow each time, I wish it wasn't because of something scary.

The spotting hasn't been anything that dramatic may I add, well not in the sense of actual loss, its not gushing out of me by any stretch of the imagination, but you can imagine that even the smallest evidence of blood on toilet paper is enough to send Jon and I into panic stations. Despite knowing that lots of women bleed in pregnancy and still bring home babies, knowing sometimes there is no explanation and despite knowing that blood doesn't equate to it all going wrong; knowing how pregnancy can be for other people doesn't make this any easier for us.  

One of our babies are already dead - it isn't unreasonable to 'expect' it to happen to our other baby. 

My first extra scan suggested the very edge of the placenta had had a small bleed, but there was nothing to worry about - Bow was as happy and active as he/she had been in my dating scan. My second extra scan showed nothing of concern but a water infection was detected; I was treated with a course of antibiotics. Both of these bleeds were just over one day before they stopped again. 

Since Friday night I've spotted on and off each day. Again, sometimes red, sometimes brown. It isn't constant, but it is sometimes there at some point each day when I go to the toilet. Today is Thursday and there is still evidence of red. It is this particular bleed that has highlighted a monumental NHS failing in my particular hospital.  Obviously I cannot speak for every hospital in the UK. 

It wasn't until Sunday that I decided to ring in to Obs&Gynae ward. The ward I'm attached to is only open Monday - Friday for day cases and I didn't want to contact the other ward, who didn't automatically know me or our history, unnecessarily. I reasoned that we'd had two episodes of spotting before and all was fine; and as Friday and Saturday were 'only' brown I tried not to panic and would see how it went. Sunday brown turned to red and I knew it was time to phone the hospital and went in to be checked over. No water infection this time and cervix was closed tight - these were good signs that all was well with Bow.  But what I needed was another scan; and this is where the NHS failed us. 

Being Sunday meant that no one qualified was available to scan me; no sonographers on duty, no consultant available, the registrar currently on duty not qualified to scan.   Instead, despite our history of baby death we had to wait until Tuesday for a much needed scan while the spotting continued and anxiety levels increased.  My fragile state was evident to the Doctor on Sunday, even more so by Tuesday.  

The Doctor I saw was very apologetic. Agreed whole-heartedly with us that just because it was Sunday, the weekend, bank-holiday didn't change my medical need. He agreed I was getting half a service as a result of the staffing situation. Medical need is not dictated by day of the week after all.  It is incredible really that an obstetric and gynaecology department doesn't have somebody qualified to scan 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Thankfully Tuesday's scan revealed a happy baby but no explanation for the spotting. The Doctor doesn't know what to suggest other than rest as much as possible and possibly put me on absolute rest if the spotting carries on now or keeps reappearing weekly as it has done. All he could offer us was to keep ringing whenever we are anxious. 

It isn't really much reassurance for us right now but I accept there is little else they can do but wait and see. They can't stop a bleed if they can't identify the source; I suppose even if they could identify there is still little that can be done unless there are specific circumstances. 

This weekend just made me think again on how our pregnancy care could be improved in an attempt to bring down baby death rates. Following on from my post last week (The UK verses Finland) - surely this is one of them - providing a 24 hour care service nationwide, giving scans when needed without delay. Scans are a basic obstetric requirement. 

It frightens me that for all they knew Bow was dead but were in no position to ascertain his/her health until Tuesday. Wasting this precious time could be costing babies' lives. I could not help but think of all the "What ifs" during those two days waiting for the scan. What if something could be done, but by Tuesday the 'could be' might've been too late? A multitude of horror stories ran through my mind. 

I worried for women even further along in their pregnancies than I am. Anabelle died on a Wednesday; we found out on the Wednesday. What if she had died on a Sunday - would I have had to wait until a working week day to have that urgent emergency scan to determine if she was dead? Are women living in torment over a weekend not knowing if their precious babies are alive?  Or was the wait I had to endure simply because I'm in the middle of second trimester no mans land?  Where on earth was a qualified consultant on Sunday? 

A multitude of horror stories are continuing to run through my mind. I know 'some women bleed all the way through pregnancy with no explanation' - I just wish that woman wasn't me for the last week. This is one of the things we could do without. Would it be too much to ask for a smooth ride and successful pregnancy? As if we didn't have enough to worry about and fear without this on top. I cannot cope with this; the signs of blood are increasing the fear that something terrible is going to happen in this pregnancy too. 

Currently we're frightened and frantic and I know this feeling is only going to get worse until by some miracle Bow survives this pregnancy journey and we get to bring him/her home.


Anonymous said...

Praying for you two and your unborn baby xx

Anonymous said...

I have no words my friend...no words that can reassure you...no words that can be of any help to you on this journey. All I can offer is my hand. My hand of friendship, my hand of love. Keep talking, keep resting, keep painting on your smile (you can have my spare one if you need it) Stand up and shout loudly to doctors and nurses - who cares if they feel offended - you, your husband and your darling Bow are the important people here. May I wish you some peace, a very healthy pregnancy, much love and cannot wait to see Baby Bow. Take care darling xx

Love Shabbs xx

Waiting for Stanley and Lucy said...

Thinking of you. Hoping that you have an easier ride from now on. Lots of love to you all. xxx

My New Normal said...

It's completely unacceptable that you had to wait until Tuesday. It makes me very angry to think that something could have been wrong and no one could be bothered to find out until after the bank holiday weekend.

Susan said...

Great post here! I was worried because ever since I had my first set of baby scans I've been feeling incredibly nautious and dizzy =\ is this normal? xx

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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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