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Sunday, 4 October 2015

A Happy Announcement!

It occurred to me a few days ago that I haven't technically announced my pregnancy on here!  Sure I may have mentioned in passing in a few recent blog posts that we are decorating the nursery etc, but seeing as I am 24 weeks along tomorrow, I guess I really should be making the formal proclamation!

Well we had IVF/ICSI back in May (2015) and although it almost killed me (I WILL post my scary OHSS stories over the next few days) we were successful!  I am almost a Long Term Trying To Conceive Graduate, and although we are a matter of months from having our baby, I still don't think it has sunk in.


Junior will be due on January 25th 2016 and of course we are over the moon!

Like most things in life, we never get the easy ride.  Firstly I was hospitalized for just shy of 3 weeks immediately after our IVF egg transfer as I'd managed to develop Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS).  It doesn't sound all that scary, in truth most cases are mild and just severely uncomfortable, but I opted for severe.  So severe that my kidneys shut down, my lung collapsed, my liver started to fail, they found fluid on my heart and I had to be fitted with a abdomen drain.  I gained just under 2 stone in fluid in a matter of days (not great for a petite build like me!) and was kept on the high dependency ward (with one scary instance where a particularly militant doctor was trying to transfer me to ICU due to the 'severity of my condition').  You bet I was scared, but I secretly knew our IVF had worked, ironically it's the release of HCG (a hormone created during pregnancy) that had pushed my OHSS to mild to severe.  My OHSS initially declined until (presumably) implantation occurred and then it began to sky rocket.

Secondly we had the side effects of the OHSS to contend with.  Myself and the baby were at a huge risk for clotting (due to all fluids being stripped from my blood and pooled in my abdomen) and so I was on daily injections for blood thinners until 20 weeks.  My blood tests also showed that my liver had suffered severe damage and in the first few months following hospital discharge there was some question as to whether it would fully recover, luckily it has!

Thirdly I opted for combined screening at our 12 week scan as one of my gorgeous cousins has Downs Syndrome and (although this wouldn't have effected our decision at all) we like to be prepared.  We are very low risk for downs syndrome, but we had an awful call from a midwife to tell us that we were high risk for markers of Edwards and Patau syndrome (Trisomy 18 and Trisomy 13).  Naively we had never heard of this (or read the literature in our pregnancy pack!) and so when we were told it is ultimately a death sentence for the baby, we were obviously devastated.  What followed was 5 weeks of torture, we opted out of an amniocentesis (although we were strongly being advised to take it by the NHS healthcare team) as I was convinced it would cause a miscarriage and that the results would then back as clear.  We found out about a private none invasive blood test that has a high percentage of success called a Harmony Test.  The local NHS midwife was advising the foetal medicine centre in Harley Street, London to carry out the test and the travel expenses and private blood tests were pretty costly.  We had to travel to London twice as the first blood test failed and sadly the second blood test was unable to pick up a result either.  It's not all doom and gloom though as part of the testing fee included two very in-depth ultrasound with a technician trained in picking up physical markers for these abnormalities.  The first ultrasound technician found now physical abnormalities and told us he would be very surprised if the baby had Edwards or Patau syndrome.  We took great comfort in this, however our midwife dashed our hopes when she told us it wasn't definitive enough and to strongly consider opting for amniocentesis.  When we went back to London the second time we saw a different ultrasound technician and when we explained what the midwife had said he re-scanned and told us categorically that there is ALWAYS a physical marker that they see and that in his opinion our baby does NOT have Edwards of Patau, in fact he said that we didn't really even need the second blood test as the scan was so clear, which was pretty reassuring as the second blood test failed too.

Fourthly both our 12 week NHS and private scans revealed I have a weak placenta.  The bit of research I have done shows that the OHSS could possibly have been a factor in causing this, but in truth we will never know.  Basically it means that the baby will eventually outgrow the placenta before the standard 37 weeks.  I need growth scans at 28 weeks and then continuously to make sure baby is not being deprived of vital nutrients which will affect final growth.  If baby does seem to be in difficulties then I will be induced early, scary! 

Our 20 week NHS anomaly scan was consultant led and an absolute dream!  The consultant was over-joyed at baby's progress and said all growth was textbook.  The sonographer did pick up that baby was on the small side, but our lovely consultant waved this comment away with a 'So is Mummy'.  We were treated to almost an hour of scanning and as we had a trainee in the room were given a running clinical commentary too!  Our local hospital had just been fitted with a 3D scanner and we were asked if we minded being guinea pigs, free 3D scan and photos, yes please!

We have our next growth scan in 3 and a half weeks and I have a sneaky suspicion that baby will be staying put for a good few weeks after that as Jr has grown a huge amount recently!  Which is pretty lucky as we have been living with the in-laws since I was 11ish weeks and our house isn't going to be ready until I'm about 30 weeks, please stay put baby!

For now, I will leave you with our pregnancy announcement picture for facebook!  It was posted pretty late at 17 weeks, but with all the testing drama we wanted to keep it to ourselves until we were feeling more positive about the whole outcome :)





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