When we reached week 11 I just felt so close to getting to that safer mark and by now I was absolutely bursting inside to tell our parents, at this weeks scan baby was super active and had little legs kicking around. It’s so strange seeing that on the screen yet you can’t feel anything at all going on inside. Finally by now I was use to my medication regime and the lack of sleep on steroids no longer bothered me.
I did something quite controversial this week and ordered a fetal doppler online, I know many people don’t agree with people having them and believe they cause more harm then good, but for me it was another opportunity of possible reassurance and when you wake up every day fearing that your baby has died then any chance of knowing it hasn’t I was willing to take. I will say though that I would never rely on a doppler later in my pregnancy for reassurance with reduced movement etc if I was ever in doubt that something was wrong I would be straight to the hospital.
Surprisingly I found that heart beat straight away first time trying, I used a ton of gel and watched a few you tube videos of where was best to find the baby. At this point they are so low down near your pubic hair line I imagine lots of women struggle if they are searching around their stomach. The heart rate was still very high around 166, I could of laid and listened all day long.
The following week we travelled to London for the biggest appointment so far, we had a 12 week nuchal scan with a specialist professor and it was time for my third dose of intralipids. The scan was just amazing and the professor was probably the most intelligent guy I have ever met, it lasted two full hours and he checked every single organ of our precious baby and the blood and oxygen flow through each of them too.
He was able to confirm that baby doesn’t have a cleft lip which was one of my concerns as it is a possible side effect of taking steroids in pregnancy. He also paid extra attention to babies bladder and so far it looks like it’s functioning normally and do hopefully baby won’t be born with a small capacity bladder like myself.
There was a realisation that it’s really happening at this point, more so for my husband I think, because it really looked like a baby and not this tiny blob any more! We got over 100 images from the scan and I’ll cherish them forever! Intralipid was also fine that day, I was used to it now and I was lucky enough to meet a lovely lady and we sat and chatted whilst having our treatment. She already had a little boy with help from the clinic and was now 16 weeks with baby number two!
The professor said that from this point, even though I wasn’t discharged and still needing treatment it would be highly unlikely that if this pregnancy was to end that it would be for the same reason as the other four. We travelled home that night with the most hope we have ever had, I had taken my laptop with us so that we could look at the photos on the train back, I just can’t believe there’s an actual baby.
I was so excited about the weekend because we planned to tell both of our parents and my sister that we had a big surprise. Some people couldn’t believe we could keep it a secret this long but I was so fed up of having sad news that I had yet another miscarriage, I just wanted it to be a nice surprise without all of that sorrow and anxiety and I only felt comfortable after the professor had given us some reassurance.
I also found it much easier dealing with my daily anxiety and stress over my pregnancy without having people asking me questions, so anything I have done with this pregnancy I’ve done it how I want to do it and maybe that’s selfish but I will continue to do so and for once I’m putting myself first.
I had been making my video for 9 weeks, each week adding to it and praying that I would get to add the following week and it wouldn’t be over. I must have watched it a million times and each time I do I cry, I cry with happiness, sadness and thankfulness for our little miracle. Sharing the video with our families was amazing and I think the biggest shock was how far along I am and how we had managed to keep the secret. The following days for me were totally bizarre that it wasn’t a secret any more and having conversations and saying ‘I’m pregnant’ out loud was the craziest thing.
I asked my mum if she would like to go to my nhs scan with me, which was at the start of week 13. A completely different experience to my 2 hour nuchal scan, I was in and out in 6 minutes but I just saw it as an extra opportunity to see baby. Mum looked at the screen in amazement but I think it still hasn’t really sunk in that, that baby was in my belly as she has only known 4 days.
Week 13 brought another trip to London but this time not to the clinic to have more medication, this was a special trip to meet fellow rpl ladies that I have met online. Through various forums, including this very blog, I started talking to other patients under the same consultant from all over the uk. Having something so awful in common is not a nice thing, however having each other to talk to has been invaluable to me.
My husband thought I was crazy heading to London to meet people I had only spoken to online, like he thought I was going to be cat fished or something! We met in Harrods and then walked to a lovely little tea room, we spent hours talking through our losses and experiences. Some of us were pregnant some of us not but that didn’t matter because we were there to offer support and comfort but above all what was invaluable was the knowledge we shared between us.
We talked about our babies lost and past pregnancies and I think it helped to be able to talk about it and to grieve, I think a lot of rpl women probably don’t mention the past pregnancies or talk about those scans or holding those tiny babies in the palm of their hand, but for us it felt comfortable and it was ok to look back and not always forward. We had 7 hours together which just flew by, I was having a bad day on medication that day so I was grateful to see my bed that night but I went to sleep thankful for the day that I had, had.
The following week I had arranged each day to meet with someone special in my life to tell them our news, arriving to lunch and coffee dates with my iPad secretly hidden in my hand bag. I cried so much that week every time I played the video to someone, I think it was a relief to finally have good news and it was so overwhelming how much love I was shown. I already knew this would be one spoilt baby but seeing how much it meant to other people that it was working and we had a chance this was really going to end in a baby, well it was unforgettable and memories I’ll cherish always.
After such a lovely week I had a lot of anxiety building inside of me because week 15 had an appointment that I was not looking forward to. It was my first nhs consultant appointment in this pregnancy and when the letter arrived and I saw the consultants name I felt a mixture of anger and anxiety, it was going to be him, the guy that we paid to see privately 8 months ago that wouldn’t listen to me, didn’t believe in the things I was asking for and left me feeling lost and like no one was going to help us.
I thought about it for hours, how I wanted to play it at the appointment, I obviously have to work with him now for the rest of my pregnancy and there’s a chance he might even deliver my baby so I didn’t want to go all guns blazing, that said I couldn’t just ignore what happened before, I wasn’t even sure he was going to remember me, maybe it was pointless going over old ground.
I sat in the waiting area, he stood at his door and just said ‘samantha’ he definitely remembered me! I actually felt quite at ease once in his office, mainly because he was clearly wanting to discuss everything and we spent around an hour debating and discussing until he said shall we move on from this, would you like to see your baby today?
I won’t bore you with the full discussion but he did agree that something was different and one of the drugs I had been treated with had clearly worked although he was unsure which because I had so much thrown at me. I asked him why he said he never believed in the testing I wanted and he told me that what he doesn’t believe in is private London clinics taking thousands of pounds from vulnerable woman.
I whole heartedly agree with him on that and I told him that, but back in our original consult he said he didn’t believe that natural killer cells were a contributing factor to recurrent pregnancy loss. He asked if I understood why the nhs couldn’t afford thousands of pounds per patient for this testing and treatment. This was when I explained to him that what upset me the most was, I went to see him privately at the spire at the time and I told him we were desperate and that we were willing to spend the money whatever the price, so he should have pointed me in the right direction and supported us and not thrown us into an endless tunnel with the nhs.
Whilst taking me off for a scan which I wasn’t supposed to have but I felt it was some sort of peace offering, he told me he did know of the consultant I had been treated by and that two of his other current patients were also being treated by him and having success. He said he was in the wrong job and he should be offering this treatment and coining it in, YES! YES HE SHOULD! Having a private clinic in the north that supports the testing and treatment for immunology in pregnancy would be a great outcome, but I somehow don’t think he was offering to go into business with me!
I thought it was best I didn’t get started on the whole ‘do I understand why the nhs couldn’t stretch to that amount of money on patients’ funnily that evening watching the news I saw the nhs had funded a rehabilitation centre for kids that are addicted to video games, how about parents don’t let their children get addicted in the first place! It’s things like that, that make me angry. I know there must be so many rpl women out there that just can’t afford to go down the private route, in fact I’ve spoken to many who have found me through this blog.
These women that have been discharged from the nhs just like I was and told to just keep trying, they have nowhere to turn. It’s sad, really sad and I just hope ten years down the line the nhs have done a clinical trial and will be treating for nk cells, although for those struggling right now, it will be too late.
As I left the hospital I felt a sense of relief that I had stuck up for myself and that I fought to have this baby, I felt like I could move on from how angry I had felt and focus on looking forward now. Baby was snoozing today when he scanned me, peacefully unaware of the fight we have put up to be parents, unaware of how much love already exists and grows every day.
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