Exactly 16 weeks and it’s a huge milestone as it’s my final appointment in London with the consultant and last intralipid infusion, the thought of being discharged was always a distant wish and for it to be really happening seems like a miracle. A fellow rpl lady also had her intralipid booked in at the same time so that we can pass the few hours together, for her today is a huge day as it would mean getting past her danger zone and although that feeling is in the distance now for me, today I feel it for her heavy in my heart. I just hope she walks through that door to have treatment with me, when on this road you start to carry each others anxiety too, every day is a milestone for someone even if it’s not for you that day.
After the long journey down I sat in the waiting room ready for the consultant to scan me, I briefly got to say hi to her before being called by his cheery voice and greeted by the pink shirt. The scan was perfect, bubs was moving around all over and the consultant said I was now safe to be off all medication. He gave me a leaflet about subsequent pregnancies and I thought woah let’s just slow down! He asked for a photo of baby when they arrive and that was it, I had graduated!
I went straight through to the treatment room for my last dose of the milky medicine in my veins, watching every minute waiting for her to walk through the door, my palms were clammy and my heart thudding in my chest. After twenty minutes the door opened and there she was, big smile, everything was going well! Our doctor is a miracle worker a true genius! We chatted for a couple of hours whilst our babies had their medicine.
It was strange making my final payment in the front reception and leaving without my handbag full of drugs! I felt a sense of relief walking to the train platform, 8 trips to London in two months was pretty exhausting yet totally worth it.
I felt fine when I left the clinic but once on the train I all of a sudden felt really ill, I was dripping with sweat from the palms of my hands and I had pins and needles in my head. I looked across at the woman sat in front of me and my eyes were losing focus, I remember standing and going to the woman and telling her I was going to collapse and then the next thing I remember I was sat on a random platform on a bench with no idea where I was. I knew that I couldn’t go down the underground I felt too unwell and so I jumped in a taxi to kings cross that cost me £42.
I had 3 hours before my train back up north and was supposed to meet my friend for dinner, I felt so awful I just needed to get home, so I went up to the desk paid £150 for the next train to Doncaster. Ran with 3 minutes to spare to get on the train and there were no seats, I had a complete breakdown to a member of train staff who sat me in first class because I think she thought I was a mad woman! I made it to Doncaster and was picked up by the hubby then dived into bed.
The intralipid has always made me feel pretty awful the next day but this was really extreme compared to the last three doses. The next day I woke up and could barely lift my head, I had also began itching all over my legs, arms, hands and feet. I felt like tearing my skin off but also didn’t have the energy to do it! I called and made an appointment at the GP. I made it to the doctors and he was immediately concerned about the itching rather than how awful I felt, he listened in on bub though to check all was ok. I had to have urgent bloods right away.
When I got home I did my usual and hit google on the laptop and that was when I learnt what ICP was (intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy). My liver function levels came back high and so I was retested the following week along with my bile acid levels which is what they use to diagnose ICP. At this point I was referred back to my antenatal consultant to make a decision whether to diagnose me and to find out how this would effect the rest of my pregnancy.
To air on the side of precaution the consultant decided it was best to have weekly testing on my liver for icp and to start treating me empirically. The itching was at times unbearable and all of the lotions and antihistamines I was allowed to try just didn’t relieve it. Icp is definitely worse at night time and the itching is mainly on your limbs and specifically the palms of your hands and soles of your feet.
It was the morning of the 20 week scan and I was still sure we were having a surprise until the hubby asked to flip a coin and the winner got to decide, he wanted to find out but I didn’t. He lost the coin game.. three times, however he got into the scan room and he asked me one more time. I was already so sure that it was a boy I just saw it as confirmation. For me I didn’t need to know it didn’t matter anyway but he hasn’t asked for much in this whole process and I thought it may help him bond better with the baby. The sonographer confirmed we had a little man in my tum and all of a sudden he had more of an identity and I felt overwhelmed with love for him.
The next three weeks were the happiest weeks of my pregnancy, other than my weekly liver checks I felt in good health, I was loving feeling baby moving and my growing bump, I was so thankful for my posterior placenta as the movement was strong and constant and gave me so much reassurance every day, I took a bath every evening just to lay and watch him party inside my tummy.
Week 24 brought a whole new challenge, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and that’s when my blissful floating through pregnancy feeling left with a bang. I can honestly say that the diabetes diagnosis ruined the rest of my pregnancy, gave me major anxiety and made me truly miserable. It felt so unfair like I hadn’t dealt with enough issues and medication already I now had to have yet another problem. Once again I found the nhs advice that is given about GD terrible and very dated and so took it upon myself to do as much research as I could as I was determined to remain suet controlled and to not need medication.
One of the main reasons I didn’t want the medication was because metformin crosses the placenta to your baby and whilst millions of women take it in pregnancy, I just didn’t want any more medication possibly effecting him when I had taken so much for the first 16 weeks. I went on our last holiday before but would arrive on the strictest diet I’ve ever done in my life and it was our torture being in a 5 star luxury resort and not going over to the dessert corner and drinking water all week long. I was prepared to do anything for this little boy though and so I just kept telling myself I may be miserable but at least I’m lucky enough to be pregnant.
I was already scheduled to have extra growth scans from 28 weeks because of my complex history but GD also means extra scans to make sure that baby isn’t growing too big too quickly which can lead to birth complications and even still birth, so I was now booked for scans at 28, 31, 34 & 37 weeks. The 28 week scan came around and fell on a Tuesday which was great as I was used to spending 3/4 hours every Tuesday at the hospital with the ICP testing and so I took a GD friendly packed lunch and made a day of it! All was well bubs was on the small side for gestation but still had plenty of growing time and on the bright side it meant the diet was paying off and I didn’t need to go on the medication. One positive about the diet was at 28 weeks I weighed less than I did at my booking in appointment even with this gigantic bump!
Tuesday seemed to come around really quickly each week and it was soon the 31st week and time to go again, an even longer day this time as I also had my consultant appointment to review everything and make a plan going forward. The ICP levels had gone up again today and so he decided to start me on medication to try help control them and I was told depending on my levels in the coming weeks I would be induced on my due date, due to the risk of still birth with ICP. The growth scan was positive again, and it seemed that bubs was just looking like he might be a smaller baby as he was still only on the 33rd centile but the consultant didn’t seem concerned by this, I left feeling happy and pleased that I didn’t have to go back to him now until 35 weeks.
That evening I laid on the sofa watching the 30th birthday celebration of This Morning on ITV. All of a sudden I had a wave of emotion come over me and burst into tears and cried uncontrollably for 5 minutes or so, I decided I was over exhausted and it was best to head to bed. I stood up and felt busting for a wee so quickly made it to the downstairs toilet, after peeing I had stood up to reach a new toilet roll from the cupboard and I looked behind me, the toilet was bright red and full of blood.
I froze for a moment and thought who has left all of this blood in the toilet that’s gross! Then I wiped and saw red clots, pure terror swamped my body and I screamed like a woman possessed, the last time I had seen any blood was my 4th miscarriage, this was terrifying. I ran out into the hall screaming I’m bleeding, for my husband to fly down the stairs to see me with my pants around my ankles hysterical. I grabbed my green book and rang maple ward, I was struggling to speak I was that upset, they told me I needed to get to labour ward immediately.
As soon as I heard the words labour ward my heart sank, it wasn’t time, I was too early. We dived into the car and all the way there all I could think was that my baby was dead and it was over, it was the worst ten minute drive of my life. I wasn’t sure if I was just imagining it but all of a sudden I had awful back pain and I felt like the baby was going to fall out as I walked.
Once up on labour ward they helped me on a bed and strapped me straight on to a monitor, the heart rate was 88, I kept telling them that’s not normal that’s not my baby it’s always at least 130. My husband told me to stop telling them how to do their jobs and to calm down, in the end I screamed that’s not my baby and finally someone listened and moved the monitor to the other side and there he was, heart still beating away at 143 and definitely still alive.
By now it was midnight and the midwives explained a doctor would need to come and examine my cervix and that they would do blood tests. 5am I was still laid there waiting because they were incredibly busy, they always are, they work so hard Its unreal. At 5:30am a female doctor arrived and examines my cervix, she said it was high and closed and that she didn’t know why I had such a big bleed (I showed her the photos of the toilet at home.) I told her I had awful abdominal pain, which she said should ease and that I could go home, if it worsens or I bleed again to come back.
We got home at 7am and I fell into bed exhausted and drained from the shock of the evening and how distraught I had been. I woke up at 11am with awful pains in my stomach, I stood up and more blood gushed down my legs. Why this was happening to me I had no idea but I just couldn’t believe that nothing was wrong! We did that drive again, I didn’t speak I felt numb and was in agony this time. We was back on the labour ward and it was the day staff so I had to explain the whole evening to them and my ridiculously complex history as my green book is nearly as big as the encyclopaedia.
This time we wasn’t waiting even an hour before a male consultant came to see me. I liked him right away, he was straight talking to the point and very clear about the plan of action. He examined me again and this time there was a lot of fresh red blood at my cervix, he brought a scanning machine in to look at baby and he was fine. He said I needed to be admitted to give me steroid injections to mature his lungs incase I was going into preterm labour or if they needed to give me an emergency section.
I spent three days on maple ward and saw various consultants that were querying a small placental abruption but nothing could be seen when scanning me. The steroid injections are given 48 hours apart and once administered I was discharged and put on complete bed rest. I intended on teaching right up until I popped but unfortunately my body had different ideas and it was time to take a back seat, from the jumping around at least!
In the following three weeks I spent lots of days and nights sat in hospital as I had 4 further bleeds, I felt really unwell and was in pain every day. They kept trying to tell me the pain was muscular but I was absolutely convinced that it wasn’t and it was something more serious. My anxiety was through the roof each time I saw blood I went into a mass panic and I just wanted someone to listen to me. The final two times I went in with bleeding I was told it was from my cervix and not from inside, but again I was convinced my placenta was failing and no one would listen.
When I was 34+4 my next consultant appointment came around, the last time I saw him was that day at 31 weeks when everything was glorious and then from that day onwards everything had seemed to be going wrong. He came out all happy to see me and told me it was ok to smile… I said not after the month I’ve had! I got into the room and handed him my giant book of notes and began to talk him through the last 4 weeks and the bleeds id been having, in hope that he would agree to induce me still on my due date.
He laid me on the bed to listen to bubs and examine my bump, he hadn’t really said much he just looked deep in thought and kept flicking back through my notes in silence. Then he finally spoke… he said he couldn’t understand why I had been repeatedly sent home when bleeding so much in the third trimester especially with my history and that I should have contacted him. He then took a deep breath and crossed his arms and said ‘I need to get this baby out’ I said ok… and opened my calendar on my phone flicking forward a couple of weeks thinking an deliver induction wouldn’t be too bad around 38 weeks ish.
He picked up the phone and said to whoever he was talking to that he needed to deliver a baby and wanted to do it himself on … Tuesday. TUESDAY!!! My whole body went into shock and I was shaking I thought I was going to fall off the seat, that was in 4 days time and I was only 34+4. He then proceeded to ring the nicu (neo natel intensive care unit) to explain he would be delivering a pre term baby and would require an incubator available for him on Tuesday.
Next thing nurses came in and were swabbing me left right and centre, giving me a pre op that I was not ready for! Next minute I was stood in women and children’s foyer with an admittance letter in my hand and i could barely feel my legs, I had several missed calls from my husband as I had been in the appointment a lot longer then usual. I called him back distraught and I think he thought something horrendous had happened I could hardly speak. I was in shock that it was time already and once again all control was taken away from me, nothing could ever be perfect or the way I had planned.
By the Saturday morning I had got my head around it and i actually managed to really enjoy my last weekend with my bump. It was hard seeing people and not bursting into tears and saying he’s coming now! I did lots of reading about babies that need nicu and spoke to a friend who had a nicu baby so that I could ask questions about what might happen.
The Tuesday morning arrived and I was all psyched up and ready, we left the house at 6:30 with the hospital bags and we hardly spoke in the car I was that nervous. When we arrived I was prepped for theatre right away, unfortunately everything then came to a halt, he came to see me and explained that there was no cot on nicu available for our baby as twins that needed nicu also had been born over night. They monitored me and baby for a few hours and then the plan was to come back and try again tomorrow.
As disappointed as I was I thought it was maybe fate and that he was meant to come on Halloween, I was also that terrified about what would happen I felt quite relieved to go home and have a take away instead! The next morning we repeated the same routine, alarms went off at 5:30 and we got up and got ready to go have our baby.
When we arrived at the hospital we got into the lift and bumped into a lovely couple who I choreographed their wedding dance for a few years back, they had too come for their planned c section today, you don’t expect to see someone you know in these situations but for me it was nice to see a friendly face. Once on the ward there was just us and them booked in for that day, the only difference between us was they knew they were definitely having their baby but we had to wait to see if an intensive care cot had become available.
I didn’t get prepped for theatre as I just had a feeling it wasn’t going to happen and so chose to wait in my clothes, when the consultant came to see me he said it wasn’t good news and that they couldn’t deliver him today. He said he would keep trying every day but suggested a growth scan before we left that day just for extra reassurance that bubs was ok.
We headed down to the scan with a midwife in tow and waited our turn, I laid on the bed and as soon as I saw him on the screen I felt my heart begin to thud, the sonographer wasn’t saying anything and in the end I said he hasn’t grown has he I can tell, after a little more silence she said, I’m sorry I can’t put two weeks on him, he’s not grown since your last scan two weeks ago, your placenta is failing.
That was it I was hysterical mainly because I knew it! I had been saying this for weeks what if my placenta is failing and completely abrupts but no one listened to me. I got back up to the ward and my consultant came in to say goodbye and he would see us again tomorrow. He looked shocked I was crying and then he left the room to look at the scan result, he came back fairly quickly and said we couldn’t wait any longer and he would start making calls to have me transferred and delivered elsewhere that evening.
An hour later I was in an ambulance whizzing down the m62 on my way to Barnsley with two midwifes, a doctor and two paramedics, we got there in 38 minutes and it was a bumpy ride to say the least! Barnsley had said if we arrived before 5pm he would be delivered that night, we arrived at 5:12pm, typically our luck!
We met the consultant that would take over my care and after going through my history it was agreed that first thing in the morning their emergency team would be called in and would deliver our baby on Thursday 1st November. That night I didn’t sleep much on the ward as it was noisy and I laid awake soaking up my last chance to feel him moving in my tummy.
At 9am they came to collect us and just before we left the midwife said oh you need your stockings on. She handed them to my husband and he sat with them in his hands looking at them and he said look they are called Ted stockings. I had loved the name Ted always but he would never agree and always said no. They put in my spinal block and laid me on the bed, the surgeon came over to me and said so before we get this little boy out does he have a name? I looked at my husband and said does he? And he said he’s called Ted and that was it my fairytale was complete, 9 minutes later I had my little Ted and I felt like the luckiest mummy in the world. I love him so deeply and he will never know how wanted he was but one day I will tell him this story. He is my rainbow, my pot of gold, I’m glad I put up my fight and that I listened to my instinct on so many occasions.
Where there is great love there are always miracles, never give up hope, never give up your fight, even miracles take a little time.
Crazy Fertility Queen xxx