Monthly Archives: April 2012

Booking appointment and kicks

Today I’m 23 weeks and as of yesterday finally all booked in for maternity care in London. The booking-in appointment at the hospital antenatal clinic where I self-referred was at 8:30 in the morning and we ended up being late… Traffic was horrendous meaning that a 15 minute journey ended up taking almost an hour. Welcome to London! ūüôā

Anyway once we got there we were seen by a midwife who booked me in by spending ages asking loads of questions about our social and medical history. They took all the blood tests and did a quick scan since I’m still not in possession of my records or test/screening results and scan reports ¬†from Amsterdam. I have tried calling and also sent a letter recorded delivery. Still no response. It makes me wonder if my file is still missing… But maybe at this point it does not really matter much anymore.

The midwife booking me in did not seem to know anything about the issue with the marginal insertion of the cord which the obstetrician in Amsterdam told us represented a risk at birth. But because it’s an IVF pregnancy it seems to be standard practice here to provide¬†obstetrician-led care at the hospital antenatal clinic all the way through, i.e. both antenatal care and birth. So as far as we understood this means I will mainly be seeing obstetricians rather than midwifes. The first appointment with an obstetrician is in two weeks. Hopefully we will then be able to get the issue with the cord investigated further (see update below). Although the ultra sound technician who did the quick scan yesterday told us that it’s not something they normally check for in the UK. I am also curious why an IVF pregnancy is viewed as a risk factor generally (see update below). We have not heard this before and since it’s not a twin pregnancy I wonder what it’s all about. Has anyone else been told there are more risks associated with IVF pregnancies then normal pregnancies?

Regardless, I’m happy to be offered consultant-led care at the hospital in any case. It’s not that I’m particularly worried. I just prefer medical professionals with as much knowledge as possible.

All that aside, everything seems to be going great with my pregnancy! My bump is growing and the scan yesterday revealed that our baby boy is indeed growing as he should. I’m feeling his kicks and movements daily and it’s absolutely amazing. My husband has been able to feel them from the outside as well for the last 2 weeks or so. The kicks are getting stronger by the day and I love it every time he gives me that little sign of life. It’s a strange, fascinating and wondrous sensation. That combined with my growing bump makes it so much more real.

*Update: Two weeks after the booking-in appointment we got to see a consultant, but it did not yield any more information about the umbilical cord issue. Apparently here in the UK they do not regard marginal insertion as a problem and we were thus more or less told not to worry about it. They do however view IVF pregnancies in general as more risky – particularly with regards to being overdue which they said involves a higher risk of stillbirths. They are therefore planning to induce me at 38 weeks.

Read more about about marginal insertion of umbilical cord here: http://www.jultrasoundmed.org/content/21/6/627.full.pdf+html

20 weeks, anomaly scan and relocation stress

On Friday the 30th of March I hit the half-way point in my pregnancy! An amazing milestone-day which we spent relocating from Amsterdam in the Netherlands to London in the UK. This meant getting up before the crack of dawn, load a rented moving van with all our stuff and drive all day (except for the two hours on the ferry crossing the channel).

The last few weeks have been extremely stressful dealing with everything an international move involves on top of being quite busy with some freelance work I’ve got on at the moment. So I have been pretty absent from the blog-world.

The stress has mounted further due to uncertainties ¬†around our new life in London, both with regards to jobs and housing. The latter meant that we could not bring our much loved cats which we have had for 6 years since we rescued them from wild as kittens. We could not find anyone we knew to take them and we also could not bring ourselves to just leave them in a cat shelter for adoption. So a week before the move we travelled all the way to my parent’s farm on a small island in Denmark with the cats. It was a 12 hour journey by air, train and ferry to get there, but the cats handled it well all things considered. They are now trying to adjust to a new life as outdoor farm cats and we miss them terribly! Not a night goes by where I don’t dream about them in some way or another.

By now I’m both physically and mentally exhausted from it all. Although my husband has been extremely vigilant in making sure I did not lift anything heavy in the process, a move like this really cannot be recommended while pregnant. But such is life. There was no way around it for us. The move to London had already been postponed since September due to the urgency with getting started on IVF.

A few days before the move we went to the hospital for the 20 week anomaly scan. The good news is that everything is absolutely perfect with the baby!! And it looks like we are probably having a boy. The ultrasound technician was not a 100% sure, but more or less so. We had not had any energy or space in our heads to be even just a little bit nervous before the scan. We just went in looking forward to see the baby again since it had been 6 weeks since the last scan. It was beautiful and amazing to see how much development and growth had been going on in that time. Although my growing bump indicated as much. In fact a few days before the scan at 19 weeks I was offered a seat in the tram for the first time. It took me by complete surprise but made me smile and feel the happiness of being pregnant.

Right after the scan we saw the obstetrician to interpret the results and only then did we become aware that not everything was completely perfect. Apparently the umbilical cord is attached to the side of the placenta rather than in the centre as normal. Thinking back I do remember the ultrasound technician having trouble finding where the umbilical cord was attached at first, but she did not indicate that it isn’t normal. It is apparently called ‘marginal insertion¬†of the umbilical cord’ as far as I have been able to find out consulting Dr. Google and occur in about 7% of pregnancies. What the implications could be is quite unclear to us at the moment. The obstetrician did not go into any detail other than mentioning that it could cause problems at birth because of risk of rupture if the cord is pulled since it’s more vulnerable than normal. In addition my google research has thrown up the potential risk of restricted growth later in pregnancy.

In the consultation however, we did not press for more information which we should have done of course. I could have kicked myself afterwards. But it was a doctor we had not seen before, he was rushing because the scan had taken longer than expected making us late for the consultation with him and generally he did not seem to care. On top of that he did not have our file… apparently it’s location was unknown. This was particularly irritating since we had been promised a copy of the file to take with us to the UK, incl. a letter in English detailing the results of the tests and screenings carried out so far. Needless to say we were quite distracted by this misplacement of our file and having to leave our last appointment there without any documentation of the pregnancy so far. All in all it was a bit much to deal with in the middle of the moving chaos.

The doctor promised that the papers would be sent to us in the UK, but of course that has still not happened. Yesterday I managed to get myself registered with a GP (family doctor) here in London and learned that they will not acknowledge the pregnancy until all tests have been done all over with them. First step is taking a urine sample to the chemist to get it tested to prove that I am pregnant… ¬†I couldn’t stop laughing. I’m 20 weeks and 5 days along, I’m clearly showing and I’ve had 4 ultrasounds scans by now and countless blood tests. But hey none of that matters – they won’t take my word for it. I need to prove it with a positive urine test administered by the local chemist… To top it all off I could not get an appointment anytime soon to get the ball rolling. Not a nice situation if something should happen. I’ve got no midwife or obstetrician to call in case of any concerns or emergencies. And I really want to get this thing with the umbilical cord investigated further and know more about the potential implications and risks.

Today we went to our chosen hospital and managed to self-refer for their antenatal clinic. We filled in a form which will then go to the referral department which means a two week wait for a first appointment. But at least it’s in process and skips the waiting time to get an appointment with the GP and then the time it would take with whatever tests he want’s to do before even referring me.

So here we are. Stressed out by all the implications of relocating ¬†while pregnant and living temporarily with my husband’s family in the midst of the chaos of the unpacked boxes that are not in storage.

But we will get there. Things will work themselves out as they always do somehow or another. Our situation at the moment is far from ideal, but in the end of the day it doesn’t matter in the grander scheme of things. I have made it half way through my pregnancy and our baby is looking healthy and well! What more could we wish for!!