4 March 2016

Rumer's Story, part 3

Meeting the Fetal Medicine consultant & Anomaly scan

Wednesday 29th April to Thursday 21st May 2015
17 to 21 weeks pregnant

On 29th April, we had our second midwife appointment, again at home. I had developed some pregnancy anxiety, had seen the GP and had started CBT that day through the local community service. I was impressed by how quick they'd been to see me. The anxiety had been very focused around things going wrong with the pregnancy and one of the things we worked on and I repeated to myself in sessions was 'most people have healthy babies'; it seems kind of ironic now, along with Mollie's assertion in the first appointment that everything would be fine. A friend had also told me not to worry because things would be fine. Perhaps it is wisest not to say that.

I'd also started pregnancy yoga with Nelly Lister, a local yoga teacher. I felt a bit the odd one out in the classes for starting so early at only 19 weeks, but I thought it would help with relaxation; I think it was also a reaction to having waited a long time to do all this pregnancy stuff. We booked NCT classes around this stage for the same reason.

Shortly after that, we received a random appointment in the post for the diabetes clinic. This turned out to have nothing to do with diabetes but to be the awaited appointment with George Donnachie, who happened to be in the antenatal diabetes clinic on Wednesdays. We prepared for that appointment with all our research, and on the 21st May, at 21 weeks gestation, we turned up at the clinic.

Again we didn't have to wait long - efficient consultant clinics were very much our experience at that time; it didn't last. George was charm itself, at the time we thought far too charming. However, unlike Jody Ellis, he did engage with our research. He pointed out that the NHS England guidance was draft guidance; we pointed out that we could hardly afford to wait for it to become official. It was a long appointment. I am not sure whether the medical student who was present was bored or impressed. However, in the end George conceded to 4 weekly scans and called Jody Ellis in to inform her, to which she asked if we 'were happy now'. To which I responded that it was a reasonable compromise. We had our anomaly scan the following day in the Fetal Medicine Unit (FMU) and George said he had a clinic there at the same time and he would see us after the anomaly scan to arrange the timing of future scans (which depended on the dopplers at that scan).

We turned up at FMU and waited for the anomaly scan. I was first of all just relieved that there was a heartbeat at all. Anxiety made me irrational. Then the sonographer tried to locate all the structures they needed to check. It wasn't easy. Three times we went in and out of the room, to stretch, bend over (I decided standing on my head probably wasn't practical) and drink icy Coke, hoping caffeine, sugar and cold would make the baby move and jump around.

The baby was not cooperating. A doctor, a 'cardiac specialist' apparently, came in but had no more luck. They told us the dopplers were normal but they couldn't see the heart and legs clearly and we should come back next week in order to complete the scan. They gave us a scan picture and an appointment and we waited to see George. He came out from a scanning room and ushered us into an office, commented that the scan looked good and started working out timings of follow up growth scans, writing down 28 weeks, 32 weeks. Then he glanced at the scan report again and mumbled "she didn't tell me about that". He looked at us and said he'd like to check something, did we have 15 minutes? To which we said we did and he ushered us out to the waiting room. I wasn't really worried, I thought it might be something about the growth but wasn't sure. The waiting room was full, so we told the receptionist we'd be in the lift lobby and waited out there studying the picture and talking until George called us back in.

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