PREGNANCY UPDATE AND WHY MONDAY CAN’T COME FAST ENOUGH

So I thought I’d update you with what’s been happening with my pregnancy since my last post. Last thing I shared was right after I had spent the evening in A&E after bleeding began with me being about 6 weeks pregnant. All tests came back that I was still pregnant and after a physical examination the Doctor assured me that they could not see a miscarriage happening. I still needed a scan and further blood tests at the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit but left A&E with two different follow up appointments.

The A&E visit had happened on the Bank Holiday Sunday and when I woke up on Tuesday, the EPAU at Milton Keynes General Hospital were on the phone asking me to come in that morning for a scan. My first thought was “Argh! Why are they calling me in earlier than my prearranged appointment?” which slowly turned to relief that I would be having a scan and hopefully answers and confirmations that the pregnancy was progressing normally sooner rather than later.

I collected Mr LouBou from work and made our way to MKGH (thanks to fab Grandparents who took our little boy for us). Once arrived and settled we saw a midwife who took all my details, like general health, my pregnancy dates and background on my first pregnancy. I then went back to the waiting room and drank lots of water until I was called into the Ultrasound room. I had forgotten how much water you have to drink before a scan and it brought back a lot of memories of my first pregnancy.

I didn’t realise until I was laying on the couch with the ultrasound on my tummy how scared I actually was and how much this was all affecting me. The midwife took a long time looking around and had to keep reassuring and apologising that she had to be thorough before she could conclude anything. I couldn’t see the screen and even if I had, I am sure I wouldn’t know what to look for at this early stage.

Anyway, after the agonisingly long scan (that resulted in having to turn into an internal ultrasound) we had results. I think the way the midwife tried to explain to them to us was that it wasn’t positive and it wasn’t negative, they were just results.

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My ultrasound showing gestational sac and yolk (circa 6 weeks pregnant)

In the scan they found a gestational sac and yolk but they couldn’t find the foetal pole or it could’ve been that they just couldn’t see it or it was too early in the pregnancy to see it. Bearing in mind that at this stage of pregnancy, things change so fast and in a matter of days things can look a lot different than what they do today.

So the midwife explained that another scan in two weeks was necessary to ensure the baby was found and developing the way it should be. So the scan news was neither good nor bad, just lots of patience required for the following two weeks with hope for concrete good news at the end of it.

Less than twenty four hours after the scan I started to bleed again. Again the surge of upset and stressed feelings was instant. I was kicking myself and trying to find a reason for it when there was none. The hospital assured me that as it started and stopped again soon after, that there was nothing to do but wait and be calm, the scan is just around the corner.

I then went seven whole days with no incidents. Fantastic. I finally started to relax a little and thought that was the end of that. Then today the bleeding started again, first when I woke up and again tonight. There’s still no reason to think the worst and I have been told from the EPAU midwives to take it easy and hang tight for the scan on Monday, but seriously Monday cannot come fast enough for me now.

So that’s where I am today. I may only be approaching 8 weeks (ish who knows for sure yet) into a pregnancy but already it’s filling me with enough drama to make the Eastenders writers jealous. I hope for Monday to come quickly and for good news to be shared. I really do hope.

EARLY PREGNANCY SCARES AND WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED IN A&E

Some people are aware after my post about a week ago, I am in the early stages of my second pregnancy. Then people may have also been aware from my post early this morning that perhaps things weren’t progressing as smoothly as I would have liked, having spent most of Sunday evening until the small hours at my local A&E department.

So what happened? Yesterday evening I had started bleeding. My initial reaction was that of fear and dread. I thought I was losing the pregnancy and with it our second child. After speaking with the NHS 111 service, I was told with my symptoms that I needed to attend A&E to be fully assessed. As my little boy was fast asleep, I had to call over his Grandad to babysit and then Mr LouBou and I made our way to our local hospital.

When I was there I was assessed amazingly fast. Urine test, blood pressure, pulse and temperature were all taken. Then full bloods. I had tachycardia, a temperature and markers of an infection. So far things weren’t going the way I wanted them to.

I was told that I was still pregnant from my urine sample but I had to wait for the blood results to come back which could take 90 minutes or more before they could assess my pregnancy hormone levels.

It was an agonising wait. From one minute feeling positive that the bleeding had subsided and that everything was going ok to the next feeling full of dread and fearing the worst was about to happen.

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Then the blood results were in. My hormone levels appeared normal, thank god! I had a Doctor come see me and tell me that she wanted to do a thorough internal check despite the results to make sure I wasn’t having a miscarriage.

This was definitely the worst part of the hospital visit. The Doctor explained what she was going to do to carry out the examination and told me that however the exam in itself couldn’t cause a miscarriage but she would be able to see instantly if I was in the progress of one. I had to give my permission to the Doctor to ‘clear up’ my uterus to prevent further risk of complication if she saw a miscarriage happening.

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I was in a sad, uncomfortable haze during the examination until she said the words, that although she could see blood there was no signs of a miscarriage occurring. Of course I was elated by this point but of course concerned about the bleeding that had happened.

No miscarriage though! The best news possible was confirmed. I was then told by the Doctor that bleeding in the first trimester of pregnancy can happen completely harmlessly in 10% of cases. Scary, yes! Normal? We’ll see.

In my first pregnancy, I suffered placenta previa which ended with me having a planned c section as the risks of uncontrollable bleeding and placenta complications during a natural birth were just not what my consultant or I wanted to take. So of course having bleeding early on in a second pregnancy got my mind racing and jumping to a dozen conclusions.

After the Doctor had spoken to the Obstetrics and Gynaecology department, it was decided to not admit me and let me go home to my own bed as long as I attended two further appointments this week to ensure things are progressing smoothly from this point. One appointment tomorrow to recheck my bloods and pregnancy hormone levels and then one on Thursday for an early pregnancy scan.

So for now all is okay. Fingers crossed this week brings confirmation of good news and a healthy pregnancy. For now all is okay (check out my corking blood test war-wound).

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They drugged me and stuck things down my throat…

Hey… relax. It’s not as bad as that but if you’re squeamish about medical things, then this blog isn’t for you. Click back and I’ll see you next time.

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Let’s start at the beginning. I’ve been suffering for a very long time with heartburn type feelings and lots and lots of sore throats and regular antibiotics. It’s been unpleasant and although I hate anything to do with hospitals, I knew I had to get myself checked out. So I was referred to Oxford Churchill hospital, under the care of a very lovely consultant and very caring nurse to make sure nothing untoward was occurring.

Back in September I had what is called a barium meal or barium swallow or sometimes known as an upper GI. It’s not a nice test. You are taken into an X-ray room and you stand in front of the X-ray machine whilst the radiologist hands you a cup of frothy foaming white ‘stuff’. Barium. It’s supposedly fruit flavoured, but it’s not in the least bit appetising. It’s supposed to be a drink but it’s bloody hard to swallow, it’s like drinking froth. But they make you hold a massive mouthful in your mouth and then start taking a series of X-ray images and then instruct you to swallow so they can see the barium as it travels down from your mouth to your stomach. Then repeat and repeat again. Yuk.

After the distractions of our family holiday abroad, Christmas and New Year, I knew I couldn’t ignore the problems, they were still there and not getting any better. Another course of antibiotics down, feeling better for a week and then back to square one.

The team in Oxford agreed that an upper endoscopy or a gastroscopy was the next port of call. A procedure where a camera is placed inside your mouth, swallowed and then is manoeuvred down your oesophagus and into your stomach. An upper endoscopy gives the consultant a clear inside view and ability to check out the health of everything from the throat down.

So the day came. I knew from the information booklet that I had to be nil by mouth for six hours before my admission. That being set for 3pm meant that I had to go most of the day as usual and travelling to Oxford without any food or water. It sure wasn’t easy but I got there!

Arrived in the waiting room and was met by a nurse who wanted to check all my paperwork, my understanding of the procedure and a general check on my blood pressure and oxygen levels. My blood pressure was reassuringly steady, considering how much I was bricking it.

I then met the consultant and junior doctor who explained I had a choice of doing the test under an anaesthetic throat spray, being completely conscious throughout or I could be sedated so I would be peaceful and barely aware of what was happening. I’m sorry to say I am a complete wuss and the thought of gagging over something down my throat, no matter how numb they make it was out of the question. I opted for sedation and was aware that it meant a few more risks and longer recovery time on the ward.

When I was led into the endoscopy suite, it looked a little bit like a theatre. Bed in the middle. Heart monitors, oxygen tanks, nurses looking busy. But what wasn’t usual was the big massive computer looking box next to the bed with big black cables sticking out of it. That was the machine that was going down my throat?! Eek!

I was extremely nervous as they got me to lay down on my side on the bed. I had a cannula placed in my arm and oxygen tubes resting on my nose. They placed a big waterproof sheet under my head. The nurse giggled and said “this is to stop you dribbling all over yourself”. A plastic mouth guard was fastened around my head and between my teeth, it felt very strange. And then I was told that the sedative was being administered. I was waiting, waiting for the warm feeling of sedation coming over my brain – but it didn’t come. I must admit I started to panic as they were already introducing the camera down my throat and I didn’t like it one bit. I flinched, unable to talk but thankfully I heard the consultant say to someone “administer more sedative” or something along those lines and that’s the last I remember.

I came to in the recovery ward, didn’t feel too bad at all. A little groggy but definitely more alert than I anticipated. A nurse kept check on my blood pressure and seeing if I felt ok. Also a big thank you to her as she saw me shivering and brought me another blanket. It’s the little things that make you feel safe and looked after. It’s crazy that after all day without food or water – I now had zero appetite. I struggled down a few mouthfuls of tea and a biscuit that the nurse had brought me but it wasn’t pleasurable. Not from pain, just a strange feeling inside.

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When I felt more myself I was allowed to get up and get ready to discharge with the departments contact details in case I developed any post procedure complications. I got myself home and wrapped up in my big fleecy blanket. My husband ordered us a Domino’s Pizza. I’m still not hungry but I knew as I’ve not eaten all day that I should try something and managed a few bites.

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be back, appetite and all.

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