Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Wheel of Fortune, It Ran Us Over

When I was pretty much due to pop with Matilda, our car irreparably broke down. We had to scramble frantically to find a new car we could afford asap or risk having no transport when I go into labour. Luckily we managed to get a new car, and all was well.

In the month I was due to give birth to Philip, our *new* car irreparably broke down. Deja vous of the above mentioned frantic scrabbling was narrowly avoided when Peter's parents offered to give us their old car. But we were not naive. We could see the pattern forming.

So last month, when our *latest* car started making a strange rattling noise and we realised it was due for a service right around the time I was due with Clover in June, Peter did the prudent thing. He booked it in for an early service over Easter. My due date is two months away, I don't have to drive Philip to school, no fuss, right?

Riiiiiiight.

So, back track a little bit. About 3 weeks ago, I had a routine growth scan. The sonographer was happy with the measurements, but after I left the room, she came out and asked me to come in again. It turned out that even though Clover's measurements were within the normal ranges, they weren't normal when she plotted them on my customised growth chart (the chart created taking into account mine and Peter's heights, and the lengths and weights of our previous babies.) On that chart, Clover was really really small. No biggie, I was just going to have to come in two weeks later for a re-scan, to see if she'd had a growth spurt. In any case, there was a good chance there was some degree of error in the measurements.

Last Thursday was the date of my re-scan. Which showed that Clover had not grown in those two weeks. At. All. Apart from her head, which is still following the appropriate growth curve. At the moment there seems to be about a month's size worth of difference between her head and her body, which wasn't there at my 20 week scan. This pattern (asymmetrical and appearing in the third trimester) of growth restriction usually means there is some problem with the placenta. The consultant thinks for some reason my placenta is not working very well, and as a result Clover's body is directing all the (limited) nutrition she gets to her most vital organ, her brain. The risk with this is that if my placenta deteriorates any more, Clover's oxygen supply will also be affected.

So at the moment, this is where we stand. I have to go in at least a couple of times a week for a CTG (this is where they strap me on a monitor and record Clover's heart rate and movements for at least 30 minutes to assess her well being.) I have to be very careful about keeping track of how active she is every day. (Apparently one of the first signs that she's getting more poorly is that she'll slow down.) Any change in movements and I'm supposed to go in for yet more monitoring. I have to go in at least once a week for a Doppler scan to measure the blood flow through the umbilical cord and the levels of amniotic fluid around Clover. (If the placenta deteriorates these things will probably be affected.) And on next Friday, two weeks since the last measurements, I have to go for another growth scan to see if she has grown at all.

As I understand it after talking to the Consultant and a couple of midwives, if her movements slow down and/or the CTG isn't good, they'll likely deliver her right away. If the next Doppler scan (in two days' time) shows the liquor volume and/or cord blood flow is deteriorating, they'll likely deliver her right away. If by the next growth scan next Friday she still hasn't grown, they'll likely deliver her right away. If she has grown (a bit) they may decide to leave her in for a bit longer and keep a very close eye on her. Any deterioration and she's out. And even if everything goes really well, they would DEFINITELY not want to keep her in any longer as soon as I hit 37 weeks (considered full term.)

The bottom line is, this baby is likely to be born in the next three-four weeks if not sooner. And until then I'm going to be needing to make a lot of trips to the hospital.

In our car.

Which is sitting in the garage as we speak. Because they have found that the rattling noise was something (far far beyond my understanding) which means it's not really safe to drive or reliable. AND it may be too expensive to be worth fixing (we'll know in the next couple of days.) So we may well need to....

...wait for it...

...frantically start scrabbling for a new car, when I'm likely to give birth at any day.

To quote Terry Pratchett: "Most gods throw dice, but Fate plays chess, and you don't find out until too late that he's been playing with two queens all along."

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