Pregnancy ups, emotional downs

This week, last month, summer and autumn have involved a LOT of traumatic events locally, which I haven’t gone into here, as they aren’t the focus of this blog. They have taken my attention, though, which is a lot of why I’ve written so little. I just haven’t had the mental energy to either fret about or enjoy this pregnancy.They also pulled me out of the running and other exercise I was doing in the first trimester (my DH felt it got dangerous to run alone late at night, and asked me not to, and it was too hot during the day, and although I joined the gym, I really didn’t enjoy exercising there very much), and it’s been really hard to keep up my energy levels ever since. I spend a lot of time feeling exhausted.

On the other hand, my medical test results have mostly been good. I did the follow-up ultrasound on the excess amniotic fluid yesterday, and while there is still a tiny bit too much, it’s nowhere near as bad, apparently. The doctor told me to go back in two months (ie right at the end of the pregnancy) so they can see how it looks before the birth. I had actually been wondering if there was an improvement in this, because I’ve been feeling more kicks and other movements, and feeling them more all over.

Also this week I started a series of dental hygiene appointments at the local dental school. A second (of two) year student on a local parenting group asked for patients, and it seems a very good deal – a single cheap price for multiple in depth appointments completely under supervision. I really haven’t had dental care since I moved here, so this would be a good thing. Both my (student) hygienist and her supervisor stressed how important tooth care in pregnancy is, because gingivitis can lead to low birth weight and premature labour. In the health questionnaire at the beginning I was asked about present or previous instances of high blood pressure or liver issues, so mentioned the last pregnancy. I very quickly gave up on trying to tell them about HELLP, and focussed on the pre-eclampsia having led to both, but being fine for now and carefully monitored. In the end they just accepted that and moved on, because it doesn’t seem like either should really be affected by this treatment. I was somewhat bemused that neither of them knew what pre-eclampsia is (let alone HELLP), and only the student (who has two daughters of her own) had even heard the term before. On the one hand, I’m delighted she didn’t need to know, for her sake, but in case she might want further children I hope she at least knows symptoms to get checked out, even if she doesn’t know what they might be from. I have no idea if her supervisor has children or wants to, but same for her if so.

I am here

I keep thinking I’m keeping this blog much more up to date than I am. Where are we? I’ve had a LOT more medical appointments, and mostly everything looks fine, although I’m being followed up for excess amniotic fluid. That meant lots of blood tests for nasty infections and things, none of which I seem to have so far, and going straight to the three hour test for gestational diabetes, rather than doing the usual one hour test first. I just did those this week, so I haven’t been back to the doctor after them yet, but from what I could see/look up online, I don’t appear to have GD or anything else. So still no idea why the extra fluid, but I’ll go back to the doctors next week, probably, and see what they think.

I’m assuming that’s why I don’t feel so very many kicks, even though at every ultrasound they’ve said baby is very active indeed. When I lie down I feel a lot, and those I do feel during the day are nearly all at the top or bottom, so I think there’s just a lot of room to swim in the middle, and baby’s not hitting the sides so much.

Apart from the amniotic fluid, and some weirdnesses with leucocytes and lymphocytes, that my GP had me check for a UTI with (negative), everything looks good. My monthly blood tests show my liver results staying normal, and the anatomy scan and foetal echo showed all of baby’s organs developing well, and on schedule. (I think on average we were two days from the expected developmental age, which is basically spot on.)

We do the echo because our eldest daughter has a ventricular septal defect (VSD), which doesn’t affect her at all (no treatment, therapy or restrictions) apart from going for a cardiology check-up every couple of years to see has she finally grown out of it. It does apparently very slightly raise our risk of having another child with a congenital heart defect (CHD), so we do the extra scan with a paediatric cardiologist. He said he can’t rule out a VSD as small as our eldest has at this stage, but he has no reason to suspect one, let alone anything worse, and we already know that a tiny VSD isn’t exactly a major problem.

Most of the time we forget the nearly four-year-old has it. Just when she gets examined by a new doctor we mention it, so they don’t get worried by her slight heart murmur. We do NOT mention it at her nursery, dance class, or any other programme she takes part in. There’s no need to, and from what we read online from other parents, it’s better not to, as occasionally people like to take it upon themselves to restrict the child’s activity, which is the last thing she needs! I saw advice that if a form asks specifically about heart issues, the thing to do is write, ‘normal’, (which it is), so that you’re neither lying nor causing uninformed people to panic.

None of which is to minimise in any way the seriousness of other CHDs. I have a couple of friends with children with very severe heart issues, who needed surgery within days of birth, and in some cases need ongoing surgeries as they grow. Thankfully for us, our experience just gives us a tiny amount of extra empathy for what they deal with.