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  • Emma Belle

First Trimester, Pregnancy after loss and Termination for medical reasons, NIPT testing and NT Scan




28th March 2022


Yesterday we had our terrace furniture delivered and it’s so nice to sit outside and be doing a bit of work on my laptop and to be able to eat breakfast and dinner out here.


What a weird time. I posted on social media last week about our pregnancy and I have been overwhelmed with love and kindness and the messages that I have received from others that are going through loss and infertility really do hit differently as I know how hard it is to be in this space and to offer any words to others who have got positive news when that is all you want for yourself (even though that is all you want for everyone in this space).


Navigating this space sensitively matters to me and it has been such a horrid 2 and a half years and this is all we have wanted, so I am learning how to navigate both truths.


I did lose some followers and I gained some and I trust that everyone is doing what is best for their emotional and mental wellbeing! It's what I teach and mentor in groups and 1:1 and I love and support everyone in doing what is best for them first and foremost.


This week is our NIPT with microdeletion blood draw and I simply cannot believe that we are here already! We are doing it a week earlier than last time and our NT scan will be a week earlier than last time also, It really would be the best news if this baby was genetically healthy, we hope for this and we are acutely aware of the realities and uncertainty of pregnancy now. We will take it one step, one appointment and one test at a time.


Today I have editing to do as I am launching series 2 of "let's talk Bipolar" podcast this week for Bipolar UK and we are launching it on World Bipolar day on Wednesday 30th March at the conference.


I have support groups to run tonight and new member requests for TFMR Mamas to process today also. On that note I better get off and get to it!


xxx


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Ok, with World Bipolar Day last week and generally being bloody exhausted, I haven't updated this diary, so I am now going to go back and update what has been happening. I am writing this on Tuesday 5th April 2022.


So, it was agreed that I was going to have the NIPT and NT scan with the same people that we had it done with when I was pregnant with Willow. However, my insurance won't cover it so being mindful of our costs and the fact that we live further away now, we have decided to have all of our genetic appointments with Genesis. We have booked the NIPT with microdeletions test with Genesis and we have also booked in for our NT scan with Dr George at Genesis as we went to see him for genetic counselling after losing Willow to have our karyotype and our carrier testing done before we embarked on further rounds of fertility treatment.


Anyway, the NT scan can be done with an abdominal scan, and I have been to see Dr George before so I feel comfortable to do this appointment with a male doctor rather than my usual request for a female doctor.


For those of you that don't know, I have previous sexual trauma from assault and rape and now I choose to have care from female practitioners for fertility care and now maternity care (still feels crazy to be writing maternity care!!??).

So, on Thursday 31st March we went to Genesis for the NIPT blood draw and although it was only bloods (and let's face it I've had hundreds at this point in our bonkers journey) it still felt quite overwhelming as it's hard to believe we are here again having the same tests, hoping for a different outcome...


After that we went to the hospital for my antenatal bloods and I was told that I needed to do a fasted glucose blood test, I hadn't been told to fast, so I arranged to come back the next day. I also had to do a urine test (which again I wasn't prepared for), so I arranged to do that the next day too.


Friday 1st April, I was back at the hospital for my fasted glucose blood test, my urine sample and for a scan on my right armpit as I have had a lump getting bigger for the last week or so. They scanned it and it turns out that I have an axillary piece of breast tissue that is located in my armpit, and this occurs in approx. 7% of women. So here we are batting out the slim averages once again... but it's good news because it’s totally harmless and generally axillary breast tissue forms in your adolescent years but only become noticeable in pregnancy as like all of your other breast tissue it gets bigger and more tender! So here we are with a random extra piece in my armpit that is apparently only going to get bigger and more tender as the pregnancy continues and should I get to a point where milk comes in, I'm not to be surprised if it fills with milk too! The joys ;)


So, after armpit-gate all was well, until I got a call from the nurse to say my toxoplasma blood test had come back with a grey result! Now this means I need to have another blood test to rule out an active infection... an active infection in pregnancy can mean that it passes over the placenta to the baby and the baby would need extra tests and scans to check that no damage to the baby has occurred. Now as you can imagine, this news to anyone is not easy let alone someone who has already been through a Termination for medical reasons as you can't help but think the worst (because the worst has already happened to you, and you know it could well happen again). I also had some red blood cells come back in my urine, so I need to have a culture to see what is going on there too.


Now on the note of Toxoplasmosis, they say you can get this from cats or uncooked meats... now in my case we have had our cats since 2017, and I had cats before that, so my bloods may well be showing a past infection. The risk factors for cats having it are being outside cats, catching birds and mice and eating meats etc... Now our cats have only ever been indoor cats and they only eat dry biscuits, they don't even like dreamies or cat treats... The risk factor for them having it is very low, and in turn passing it to me is low. If my test comes back as active, then we will test and treat the cats and also treat me. So, let's see how we go, one more thing to think about in the hurdles we need to get past.


My current doctor can only look after us for the first trimester and then we have to transfer to an OB. Lala (a fabulous trauma informed doula and my friend) recommended me to use a certain female doctor as she feels she will be a good fit for me in terms of pregnancy after loss and also informed of how sexual trauma can impact pregnancy and birth (believe me, for me it really does). So, I called her nurse and booked in an appointment for Tuesday 5th April for a scan and the follow up bloods and urine culture that I need doing, with the view that if the NT scan and NIPT come back ok then I will proceed with her care afterwards.

Sunday 3rd April 2022


Now, physically my body has started changing very quickly and I already have a bloat/bump going on, it's like my body just went, yep, we are doing this again and I look 13 weeks pregnant again (by my standards which probably looks more like 16 weeks). So consequently, my clothes don't fit, and I have finally had to brave my old clothes bags and dig out my maternity stuff from last time I was pregnant. There were a few things that I threw away a while ago as I just knew I could never wear them again and there were a few pieces that felt ok... So, they have been dug out and they are back in the wardrobe, and I will start to wear them again as I am down to just a couple of outfits... It was quite a big deal to do this and parts of me felt close to Willow again, which is both comforting and sad all at the same time.


Tuesday 5th April 2022


So, today! Here we are! I barely slept last night and all of yesterday was very anxious, I felt so anxious that I felt sick and had to go to bed early. Thoughts that the heartbeat will have stopped kept coming through my mind and heart.


We got ready and went to meet our new doctor. She is nice, and it feels safe...


We filled her in on our history and when you sit in front of someone for the first time and say it all out loud, you realise that it has been a lot! We cannot believe this is where we are right now, we are super grateful and very cautious.


The doctor asked me if I had a full bladder (which I didn't) because normally I'm told to have an empty bladder but this time, I am having an abdominal scan... so weird after so many dates with Wanda over the last few years...


So, the scan went on and the heartbeat came through straight away.... This is the first scan where I haven't cried, which is also a relief. Everything looking good and I am measuring 11 weeks today. I know that I am only 10 weeks and 5 days pregnant because after years of infertility and treatments you know your cycles inside and out!


I have been given a due date of the 27th October... So, let’s see at the NT scan as they will take my dates from that.


I went and had my blood taken and gave my urine for my culture and now we wait for the results.


I am back home now and feeling exhausted from today. I always feel exhausted after scans with the post adrenaline dump fall out!

So, now we have a 2 week wait for the NT scan (which is where it all started to go wrong last time) and our NIPT results should also be back by this time too so we can have a full picture.


Thank you all for your amazing messages and love, connecting with you all over the last 2 years has really been a lifeline for me and has helped me to cope and keep going through this never ending shit storm. I am feeling so grateful today for all the support and love we have around us.


Catch you again for another update soon.


Monday 11th April


it's taken nearly a week to get my Toxoplasmosis and urine results back... both came back clear which is great as I've had the toxoplasmosis thing running around in my head constantly and all I can think about is it would be just our luck that this is the reason we must have another TFMR. It turns out it was an old infection and not a new one which means that I also have some immunity to this too. My urine sample also came back clear, so another thing off the list to worry about.


Tuesday 12th April


I had my acupuncture session today, I have been having this weekly for months and months and when I got a positive pregnancy test, my practitioner just changed the treatment to support pregnancy and I will have this now until I am passed 12 weeks and past the NT scan...


Wednesday 13th April


I barely slept last night as the pressure and looming results of the NIPT test are due soon. Tomorrow is the earliest they should be back and next week the latest.


I couldn't wait any longer so I called the clinic and asked if they could give me an update on when they expected the results back. Could they chase the lab and see if they had even run our tests yet... I need to get some sleep, so if I can have a more accurate timeline then perhaps this will be easier to sleep?!


The nurse said she would get my doctor's nurse to call me back with an update. A few hours passed and they called me and confirmed my name and date of birth...


"The results are all clear, everything is low risk"..... wait, what!?! WHAT WAS SHE SAYING.... the info wasn't going in, I wasn't expecting the actual results...


I said "sorry, what's all clear? what do you mean?!?"


She said it again "your results are all low risk; the results are back already"


I literally couldn't believe it!!!! I burst into tears and was literally wailing on the phone....


then I heard "the gender is...." I said "no!!! stop!! I’m not with my husband and I'm not ready to know yet"


So, she didn't tell me any more information...


I rang G hysterical by this point and told him the good news... he was terrified because I was crying so thought it was bad news....


Anyway, such a good update to receive and so glad that everything so far is looking ok.


We decided to not know the sex just yet.


Thursday 14th April 2022


Today I went to go and get my hair done, I slept really well last night, I had a cut and a tint run through the ends of my hair, it hasn't been done in ages and really needed doing! I got asked if I was pregnant as it's noticeable now... I love and hate this in equal measure...


Sunday 17th April 2022


The anxiety has started to kick back in, this time 48 hours before the scan. This scan is the NT scan, the same one where we started to get bad news about Willow.... Incidentally I will be having it at exactly the same gestation as last time 12 weeks and 5 days pregnant... ideally, I would have it on another day but to have it with who we want to have it with there are no other days unless I wait even longer, which I just don't want to do.


We treated ourselves to easter eggs and that was a nice distraction...


Monday 18th April 2022


One more day until the NT scan and sleep has been pretty non- existent!


I have a busy day of work today, so hoping this will be a good distraction...


Tuesday 19th April 2022


We are here, the day has come, and I just cannot believe that this is where we are again,.... it's like Groundhog Day, retracing your steps, doing the same things, and desperately hoping for a different outcome...


G and I head to the clinic and our doctor is running behind. The first thing that comes in to my head is I hope the people in front of us aren't receiving bad news.... Then I realise I can't feel my fingers, or my mouth and I feel like I am being strangled and short of breath.... all of a sudden, I feel very lightheaded like I might pass out... G said I looked very pale and then I really did feel like I might pass out... he took me to the nurses' room and they laid me down with my feet up and gave me some fresh water... I laid there for about 15-20 minutes until I felt ok again....


We went round to the scanning room and our Dr quickly found the heartbeat and then started scanning..... NT measurement was 1.3!!!!! I just couldn't believe it and started crying, I asked him to show me again and tell me again. Then I asked him if there were any cycstic hygromas? He said no there wasn't and showed me again.... I couldn't see any myself on the screen, but I needed to hear it! He then took some 3D pictures, measured the baby, and said that all was looking well for this stage and what can be seen at this stage of pregnancy. We will go back here for our morphology/anatomy/20week scan.


We left happy and I feel absolutely wiped out from the build-up and all the waiting.


Next scan will be at about 16 weeks.


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