This is the third part of a continuing J-Scribe series on my problematic pregnancy. See Reborn Part 1 & Reborn Part 2
It was an agonisingly long week between the onset of the threatened miscarriage and the appointment with the obstetrician which would deliver the news about our baby’s ability to endure. But it was news worth waiting for.
Sent: Monday, 23 February 2009 5:24 PM
To: Julie Posetti
Subject: Good news!
Dear family & friends,
Newsflash: our baby has survived the 'threatened miscarriage'! :o))
S/he was kicking and squirming on the ultrasound today and the heartbeat
was strong. Sometimes miracles do happen :o)
I'm feeling a little better today, too, after a truly awful week with
several bleeding episodes and extreme fatigue pinning me to the couch
(when my mother wasn't! :o)
The obstetrician says this is the best outcome we could have hoped for.
Now it's about prayers, entreaties & crossed fingers, legs etc in the
hope that the threatened miscarriage stays at bay & the baby continues to
thrive for the next few weeks.
If the baby behaves itself, I have an appointment in a month at the Foetal Medicine Unit (FMU) at the Canberra Hospital and they will do another diagnostic scan with a view to getting a more predictive reading on the baby's health
They may be able to detect issues with the placenta that point, too,
but they won't manifest (beyond posing a continuing miscarriage threat)
until the 6-7 month mark in the form of retarded growth, likely
precipitating a premature birth. Yep, this will continue to be a
high-risk pregnancy...but as long as it does continue and a healthy baby
is ultimately delivered it will be a risk worth enduring.
So, now I just have to continue to follow doctor's orders: rest, recover
& avoid stress for the next fortnight to keep the baby hanging in there.
To that end: The Sound of Music will be screening on our TV tonight
after the Oscars frock fest :)
Thanks for all the love and support you've sent our way over the past
week. It's been touching and valuable to us. Please keep it coming
during the long journey ahead!
Julie & Tim
In the weeks that followed, I found the couch-sentence frustrating but I was rendered so exhausted by the threatened miscarriage symptoms I could do little more than complain quietly. And the stress was palpable.
Everytime I stood up or pottered about the house the bleeding would recommence. And that was so frightening...I was afraid to use the toilet...terrified of miscarrying at home alone. My mother came to stay to help ease the burden and satisfy my cravings for comforting dollops of carbohydrates...all I wanted was pasta, polenta and potato...and a lot of sleep.
Annoyingly, people kept telling me to “just chill, downtime is a luxury”. As I wrote to a friend, “I’m trying to view the enforced ‘relaxation’ as a ‘luxury’ but that’s really a bit delusional…nothing relaxing or luxurious about a threatened miscarriage which, apart from being very frightening, leaves you too physically & emotionally exhausted to do anything deep or productive with the downtime (I’ve even tried unsuccessfully to blog) but not sick enough to avoid being frustrated by being pinned down. And, every time I start feeling optimistic & think I’ve turned a corner I start bleeding again, as I did this morning, so…”
But as each day passed and the baby clung to life, hope grew and the stress surrounding my pregnancy slowly began to ease. On the bright side, the threatened miscarriage was a significant distraction from the lingering threat of chromosomal abnormality.
I found another distraction in my DVD collection. Much to my partner’s amusement and barely-masked frustration, I managed to remain couch-bound for seven whole series of the US comedy/drama “Gilmore Girls”…160 episodes watched back-to-back.
The time dragged as quickly as it could to the next ultrasound appointment the following week.
From: Julie.Posetti [mailto:Julie.Posetti@canberra.edu.au]
Sent: 10 March 2009 03:05 PM
To: Julie.Posetti; email@example.com
Subject: Update from the Couch
Dear family and friends,
Good news from the couch.
The baby is still doing well - s/he was seen kicking, 'talking on the
phone', waving and rubbing eyes on ultrasound today - and the mother finally
appears to be on the improve!
After another scare, which prolonged the threatened miscarriage diagnosis,
my couch-sentence was extended last week by a fortnight and, despite my
dislike of idleness and isolation, it seems to have helped. I'm still
utterly exhausted and not good for any sort of mental engagement cleverer
than a 'knock-knock' joke, but at least I've managed to re-activate my sense
of humour! :o)
At the end of next week, I have a very detailed scan and possibly other
diagnostic tests with the Prof of Fetal Medicine here in an effort to
determine the baby's health as there are significant concerns about
chromosomal abnormalities and the state of the placenta. The next hurdle.
Thanks to all those of you who've offered much appreciated care and support
over the past few weeks. It's been really valued. Please keep it coming!
Julie, Tim and the precious cargo.
By the end of March I found reassurance outside the doctor’s rooms. “I started feeling her move inside me - the most mind-blowing sensation!” I wrote to a friend. But there was the lingering anxiety surrounding the high risk of birth defects which would be tested at the FMU the following week. And the sudden, inexplicable death of our horse, Dancer two days after the photo below was taken to celebrate the baby's survival, bringing grief back to our doorstep.
But there was happiness on the horizon.
Sent: Thu 02/04/2009 11:07 PM
Subject: Baby, baby!
Dear family & friends,
Happy, happy news! After surviving a threatened miscarriage, our baby has defied predictions of serious genetic disorders and was today declared by the medicos to be developing “perfectly”!
Feisty and resilient (s/he gets that from her Mum :o), s/he bounced around on ultrasound @ the Fetal Medicine Unit (FMU) in Canberra today, showing off his/her apparently well-functioning brain, heart, kidneys etc and revealing a healthy growth spurt since his/her last cinematic performance a fortnight ago. Today's 4D scan was designed to detect abnormalities, indicated by earlier tests, which should be clearly apparent @ this stage of the baby's development.
But this baby appears to be thriving! S/he has a head which is way above average in size (to accommodate all those brains, which s/he inherited from his/her mother, who is writing this missive in case you hadn’t realised :o) but his/her little legs are a tad shorter than average (surprise!).
19 weeks on Monday and halfway home, s/he still has a long way to go, and his/her growth will continue to be monitored very closely with regular scans @ the FMU and weekly visits to see his/her fabulous obstetrician. This is because blood tests still indicate a likely problem with the placenta, which is expected to retard his/her growth later in the pregnancy and poses a risk for premature birth.
I’m (Julie) gradually feeling stronger (not to mention excited & relieved by the bambina/o’s progress!) after my frustrating but edifying couch sojourn. But it will be a while before ‘Superwoman’ is back in action!
Meantime, please keep those prayers etc coming, cross those fingers (or hold/squeeze those thumbs as the South Africans & Germans among you are wont to do!) and maintain those good vibrations! We really appreciate your love, care and cheer-leading – it’s helped us get this far!
Lots of love,
Julie, Tim and the Precious Cargo.
PS Yes, we know the sex, but no, we're not telling yet - although the androgynous identification is getting boring, so the cat is likely to leave the bag soon!
While question marks lingered around our baby’s future, by mid-April hope began to seed and I began to embrace the pregnancy more confidently. I wrote to a friend “…the bambina is going wild with the womb-dancing which is very comforting - although I'm sure that sensation will become more painful with time! Still having to moderate my activity & learning (again!) to pay attention to this battered old body's warning signals to slow down...not an easy achievement for moi, but easier to manage with another life dependent upon my behaviour to an extent!”
And there were moments of joy and even hilarity as I continued to improve and started venturing out into public more regularly. I reported to a friend at the time via email: “…despite a high stress morning yesterday, I was Zenned out enough by early afternoon to leave my laptop in a public loo (since retrieved thank goodness!) and prance around a busy city shopping centre, smiling at those who were staring at me (cos I’m such a 'hawt' preggers chick, I thought :o), without realising my skirt was tucked into my stockings!! Oblivious was I, till a woman rushed up to me in hushed tones to alert me. But even this major fashion faux pas failed to faze me and I just laughed & made a quip about providing the shoppers with another kind of stimulus package. See, veeeery chilled :o)”
The idea that we may actually soon have to bring a tiny human-being into our chaotic lives had finally dawned. And then the nesting began in earnest.
I put friends & family to good use in farmhouse working bees: “*Whip, whip!* So loving being the foreperson…this‘complicated’ preggers status definitely has its upsides…Have also resurrected the bassinet I slumbered in as a bambina but the Numero Uno Feline has decided to take up residence within (picture mother-in-law’s panicked expression here :o)”
In an episode worthy of “Changing Rooms” we shunted the study to the back of the house to make room for the baby and began culling 20 years worth of accumulated crap. Quite why I’d hung onto a fluorescent pink “Wham” t-shirt from 1983 I don’t know, but I was now ready to consign it to the bin. However, I quickly realised that for every item I disposed of there was a piece of baby-accoutrement waiting to take its place.
I simply couldn’t resist foraging for cute baby gear that looked barely big enough to
dress a doll in. Socks for newborns which, when rolled up, are the size of a cotton ball, are up there with the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. But that could be hormones talking.
And those hormones continue to talk in more ways than one. Ongoing morning sickness means I still greet every day at the sink. Small price to pay for a healthy baby I keep telling myself as involuntary tears run down my cheeks.
I joke about becoming ‘larger than life’ but how could I resent the impact this baby is having on my body?
Ahead of the next FMU growth scan I wrote to a friend last week: “The bambina is now very active. If you were to put your hand on my belly right now, you could feel her kicking and dancing. Experiencing that sensation internally is simply extraordinary. Like tiny punches, electrical impulses, breath-taking jabs of love. Like life summoning you.” I’m convinced that if men were able to experience this they would have figured out how to do pregnancy ahead of harvesting stem cells and mapping genomes.
Sent: Fri 15/05/2009 7:17 PM
To: Julie Posetti
Subject: News from the Baby-zone
Dear family & friends,
Our little girl (yes, she’s a gal, in case you missed the newsflash) is continuing to impress her parents and the medicos by defying negative predictions and developing “perfectly” inside her mummy’s womb.
The docs say she is 'bang-on' normal growth targets for her age (25 weeks on Monday) and they’ve indicated that while there are no guarantees, they would be "very, very surprised" if she was born with either of the deadly genetic defects she was threatened with.
They’ll continue to closely monitor her growth in the knowledge that there may be other issues which could affect her development in the coming weeks and precipitate a premature birth. But she seems pretty determined to enter the world - despite the meltdown of the human race. And we feel increasingly confident she’ll make it.
She put on a cheeky performance on the ultrasound @ the Foetal Medicine Unit on Thursday, displaying her bottom with the confidence of a burlesque dancer. But she was very shy about revealing her face, preferring instead to cover her smile with the feet she was fascinated by.
Her mummy is ‘blooming’ at speed, reminiscent of Harry Potter’s Aunt Marge when she floated above Little Whinging, propelled by hyper-inflation. But, apart from the usual problems & continuing morning sickness, the pregnancy is progressing well. Nevertheless, mindful of the ongoing risks and the difficult path to this point, the docs have restricted her to working from home for the duration of the semester. She’s enjoying the mental stimulation and nesting like a … (pick an industrious, sentimental bird)
Thanks again for your continuing prayers, finger-crossing, thumb-holding, love and concern. Please keep it coming as the countdown continues!
Julie, Tim and The Bambina
As I write this my little girl is kicking me in the belly and signalling her hunger to me…I imagine her like a tiny belly dancer, quaffing Turkish Delight and clapping her hands with delight every time she hears the dog bark.
She turns 26 weeks on Monday. Her next scan at the Canberra FMU is at 30 weeks.
The Bambina is due the week of the first anniversary of my grandmother’s death. Grandma never gave up praying I’d have a living, healthy baby and I sometimes feel like she’s urging this little girl inside me to the finish line. That’s the sort of tenacity Grandma would have showed in the womb. Her granddaughter inherited that fighting spirit and it seems her great-granddaughter has too.
22 May, 2009
Posted by J-scribe at 5:40 pm