Firstly I would just like to apologise for the lateness of this post - but what a scary week this has been. We went to the midwife on Tuesday morning for my 25 week check, and my blood pressure was very high. All the other tests she did were fine but she was concerned about my blood pressure. She asked me to lie down in a dark room for half an hour and she checked it again and it was still high so she phoned the Borders General, where I will be giving birth, and they suggested that I go home for the rest of the day and have complete rest, then get it checked again in the morning.
I followed her orders, and on Wednesday morning it was still very high, so BGH said I should go up there for monitoring and that I should take an overnight bag just in case. I have a terrible fear of hospitals, so this did not go down well!
Off we went to the hospital, and I was put onto a monitor that measured my blood pressure every 5 minutes. I also had to have a blood test (another huge fear of mine!) - little did I know, this would be the first of many blood tests this week! The monitoring showed that my blood pressure was still very high but my blood tests came back normal. The doctor had a chat with us and decided to send me home, as she said it would be less stressful for me than having to stay in overnight. I definitely agreed with her on that one!
I had to see my own midwife at Berwick on Friday again for a blood pressure and urine check. She was meant to come out to the house, but there was a breakdown in communication somwhere between BGH and Berwick, and when nobody had turned up by early afternoon, I phoned and was asked to go in, as she didn't know she was supposed to come out! When she did my blood pressure it was still very high and by this time there was a trace of protein in my urine sample which is never a good sign. She felt and measured my stomach and listened to the heartbeat, and everything was absolutely fine there. Once again I was packed off to BGH because of my blood pressure but this time they said I wouldn't need an overnight bag...famous last words! I did get myself worked up into quite a state before leaving the maternity unit - just a fear of what was going on, what was going to happen when I got to BGH etc. The two midwives, Rixt and Lesley, were absolutely lovely and reassuring and provided me with tissues and hugs! My mum and dad had to take me up to BGH as Alan was at work.
On arrival at BGH I was put into a delivery room in the labour suite - eek! I was surprised at how lovely and calm it was in there, after weeks of tip-toeing past, pretending it did not exist! I saw a lovely midwife who hooked me up to a CTG monitor to listen to Baby B's heartbeat and I had a wee gadget to press every time I felt movement. The heartbeat was very regular and well within the rates that are normal for this stage and there was plenty movement. I had yet more blood tests and another urine sample, and this time the blood tests came back with "some markers" in them...we still don't know what this meant....and the urine sample had slightly more protein. As for the dreaded blood pressure - still high! By this point with the blood pressure and the trace of protein in the urine sample, they were starting to look at the possibility of pre-eclampsia.
While we waited to see the doctor we were allowed away for something to eat, then eventually about 8.30 a doctor came round and did all sorts of tests on me for my reflexes etc. She seemed happy with everything then a registrar came round and said they were admitting me!! I had absolutely nothing with me and was so stressed out at the thought of having to stay in hospital. Luckily I have a good friend who lives nearby and she went to the 24 hour Asda and bought me everything I'd need for overnight! There was nothing she didn't think of :)
I was admitted onto ward 17 where there was already one other person. More on her in a minute! Another two midwives came to see me and checked my blood pressure again and explained that there are actually things they can do for pre-eclampsia which was a relief, because from everything I'd read, I thought that the only possible option was delivery of the baby. I was told that I would be woken at 2am and 6am to have my blood pressure checked and was then left alone for the time being. After Alan left I felt sooo lonely and miserable!
I got pretty much no sleep that night, due to the strange environment, worry, noise, lights, blood pressure monitoring and most of all, Huffy Pufferson in the next bed! She spent all night sighing, huffing and puffing, wandering around, burping, sighing, rumbling around in the bed...and did I mention sighing? This was still going on in the morning when Alan came in so at least he could see what I had been bleating on about!
First thing in the morning they were back wanting to do more blood tests and blood pressure monitoring - great things to do together on a person who is scared of blood tests! We had a long hang on waiting for seeing the consultant and when he came round he really scared me. He felt my stomach and asked how far along I was, and when I said 26 weeks he looked worried and said the baby should be higher up for 26 weeks.
He whipped me off to do a quick scan, and told me that the baby was measuring 25 weeks instead of 26, that there was less amniotic fluid than there should be and less blood flow going to the baby than there should be. Of course all this really worried me but he wasn't really up for answering any questions and we got no information out of him. When we got home, my head was just buzzing with questions and I was still scared the next day so we decided to go up to the midwife at Berwick for a chat about all the questions we had. She answered the best she could but then said maybe we should go back up to BGH for a chat with some of the staff up there, and my blood pressure was still high so she wanted me to be monitored up there.
By the time we got up there and had been seen - more blood tests, more monitoring on the CTG for the baby's heartbeat and more blood pressure checks, it was all just starting to get too much for me and I ended up having a good howl in the toilets. I was just at the point where I was thinking I just could not take any more of this. I was also told they were keeping me in again and I really do have such a fear of staying in hospital. At least this time I'd taken a bag with me so I did have everything I'd need for an overnight stay. The midwives were so understanding and said I could have a side room this time if it made it easier for me, but as it happened there was no one else due on the ward that night so they said I could just stay there and they'd move me if anyone came in during the night.
They started me on blood pressure tablets on Sunday night and by bedtime my bp had gone down quite a bit but on Monday morning it was higher than ever, so they decided to double the dose. They also put me on a low daily dose of aspirin. I had a scan on Monday morning to check for the amniotic fluid and blood flow to the placenta and although it was very slightly reduced, the consultant (a much nicer one this time!) said that although the baby was slightly small, it wasn't absolutely tiny, but was what they'd expect for the size of a baby with a mum who had pre-eclampsia. The baby is currently weighing 1lb9oz.
The same friend who sorted me out with things for an overnight stay on Friday night came to sit with me all morning on Monday and went to the scan with me, as Alan was not able to be there till lunchtime. I was so glad she was there, as she was so supportive and asked loads of questions I'd not have thought to ask! She was also the one who noticed that the scanner machine actually shows the weight of the baby - the consultant said he'd been using that machine for a whole year and had never noticed that it told the weight!
The outcome of the scan was that the consultant will have to scan me every 1-2 days and he will need to make a decision when the time comes that the baby is safer and better out than in. He said it will definitely not make it to full term, and he would like to get me to 30 weeks if possible. That really scared me so much and once again I burst into tears when I came out of the scan. It was just such a shock after having such an easy pregnancy up till a week ago. The baby could come any time from now - I just so hope he or she hangs on in there for another few weeks.
They also decided to give me steroid injections into my hip, which hurt like crazy (and I can still hardly walk today!) - these are to help mature the baby's lungs ready for early delivery. Apparently they do make a huge difference. If the baby comes before 32 weeks I will have to be transferred to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary or Newcastle as they are more specialised for very premature babies. It just depends where there is a cot free. We would much rather have Edinburgh because it would be nice to be on familiar ground at a time like this, plus we have a friend who's a nurse in ERI who has said we can stay with her rather than trailing up and down every day for weeks and weeks. That's a big weight off our minds.
We were back up at BGH yesterday for another scan and more blood pressure checks and the good news is that my blood pressure had gone down dramatically, plus the scan showed no change at all since the day before which is a good thing. They gave me my second (and hopefully final) steroid injection which hurt more than the previous day's one! I am very glad that the sorer one was the second one, because I'd have been more worried about getting the second one had the first one hurt like that! They decided that I could wait 48 hours for my next check so we are back up there tomorrow. Fingers crossed things are still ticking along just the same. Every day that passes now is a bonus.
Today we went into my office to sort out my maternity leave etc and I'm now finished at work - I have holidays to take first then officially start maternity leave on 15th April. I did a short handover with a colleague so now I don't need to worry about any outstanding work that I might have sitting in my tray. It's nice to have one less thing to worry about.
I have also been advised to pack a hospital bag to put in the car for every time I go to an appointment, just in case they decided that the time has come to deliver the baby. The midwife said it doesn't necessarily mean that they think the baby is going to come immediately, but she said from a practical level it's good to have another thing ticked off my list and something else that I don't need to worry about. It felt all wrong being in Boots buying everything I needed when I should be doing that for another couple of months at least - it should be an exciting time but it just feels so sad and scary.
Alan has been absolutely amazing and I don't know what I'd do without him. He has managed to get this week as holidays and is looking after me so well. I am not allowed to lift a finger!
We are back up at BGH tomorrow and I will try my best to update again on Sunday as usual.