Week 36: pre-eclampsia. medical trials, a giant baby and a face plant in the street
|The (not so) Mini Egg|
It's been a rather eventful week and I had Monday off work! As Mr H and I
We arrived at the Harris Birthright Centre excited to see our little mini egg on screen once again. However, it transpires the "little" mini egg isn't quite so little, measuring 7lbs already at 35 weeks and 5 days putting them love the 90th percentile... wonderful 😳😳😳
|Left picture: Tuesday 30th Jul, left picture Sunday 4th August... mini egg is growing at a rate of knots and dropping pretty quickly too!|
We were told that we would be booked in for another scan at 38 weeks to assess the size of the mini egg as, if he/she continues on their current trajectory, or more, then the likelihood is I'll be booked in for an early induction. Not quite what we'd had planned but I realise we have to do what is best for the Mini Egg and given they put on an average of 0.5lbs per week, which would mean the alien is at least 9lbs at 40 weeks, I think an early induction could be best for all involved.
So that was the first piece of mildly stressful, although deal-able with news. As Kings is one of the leading foetal medical research centres in the world, you are offered the opportunity to help with research which usually means you have a few extra blood and urine tests done than normal and nothing else comes from it. So when I was asked if they could take my blood to help with their pre-eclampsia screening I agreed straight away - what's the point in benefiting from other people's willingness to take part in research if I'm not willing to do it myself.
My blood pressure has always erred on the higher side of normal during pregnancy but not above the worrying threshold, that was until this week when my BP was 145/80 (140 is the "high" threshold) however it was really warm so I didn't think anything of it. The trainees took my bloods and told me they'd be back with us in just over an hour.
An hour later we were met by a Dr at which point I thought maybe something was up. From a combination of my blood pressure, urine samples and hormone levels in my blood tests I have been identified as at a very high risk of developing pre-eclampsia. The national average is that 1 in 33 women will develop the condition, my likelihood is 1 in 6. Brilliant. I'm not going to lie I was rather panicked, pre-eclampsia as a term still has so many negative connotations and whilst I know Kings is one of the best place hospitals in the world to look after me if I develop the condition it's still a complication I would have rather avoided.
Having been identified as high risk, I was asked if I would take part in a current trial they are running. They believe that by using a very low dose of a particular type of statin (Pravastatin - which doesn't pass through the placenta) they can control the hormones responsible for pre-eclampsia and therefore ultimately prevent women identified as high risk from developing the condition. However, as this is a trial, 50% of women are given the statin and 50% are given a placebo with no one knowing which you're on until the end of the trial.
I really struggled to decide whether to take part. Part of me didn't need to think twice especially if it meant I was one of the 50% who ended up on the statin and therefore would, in theory, be far less likely to develop pre-eclampsia. The other half of me panicked that this is such a new trial, could they be 100% certain that there was no risk to the baby?! I did what I always do when it comes to anything medical and called my Dad (who has been a consultant for 26 years). He ran through the trial with me before speaking to a number of his colleague who after much discussion agreed that the pro's outweighed the cons and therefore they thought that, as long as I was happy and comfortable, I should take part in the trial.
The Dr coordinating the trial called me that evening to see how I was and I told him I'd like to go ahead with the trial. He was fantastic and arranged for me to meet with him and his colleagues the following evening after work to sign the paper work and pick up the pills. They also took an additional scan of both mine and mini eggs hearts to see if there is any link there to pre-eclampsia (I was relieved to be told we both apparently have very good hearts) and an additional ultra sound of my eyes to look at the blood flow through the arteries to the brain (this one felt a little weird!).
I've now started on the tablets which are HUGE, I am monitored once a week now either by my midwife or the research team to make sure my BP isn't exceeding the 140 threshold and that I'm not having any other pre-eclampsia symptoms. I also decided that as much as I hated to admit it, Mr H was right and I should give up work early so my last day was pulled forward by a week, a decision also supported by my midwife so I think it was probably the right thing to do.
After an already eventful week I had my last day at work on Thursday, all was going well - I'd gone through my handover with my maternity cover and I'd managed to only cry once when our lovely cleaners told me they'd bought me a present. It got to 1pm and off I went with two colleagues to pick up some lunch, we'd got about 100 meters from the office when I face planted in the middle of the street. I've still go no idea what happened (probably fell over my giant swollen troll feet) but I landed fairly heavily on my front and therefore bumped the bump. The only saving grace was that I'd put some shorts on under my dress that morning because otherwise the whole world would have seen my bum.. mortifying. I was pretty shaken and called the Maternity Assessment Unit who told me I had to go in to be monitored. So there is was, my last day of work for nearly a year cut short because I can't even walk down a street properly and to top it all off I really wrenched my pelvis which took the SPD pain to a whole new level.
My colleagues bundled me into an uber and off I went to Kings, I arrived at the MAU as instructed and hobbled slowly in only to be told that actually they were closing early and I had to go to Labour Ward instead which is in a completely different part of the hospital. At this point I started to cry thinking about how far the walk was an how much pain I was in.... the receptionists advise when she saw I was struggling to walk? "Oh you look like you're really struggling, just walk slowly"... helpful! By the time I got to Labour ward I was so wound up I was in floods of tears, worried about the Mini Egg and in a lot of pain with my pelvis.
Luckily the staff at the Labour Wars were amazing, they had me strapped to a monitor in no time and thankfully the Mini Egg is all ok, having not moved at all in the two hours after the fall (which is unusual) he/she was soon playing target practice with the dopplers attached to my tummy... typical!
I hate complaining about problems in pregnancy, I feel so lucky that we conceived so quickly and that we are expecting a healthy baby in just a few weeks time it's just this week was a hard one. But it's Sunday which means we can draw a line under this week and move on and we're a week closer to meeting our little one! Mr H, the Midwives, Drs and my parents have all told me I have to slow down now and rest, something I'm not very good at at all(!), so I'm hoping to use this downtime to get writing so I have lots of posts for you all when the Mini Egg first arrives!