Monthly Archives: August 2013

Anomaly scan and 18week update

Earlier this week, we had our anomaly scan. The scan is usually done 18-20 weeks. We got it done earlier (at 18weeks) than later because we wanted to make sure all was ok with the baby and DH was travelling for about 10 days so we thought closer to 20weeks might be a bit too late.

For those, who don’t know what it is or haven’t had one, it’s the mid-pregnancy scan that thoroughly checks the baby’s anatomy for any abnormalities. It examines each organ in detail and dates the growth and development of each organ…(honestly, I didn’t know that until we got the report!) I will admit that I was a bit nervous as the scan date approached and even had a minor breakdown the day before. DH couldn’t stop laughing and blamed it on my hormones!

We reached the diagnostic centre and fortunately didn’t have a long wait. The sonographer remembered me from my 12week scan, which was a bit comforting. While she seemed quite nice and interactive, once she got started, she turned the monitor away from me and didn’t talk much. The scan took about 40 minutes as the baby kept moving and the sonographer had to press real hard at times to get a proper image. Lucky for DH – he got to see our little one for a full 40 minutes! For me, I kept trying to make sense out the expressions the sonographer and DH were making…long faces, sighs, squinting eyes at times. One of those times when I looked at DH, he signalled saying all looked fine. For me that didn’t offer much comfort or relief because he was looking at something like this for the first time himself…how would he know anyway!

Anyway, yes, all is fine with our not so little bun…well almost fine but will get to that later. Our little one measured between 18weeks and 19weeks for all the different body parts. After the she was through, the sonographer showed us all the body parts one after the other. From the top – the head, the brain, the spine which sparkled like a jewelled necklace, the heart (even the four ventricles!), the kidneys, the bladder which was full indicating its functioning well, the hands, and the feet (which were super cute and moving around). We heard the heart beat again…the most beautiful sound for me. Each time I think about that sound, I get overwhelmed and it brings tears to my eyes. Never imagined there would come a day when we would get to hear that sound.

Many couples are able to find out the baby’s gender around this time (or during this scan if the baby is in the right position). For us, that wasn’t an option. India has a high rate of prenatal sex determination and female infanticide so the government has banned sex/gender determination though it is still carried on widely illegally. Unfortunately, this happens not only in the rural people who lack education but also occurs in urban educated people who prefer the ‘male’ child to carry on the family legacy. At this point, I want to know the gender of the baby from a convenience point of view but DH doesn’t. Our history with losses and fertility issues has taken away the ‘need’ to have that element of surprise when the baby is born. Well, since it is not even option for us…no point going on about this.

Now to the not so completely fine bit – it seems my placenta is in the anterior position but still low-lying (small bummer!) I’ve been told to take it easy – no stress, limited road travel and no getting out of the city just in case…so good-bye babymoon! Looking at the big picture, I just want the baby to be safe and won’t harp on what I can’t do or what I thought I’d be able to in the second trimester too much.

Speaking of second trimesters – I started iron and calcium supplements at around 13weeks. I really struggled with the iron ones which made me sick and throw up every other day. Dr. N said that they take some adjusting so I should continue despite the throwing up. However, this week during our visit I insisted on trying an alternative. Dr. N suggested two smaller doses of iron (instead of one big dose) and another calcium supplement in the middle of the day. For those who are on supplements ensure that (1) you don’t take iron and calcium together (2) take the iron supplement with vitamin C…like a glass of orange juice, it helps keep the supplement down and increases iron absorption).

Other than that, I’m doing much better pregnancy symptom-wise.

  • Nausea: Practically gone. I have been afraid to say this out loud thinking it will show up when I least expect it!
  • Appetite: It’s back! (hurray!) I have finally started putting on some weight
  • Food cravings: None! Though I definitely know what I want to eat and not eat. Still loving outside food more than home cooked food
  • Smells: More tolerant towards stronger smells but some occasionally still put me off!
  • Gas: The less said the better…but it is my number 1 symptom right now keeping me up through the night at times!

Finally – baby movements/kicks. Honestly, not sure if I felt them yet. Last week, I thought it was the baby but turned out to be gas …and something happened again yesterday…but I’m guessing it was gas again! (sorry TMI!) I am not going to stress about it though – I will feel them when the time is right. Until then, will post next when I have something more important than just a pregnancy update.


My fellow infertility bloggers

I’ve been away from the blogging the past few weeks but not away from the community. Reading updates from fellow bloggers brought about gamut of emotions over the past two weeks. When we embarked on the IVF journey and started blogging, I made new friends…women I could relate to almost immediately without ever meeting them or knowing their real names. At times, it wasn’t even necessary to see their ‘My Story’. We were all on the same wild ride of physical and mental emotions that infertility brings to you.

Some of us went on to becoming pregnant, some fell pregnant and but lost their little ones along the way and some regain strength and move on to trying again after failed or cancelled cycles. While I feel fortunate for having come this far along in our pregnancy, my heart aches for fellow bloggers who are either not out of the woods or have/are dealing with loss in pregnancy. I don’t always respond to posts, but always have them in my thoughts and pray for their well-being. I thought I was brave but all these women (barrenbetty, manju, ecutri, IVFfervescent, missyCC, becky to name a few) have redefined bravery and courage for me.

Addition after publishing this post:

NewtoIVF, I knew I was missing someone important on my list. Sorry about that and hope you are doing better.

Choosing the right hospital in Mumbai

DH and I have reached a stage where we need to decide which hospital we’d like to register with to have our baby in January next year. Dr.N offers to continue being my doctor and deliver the baby but he only operates at Breach Candy Hospital in South Mumbai – a good 1.5hr-2.0hr journey for me in peak traffic (not to mention the bumpy roads!!). So while our delivery is most likely to be an elective c-section where we’ll know the date and check ourselves into the hospital before I go into labour, we need a back-up close to home hospital in case of an emergency.

This brings me to our third ectopic pregnancy in June 2012 when I got treated at the closest hospital to home – Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital (KDAH). For many who are familiar with Mumbai and medical services here might wonder why I wouldn’t want to go to a hospital that is considered ‘amongst the best hospitals in Mumbai’ and which is only 15 mins away from home.

Well, here’s why…

This is an unedited version of a journal entry I made last year after I got discharged from KDAH:

Our third ectopic pregnancy: June 2012

On Fri 01-Jun AM, got a BFP in our second month of trying. I was about 4w then and had what started as mild spotting in the afternoon to some bleeding. 

On Sat 02-Jun AM, I was ready to head out for my first blood draw and had shooting pain on my right side for about two hours followed by some bleeding.

– Blood draws showed HcG at 427 and the scan showed a bulge on my right tube suggesting an ectopic. However, it was very difficult to see anything else on the scan because I was having some bleeding behind my uterus (yes at 4 weeks!)

– The doc was really concerned about the fluid /bleeding behind the uterus (she thought my body was aborting the pregnancy) and wanted to keep me under observation at the hospital just in case something were to go wrong. This really threw me off guard as I thought at just 4weeks we do a blood draw and just head home! So we start the procedure to check into the hospital etc etc.

– The next thing I know I’m being put on IV and have been told not to eat. DH and I get really concerned thinking maybe they not telling us something and have plans to put me in the operation theatre (OT). I checked with the registrar and she insisted that this was all precautionary given my history. 

– The evening went fine. They let me eat a bit and said they’ll do another blood draw in the morning to get an indication of what’s going on and in all likelyhood discharge me. 

On Sun 3-Jun AM, they do another blood draw. DH and I by now are trying to come to terms with my 3rd EP and the doc comes in the afternoon with an HcG number of 23,000! We were stumped and didn’t know what was going on. This only meant that one of my two results was wrong and the lab had made a gross error. Given the findings of my scan, the doc had reason to believe that the HcG of 23,000 was correct and I must be around 8weeks instead of 4weeks. She was giving instructions to get me into an OT to remove my tube before my vitals started going down. I had come to terms with removing my only tube, but in this manner when all the numbers didn’t make any sense just didn’t feel right. 

My mind was going all over the place – there was no way that I had been pregnant for 8 weeks and not known it! Even if I was 8 weeks and my levels were 23,000 – why didn’t they see a sac anywhere?!?! The doc had no response to that – she suggested we do one more blood draw and just go by those figures and dismiss what we have seen so far. 

For me by now I lost all faith in anything they said to me – I didn’t know what to believe and what not to believe. DH suggested that we check the lab results against an outside lab and not KDAH (which fortunately was possible to do). After a gruelling afternoon, we finally got our results back and HcG levels had dropped to 297! (which means that the 23,000 was all wrong and they mixed my results with someone else!). Thankfully, they discharged me and we were able to come home in the evening.

My levels are hopefully dropping now and the body is aborting the pregnancy. My right (and only) tube is no good after going through two EPs so we will have to think about removing that tube once this is all settled – but in our own time when I am mentally ready. Our only way to try to have a baby now is IVF – something I’m not mentally ready for yet. 

Honestly, this wasn’t even the worst part about KDAH. We accepted that they’d made a mistake and wanted to move on. However, when we came to collect some post-discharge papers a couple of days later, they changed the numbers on my HcG results, the timings of the blood draws and even refused to share my results with me stating that ‘It was the hospital’s property and not mine’. The way they treated DH and me on that day was despicable and for that reason I hope I never have to go back to KDAH ever again…I just simply don’t trust them. We did manage to get the reports eventually, some true, some not so true…but it didn’t matter by then.

The reason I am posting this after over a year is because I don’t want the hospital to take advantage of another innocent couple who might not be as ‘aware’ as DH and I and chose to put their full faith in their doctor without asking any questions. Taking on-board other opinions as to what happened, there is a serious doubt whether my third pregnancy was an ectopic or a chemical pregnancy! Also, the doctor at KDAH strongly believed that if I ever wanted to have a child even through IVF, removing my only tube was the first step….yet…I am 15weeks pregnant today without removing my non-functional right tube! (Thanks Dr.N!)