35 + 1

Everything was normal. Well, as normal as “everything” can be: I’d had all of the unusual symptoms and most of the usual ones, been incredibly sick, was getting bigger and baby was measuring perfectly and moving around an impressive amount.

Everything was normal. All three scans showed a perfect baby girl. All my blood tests were fine apart from a vitamin D deficiency early on followed by low iron later. I was low risk for everything.

Everything was normal. I’d had my whooping cough booster but because I’d already had the flu at 24 weeks, the flu shot was redundant.

Everything was normal.

Until it wasn’t.

At 35 + 1 weeks, it wasn’t.

My beautiful, “normal” bubble was burst and I had to embrace a new “normal”.

It was my final ultrasound – non-routine due to having fibroids and a large ovarian cyst. At 35+1 they wanted to check that the fibroids were not in a position to compromise a vaginal birth. I still don’t know whether they’re in a safe position. We didn’t get to that. After the ultrasound was finished, I was told that the doctor would see me at 11am the same day to discuss the results. The sonographer made it sound normal and I had no clue of the tornado which was about to destroy my safe little house.

At 10:50am, I returned to the hospital to meet the doctor. As I walked from my car to the door, I received a phone call from a number I didn’t recognise. I answered and the caller introduced herself as Midwife Kate from foetal medicine. I assumed she was from the hospital and I was prepared to tell her that I was on my way up to see the doctor.

She asked if I was expecting her call which threw me so I asked where she was calling from. She told me the name of another hospital and told me that I had been referred to them.

I paused.

“I’ve got your referral in front of me. They found fluid on your baby’s brain during your ultrasound this morning so they want us to check you and your baby.”

After that, the order of events is a bit messy. I remember hearing “11.7 mm”, “Breathe”, “I’m sure it’s nothing”, “Breathe”, “Just precautionary” and “Breathe”.

I was crying before I even got off the phone. People stared at me as I made my way through the main entrance and up the stairs to the maternity ward. People stared as I called my husband crying to tell him what was happening. People stared as I made my way back downstairs to reception to find out exactly how to locate this doctor.

My tear-stained cheeks earned me sympathetic smiles and concerned looks as I rushed back up to maternity, buzzed through and asked for the doctor. The nurse hurried me into the waiting room where I sat with two couples who both avoided meeting my glances and obviously felt uncomfortable being confronted with sadness while they were being monitored in early stages of labor.

A different nurse entered moments later to shuffle me into a consultation room so that I could wait alone.

And I waited for another half an hour.


Finally a sweet, softly-spoken doctor entered and told me I was being referred to the other hospital. She told me that there was extra fluid in one ventricle in my baby’s brain enlarging it slightly. 11.7mm is considered within the “mild” range. She went on to explain that all babies hearts have holes as they develop but these usually close before birth. My baby has a hole and some swelling in her heart. I was being sent for tests. She couldn’t tell me anything else and did not want to speculate on what any of this means until the tests had been done.

“Do you have any questions?”

What a loaded question that was.

Yes. Hundreds. Possibly thousands.

“I don’t suppose that you’ll be able to answer any of them accurately until we know the results, will you?” Was what actually fell from my mouth.

“Unfortunately, no. This may be nothing. It may be something. I just can’t tell you. The doctor you’re going to see is excellent and will find those answers for you.”

“Ok. Well, thank you, doctor.”

I wished her a good day and left. I called Midwife Kate. She was very reassuring and said that she is sure it’s bugger all but that I was in the best hands.

At the end of the day, that’s all I can ask for, isn’t it?


#ventriculomegaly #septaldisorder #inutero #normal #phoenixbaby #35weekspregnant

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