Well, I'm not going to lie. I'm 33 weeks pregnant and this week has been an absolute shocker. I think my personal low point came at around 1am one night when I lay in bed whimpering to Oli: 'I thought I was a strong person. I want to be a strong person! Why am I not feeling strong?!'
All had been going quite well really, as my chirpy 32 week update will attest, but then I had my 32 week check up with my GP. My urine was fine, the heartbeat was fine, my blood pressure was up slightly but not terribly, but then the doctor measured my bump. It measured 27cm - the same as it did four weeks ago. Now, I know that fundal heights are pretty unreliable, and that anything within a 2cm range is OK, but measuring 27cm meant not only that my bump was 5cm too small for my dates (bump size should measure the same in cm as you are number of weeks pregnant) but more importantly, that it hadn't grown at all for a month. This is referred to as 'static growth'. An oxymoron, but whatever.
The GP told me that I had to go and have another growth scan first thing the next day (unfortunately my appointment with her was last thing, and the scanning unit was shut). Cue a rather sleepless night, then we rocked up the next day to a full waiting room of nervous pregnant ladies. I gave the receptionist the letter from my GP referring us, then we took a seat, expecting to be there for hours. But within about three minutes my name was called - never a good sign!
We went off to be scanned, mostly hoping to be told everything was fine to be honest - and that my bump was small because of my long body, as it had been last time. But unfortunately Chip's growth has slowed right down. She had been measuring on the 50th percentile for growth, but now she was only measuring on the 5-10th. An official verdict was announced - Chip is 'small for gestational age', with all the complications this involves. She's also very firmly in a transverse breech position...
The sonographer tried not to worry us but did impress on me the importance of keeping an eye on her movements, and if they seem to lessen at any time, to come straight to the hospital. I've been a nervous wreck ever since. I also have a placenta at the front, which means I never see her kick really, I just feel rolls and thuds inside my tummy. My days now consist of large portions of time spent lying on my side and playing her music, just to make sure I feel ten movements within an hour. It's stressful.
I've cried a LOT - late at night, in the M&S sweets aisle, while watching TV... poor Oli. My other method for dealing with this situation is to try to get as much organised as possible - hence we've picked up the buggy, cot and car seat, and I've washed all her clothes and packed my hospital bag, just in case I have to go in early. That has given me something nice to focus on, and has made me feel more and more excited to meet her. Here was the car after our trip to the A3 Baby Barn...
Not only do we need a bigger flat, we need a bigger car!
We have another scan at St George's next Thursday, but in the meantime I also booked a private scan for tomorrow at the Fetal Medicine Centre. There's so much I want to ask and I just wasn't really in the right state of mind last week. I am aware that if the issue with my placenta means that she's not getting enough nutrients etc, the best thing is probably to have her early but the sonographer wouldn't suggest that until she's compared her growth over two weeks. But I am also terrifyingly aware that I'm now at a much higher risk of stillbirth - hence my 1am whimpers.
If it was up to me, quite frankly, I'd whip her out right now. I really want her to just be here and safe, and I'm so afraid of my body letting her down. It's been very difficult to hold it together in general really - it's a kind of low-level anxiety that's ALWAYS there at the moment - is she moving enough? is she OK? what is going ON inside me?
The only nice bit about last week's scan actually was seeing that she has a full head of hair! That did make me sniffle a bit. (and also, the perverse side of me couldn't help thinking, why is she growing completely unnecessary hair when she needs to put on weight and grow her head and tummy instead!?)
What's interesting too is that I actually am really lucky. If my hospital didn't do doppler scans as standard (many hospitals don't) I would never have found out about the issue with my uterine artery resistance. In my many google sessions this week, I came across this Panorama documentary from the BBC about this very issue, and about how many stillbirths could be prevented. It's worth a watch, if you're pregnant or concerned about your baby's movements. Really, the thing I've learnt from this experience is that keeping an eye on how much your baby moves is absolutely bloody critical.
Anyway, I'll probably do another update after my scan tomorrow. I'm praying for good news. I'm eating like an absolute pig and I've put on 2 lbs in six days, which I'm hoping is a good sign. My bump feels bigger to me, so I'm keeping everything crossed for a growth spurt. Come on Chip, you can do it!