Thursday, 19 April 2012

Information Overload

Our first antenatal visit we got introduced to our case worker who would organise everything relating to my pregnancy. She was a happy and bright person. We had normal first antenatal meeting with the midwife, family history, type of birth, it was quite fun and I felt normal and was treated so. I also got the mother to be bag of goodies which was exciting. Then the scary bit came, another ultrasound, this was our first one at the Mother's hospital and the environment was quite different. It was quite a large waiting room full of pregnant women and children reading magazines and snacking, a fun past time for pregnant women.

I was called in and I must admit though the lady conducting the ultrasound was friendly she happened to be a student (I found out later) and after the ultrasound began she disappeared for a while making me extremely anxious and close to tears. She would come back and say I just need another opinion and immediately I was taken back to the first ultrasound I had in our home town. Fear was rapidly engulfing me and my other half is trying to calm me. Eventually, she came back in with a man who started to go through that the baby has spina bifida and a lemon shaped head which is most common with arnold chiari malformation and how they were concerned about hydrocephalus developing. He just went on and on and it was all too much. Then I realised why he making his point so hard and it was because he wanted me to have amniocentesis .

Amniocentesis is a procedure used to diagnose fetal defects in the early second trimester of pregnancy. A sample of the amniotic fluid, which surrounds a fetus in the womb, is collected through a pregnant woman's abdomen using a needle and syringe. Tests performed on fetal cells found in the sample can reveal the presence of many types of genetic disorders, thus allowing doctors and prospective parents to make important decisions about early treatment and intervention.

I understood the reasoning behind this procedure but it wasn't going to change my decision in keeping the baby and I think that is what the point was without them saying it. I remember he was such a hard doctor and no bed side manner at all. I think there comes a point when a doctor needs to decide how much information we needed to hear and then give us the opportunity to ask for more information. Instead of forcing all these thoughts in my mind. For me I just needed to know what to get through to the birth not all these what ifs. We decided no was the answer for the amniocentesis but that didn't stop them for pressuring us right up to the birth. After the ultrasound I was frazzled, the case worker had finished early so we were sort of just left with this information and struggling to process it.

We spoke to a kindly obstetrician and he said that I should have a c-section when the time comes. I was to be checked each fortnight at our local hospital and come to the Mother's for checks once a month. I explained that the local hospital didn't want anything to do with me as the pregnancy was too complicated for them and he said he would take care of that. And he did take care of it. We got a phone call on the way home from the local hospital asking us about what appointment times suited as they had received a phone call from the other hospital telling them that they would be sharing the care for antenatal appointments.

The day was long and we barely got to eat with so many appointments, though overall the experience was a positive one we were left with many questions that I know I didn't want answered just yet and so many possibilities. My brain had so much information cycling through it. We just sat in silence on the way home. I remember we were listening to Sons of Korah and the song that was playing was Psalms 139, the tears ran down my face but at the same time I felt it was all in God's hands and he was taking care of it all and even though I felt like I was in a dark place he would be the light. This was the first of many times I felt in a very dark and lonely place. And so finding normality within my pregnancy, planning the arrival of our little one, with the news of what I had to face in the coming months, returning to work, meeting with friends and my pregnant friends I wondered how I was going to find this normality.

But really what is normality?

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