Half way : our pregnancy so far...
We’ve made it to 20 weeks pregnant and what an amazing ride! This blog will share the ups and downs of our pregnancy so far. While it has been the most exhilarating and gratifying time of our lives, it hasn’t been without worry (of course – I can’t do anything the easy way!) My previous blog mentioned briefly that I have a double uterus and experienced some early pregnancy bleeding, which is what I will touch on today. Be prepared to be educated!
When we were referred to Repromed, I had a gynaecological ultrasound to determine any possible cause of our infertility. This is where I was first diagnosed with an ‘abnormal’ uterus, but to what extent they were unsure. Guys if you are reading, I’m sorry in advance for the cringe worthy ‘lady bits’ talk – skip ahead if you wish! When I miscarried, the sonographer (just minutes after telling us our baby’s heart had stopped beating) asked me if I had two vaginas….excuse me…what?* I promptly replied no, to which she said she was seeing two separate uteri. One bit of information at a time right?! She advised us that we would certainly get more information from our treating doctor, and at the time I was more focused on grieving our loss. A few days later, the doctor who performed the operation to remove our baby, found that I had a bicornuate, or heart-shaped, uterus. There are varying degrees of this abnormality, but in my case it was severe. My uterus has a septum down the middle (almost completely to my cervix) which separates it into two ‘horns’. Whether or not this caused our infertility is unknown, but it does increase the risk of complications during pregnancy. I was told this may or may not have caused our miscarriage, as the left side where our baby was implanted looked less viable. At this point I knew our chances of conceiving were slim, and now I had to accept that our chances of miscarriage were also high.
When we conceived the cycle after our miscarriage, we were filled with a mix of excitement and caution. Going to our ‘dating’ scan at Repromed at about 6 weeks was daunting– last time we were in ‘that’ room, we were shattered beyond belief. But this time was a completely different experience – the egg had implanted in the right horn (bonus!) and we even heard its heart beating away strongly. Repromed quickly got me out their doors and referred me to my GP for the continuation of my pregnancy (yeah don’t worry about the whole uterus problem – we’ll manage!) Since then, I have been treated by (the ‘adelaide hills famous’ obstetrician) Dr Klomp, he’s legendarily peculiar but thank god he knows his stuff!
I had very light spotting for the first few weeks of my pregnancy which was purely a ‘wait and see’ – the most apprehensive and gut-wrenching (and slowest) few weeks of my life, but there was nothing more we could do. At 10 weeks, I had an episode of heavy, bright bleeding – I was convinced I was losing our baby. It is impossible to describe how soul destroying this is without living it first-hand. As a nurse, I am normally giving reassurance to Mum’s who are experiencing a threatened miscarriage. But on a personal level, it is impossible to feel calm, and no amount of comfort could put my mind at ease – such an eye opening experience! I mean let’s be honest; all I wanted and needed was to hear our baby’s heart beat. I have since discovered that bleeding throughout pregnancy is also more common with an abnormal uterus, but thankfully I haven’t experienced any since 10 weeks.
Our pregnancy has been classified as ‘high risk’ and we are therefore being monitored more closely. I have so far been seeing Dr Klomp every few weeks in addition to the formal pregnancy ultrasounds at 12 and 20 weeks. I have been informed of the main risks associated with a bicornuate uterus, which has made me an expert on my weird anatomy! Despite a lot of googling, it was hard to find personal accounts of people’s pregnancy experiences in these cases (apart from forums which are a scream for guarantees we can’t make!) I guess the way I have explained it to those who have asked is this (in simple terms): I have half the room to grow my baby – it’s like having twins in one uterus, and the risks are similar. There is increased risk of second trimester miscarriage due to cervical insufficiency, and pre-term birth due to space constraints. The limited room for bubs to flip increases the chance of malpresentation (breech birth or transverse presentation), which therefore increases the likelihood of a caesarean section. Apparently (don’t quote me on any of this!) a bicornuate uterus has been linked to recurrent pregnancy loss and infant deformity – but don’t ask me why!
Thankfully, I have a huge amount of confidence in our obstetrician; we are well prepared for any hiccups; we have a very good plan of action for all possible circumstances; and we have a huge support network around us, mainly each other. The next blog won’t be long away and I will mainly talk about our, let’s call it ‘interesting’, experience at our 20 week ultrasound, along with how we found out the gender of our bubs and our recent babymoon to tropical north queensland.
Lastly, I want to promise you all that I AM enjoying pregnancy – there is no greater feeling than seeing your little human on that screen kicking and wriggling about, and remembering that you made this – he is yours and is a part of you. The smile it brings to my face each and every day when I can feel our little man moving, growing and thriving inside my tummy is nothing short of miraculous, and the emotion attached to this is something I hope I’ll never forget. It is something I can’t describe in words, and I’m eternally grateful for what I have endured to experience this joy – our little man will surely be loved.