Well, as I said to Lynda our Doula, what a difference a morning makes! We had our 20 week ultrasound scan on Thursday (27/09/2012). I walked in so excited to see our baby and to hear that everything going along the normal lines and there were no problems. I was sure this was going to be the outcome as I had been feeling so great. Since first feeling bub move I had been feeling more and more connected to our baby. I often find myself smiling when I feel a move and things that go bump in the night has taken on a delightful new meaning. Anyway, back to where we were… in the ultrasound room, staring at the monitor waiting for the words, ‘Here is your baby!’
The radiographer spent an unusual amount of time looking at my placenta. I don’t know what clues he gave away that let me know something wasn’t right – he was very discreet – but still I knew he was looking into something. Soon enough I asked,
‘Is the placenta in the right spot?’
I know enough to understand this is one of the biggest worries with placenta attachment. He replied non-commitally about doing thorough checks before we look at baby, or something along those lines. I was a bit worried now but still sure that it was nothing. We waited patiently until he was finished and then he started to point out features of our baby. We got to see a tiny face and hands and feet and belly, all wriggling around delightfully. I hate to admit it, but for me the moment was stolen somewhat by the clinical start of the scan. We were looking at our baby but there was no ‘wow’ moment. It was nice of course, but it was more about organs and measures and progressions that had to be checked, rather than feeling the connection to baby that I had imagined it would be. Don’t get me wrong I am shopping the ultrasound photos around just as much as any proud new Mum and I did love seeing the little one wriggle around.
What we found out was that I have a bilobed placenta, succenturiate to be exact. This means that there is a main part of the placenta and a smaller part attached by blood vessels. Now this is fairly uncommon but not too much to worry about – I know his now, but I will go back to the time in the ultrasound room and the first realisation.
We were reassured that the baby, was happy and healthy and this, of course, was our main concern. Thankfully the radiographer was quick to point this out (I guess that’s why he had to measure everything before mentioning about the odd shaped placenta). This should continue for the rest of the pregnancy, we were told.
Secondly, good news for us – the vessels are clear of the cervix. Finding this out provided much amusement to us as bub was head down in the cervix area, and VERY stubbornly not moving. Much convincing, waiting, emptying bladder, gentle prodding, and more waiting could not move the little one out of their spot. I’ll admit I can be stubborn at times and it looks like the baby may have taken on this trait!
As the radiographer left the room Todd and I looked to each other. ‘I guess that means no home birth.’
‘Yep.’ He agreed.
‘And maybe not low-risk?’
‘Yep.’ He agreed again, resigned.
To me there it was, staring us in the face. Our home birth dream gone in a minute. Leaving the scan I took Todd away for a minute and confided how devastated I was. I never even realised how much I had been dreaming of and envisioning this event, until it was not able to be. Todd put his arm around me and kissed my head. ‘At the end of the day we are going to have a baby. That is the main thing. We just go to plan C.’
He always has a way of making me smile and see the light when I feel down.
I spent all afternoon, trying not to think about the birth pool on the deck or labouring in our dark bedroom. About bringing our baby into our home. Holding him or her up to the world and cuddling them into our lives and our home that we have worked to hard to build as a foundation of our love.
I struggled with concepts of not being in this wonderful group that valued home birth, natural birth, nurturing birth and the growth of women through positive birth. It again was Todd that reminded me – just because we may not be physically able to be at home does not mean our ideas change. How simple he makes things. I was racking my mind for ideas on how to make the hospital feel homely, comfortable. Would they laugh at my ‘trust’ tile from Kristy which I have already planned to have in sight. Or my affirmations, or any of the other things that I have been planning and that I think important to me?
We are having a healthy baby, we have to make smart decisions I told myself. It is not about a pool on the deck it is about a healthy Mum and Bub. I somehow could not convince myself to let it go.
Since then I have Googled, read, talked to obstetricians, midwives and of course our Doula. I have discovered that this does not necessarily take us out of the low-risk group. The bilobed placenta does not automatically shoot us into the highest level of care. By all accounts there may be a slight increased risk of retained placenta, but now that we (and the future midwife or team) is aware of it, it should not be a problem. If anything it makes me more determined to birth naturally, to utilise all my natural hormonal drives of oxytocin, endorphins and adrenalines to complete the birth (including third stage) with no intervention.
Just yesterday we decided to have plan A and B in play. Plan B is low-intervention hospital and at this stage, that looks like the most feasible option. It has a natural childbirth philosophy and it encourages active labour. We will labour at home for as long as comfortable, on our own and then with Lynda. When it is time we will transfer for the birth and aftercare. I will attend here for my antenatal care, coupled with of course Lynda, yoga, massage and hypnobirthing. I am comfortable with this. I really am ok with it, if this is how it has to be. I will still do all that I can to make it my birth, as I want it, and I know Todd and Lynda will be there having my back in an instant.
Plan A, maybe a pipe dream… A wonderful, experienced, insightful midwife comes to the area and is happy to attend our home birth. The weather is not promising a cyclone and the roads are clear! You never know though… maybe that is the way it is meant to work out!
I am in two minds about the scan. I am of course glad we know, and are aware of the placenta thing. But I left feeling so down afterwards. I can only imagine the feelings that mothers have to deal with when they have ‘scares’ on ultrasounds.
I am revelling today in feeling my baby, and connecting internally, rather than through a monitor. This is the true connection. Laughing with Todd that the baby is rocking out to his metal music.