Monday, 3 November 2008

The P List - Medically Speaking

32 weeks in, what a blessing, especially when one considers I didn't think we'd both make it this far!

I was convinced that if the hyperemesis didn't kill me, surely the antibodies would get you! Yet here you are, hiccupping away behind my navel and using my bladder as your stress ball (much to my annoyance).

We've had a tough time haven't we little one? And although we're not home free yet, (still so many weeks to go!), now seems as good a time as any to look back at what we've overcome and are enduring together.

1. Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Nonstop vomiting, constant nausea, rapid weight loss and severe motion sickness from 5 weeks. Some improvement at week 23, vomiting less frequent by week 30, starting to gain weight. Lost 1.5 stones in first 10 weeks. Stabilized with anti-emetic medication. Regained pre-pregnancy weight by week 28. Can keep down small breakfast (for a few hours anyway) and one other meal per day.

Impact: 6 weeks off work on bed rest; no long train/car journeys (at least not without sick bag), fear of roundabouts and speed humps hahha. Limited menu choices for what I can eat without vomitting; severe restriction on the frequency of meals per day.
Verdict: Overcome the worst but still ongoing.
Risk Factor: Low for baby; High for me (due to weight loss and dehydration)
HRHs Verdict: "How did someone so grossed out by vomit end up with someone so vomity?" and "Get off me, you're too heavy" (after previously complaining I was getting all hard and ribsy).
More Info:

2. Anti-K Red Cell Antibodies

The enduring consequence of a blood transfusion received after 1st pregnancy. Other causes include incompatibility with partner’s blood group but that’s not us – this is just the result of pure medical ‘error’. Diagnosed at 11 weeks. Must walk with medical warning card: never leave home without it! Risk of maternal blood cells attacking baby and causing severe anaemia, leading to Haemolytic disease of the newborn. Being monitored closely via fortnightly blood tests leave me looking like a heroin addict.

Impact: Won't know til Baby is born.
Verdict: Ongoing, dealing with it as blood results come in.
Risk Factor: High for baby; Low for me.
HRHs Verdict:: “Well I knew you didn’t get it from me!”
More Info:,

3. Irritable Uterus

From week 20, I started having PAINFUL contractions... and no I don't mean Braxton Hicks, I mean some honest-to-goodness real life PAINFUL contractions. These were irregular and lasted for 1 or 2 mins, interspersed with the 'normal' painless Braxton Hicks type tightenings. On average 8-10 times a day - sometimes much more, but definitely no less. Took a while to get the medical staff to take me seriously (they brushed me off saying my pain threshold must be low... stupse), ended up in hospital at 24 weeks with threatened premature labour! A few episodes of contracts coming <5 mins apart for just over an hour, before dropping back to irregular pattern. Some improvement since 30 weeks possibly due to increased hydration (less vomiting) and more rest (working from home).

Impact: Ongoing pain, concern re: preterm labour; hospital stay.
Verdict: Ongoing, but I’ve learned techniques to stop the contractions crippling me!
Risk Factor: Medium for baby (risk of premature labour); Low for me.
HRHs Verdict:: “Sumting always wrong wid you!”
More Info:

4. Blackouts, Fatigue and Breathlessness (Anaemia, Low Blood Pressure)

From Week 28, extreme dizziness and breathlessness; feeling faint… leading to pixelated vision and blackouts. Must walk slowly (or not at all); must rest frequently (or stay in bed), must lie down on landing for 5-10 mins after walking up stairs (otherwise will topple back down them). Diagnosed with anaemia which when coupled with pre-existing hypotension and large (long) baby crushing my diaphragm means my brain is receiving about 1/3rd the amount it needs and sometimes can’t cope. A good old faint will bring my head in line with my heart and make it easier to pump blood to it – thus restoring equilibrium and averting crisis. (Thanks to nice new doctor for that explanation).

Impact: Bumps and bruises from falls; breathlessness, fatigue, lapses in concentration; couldn't drive for a while.
Verdict: Under control (Overcome?) through medication.
Risk Factor: Medium for baby (risk of injury when I fall, post-natal anemia, preterm labour); Medium for me (risk of injury when I fall, preterm labour).
HRH's Verdict:: “I think you’d better bring forward your maternity leave…”
More Info:

And on the bright side...

We're still here, both of us, still fighting, still holding on, and to be honest I am well proud of that!

Also - despite missing the first sitting of my exams (because of all of the above), I passed both modules of my MSc this year - one with a 1st and the other with a high 2.1 (if only I could have concentrated for a lil bit longer lol).

I'm proud of this too because during both exams I had to take loo breaks and Baby Boy thought that it would be a good time to practice the moonwalk which make it ridiculously hard to concentrate! Yay Team Lily!

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