All Booked In

I had my booking appointment this morning. It was all the usual stuff – medical history, height, weight (their scales weighed me 4lbs later than my scales at home, yay! I like their scales), blood pressure, urine test (trace of ketones, boo) and blood tests. I had a very nice student midwife who is weeks away from qualifying. She told me she’s the oldest child of 9 and loves it when mums come in who have large families like mine. It is really lovely to see the progress being made in maternity care, for one thing they immediately gave me the number for contacting the Supervisor of Midwives should I have any problems. I remember in a previous pregnancy having to argue to get the number (though it was completely my right to have it and speak to her). They’ve provisionally booked me for a home delivery so let’s hope that baby plays ball this time and we have no issues with him staying breech. I also hope that Group B Strep doesn’t rear it’s ugly head again. They said they will do a vaginal swab at 36 weeks to check for it. I’m going to spend the next 26 weeks fervently crossing my fingers for the all clear. I would dearly love to finish my pregnancy journey at home as the boy and the Squishy one’s births were such lovely positive experiences. All that remains now is to await my appointment in the post for my official dating scan.

I took a big step today and asked about Down Syndrome screening. As it stands in Northern Ireland you are only offered the screening tests if you are above 35. In other parts of the UK, woman are routinely offered the triple blood test and a nuchal translucency scan at 13 weeks. At 32 (almost 33) I suppose I am probably still fairly low risk but a friend of mine (who is the same age as me) living in England recently had the NT scan and triple test and came back as high risk. She’s since gone on to privately have a Nifty test (it’s a blood test that tests circulating fetal DNA in the maternal bloodstream) and is waiting for her results. I suppose it is all playing on my mind now, especially as I have such a large family already and I find handling the eldest’s additional needs with her diabetes to be quite straining at times. I’ve been told I can ask at the dating scan about the triple test, but I don’t know if they will consent to that or perform a NT scan and my understanding is that the two are best looked at together. Our other option is to go privately for it at a cost of around £200. All of this could potentially open another can of worms as it seems like the available of Harmony or Nifty tests are very limited in Ireland (and cost around £600) so the only other option is amniocentesis or CVS, both of which carry a high miscarriage risk. There is every possibility that you could get a high risk result on an NT scan/triple test and everything could be fine. It’s hard weighing up what is the best thing to do, and it’s a very uncomfortable conversation to have probably because it’s still such an alien concept to screen for it in this neck of the woods. I have a little time yet to make the decision though.

One thing I need to start doing now is taking bump pictures, though I’m starting out about 15lbs heavier than I was in my last pregnancy and my stomach/bump is waaay bigger. I’ve been forced into some maternity clothes too which definitely accentuates things. Finally, I am pleased to report that the cyclizine is definitely helping. I feel horribly nauseous for about an hour in between doses but generally it’s taking the edge off and helping me to feel much more human. I’ll start experimenting soon with seeing if I can live without it as hopefully things will calm down as I head into the second trimester.

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