Thursday, 26 April 2018

And breathe out.

The first trimester ultrasound found something in the heart. At that time, it could have been an isolated finding, a part of a complex genetic syndrome (one that I faintly remembered from my time in medical school all those years ago), or part of a more complex cardiac condition.

The obstetrician/sonologist appraised us of the percentage likelihood of each thing, that it was more likely to be normal than not. She wanted us to wait another 3 weeks for a review with a cardiologist, plus/minus an amniocentesis.

We were devastated. Percentages mean nothing, one either gets a disease or doesn't - they don't get 5 or 10 or 20 per cent of a disease. We needed to get it sorted out, and we could not wait 3 weeks. We did not get much sleep that night. It stopped us in our tracks.

I requested chorionic villus sampling, as this could be done earlier along. I spoke with my obstetrician, who spoke with the sonologist. This was promptly arranged, three days after the initial ultrasound.

The CVS was physically and emotionally painful. Seeing the fetus on the ultrasound, knowing that a needle was going into the womb. I kept thinking "sorry little mate". The local anaesthetic didn't work very well, and I jumped a bit. The womb shifted. The sonologist told me that she had to make another pass. I started sobbing, and they left me for a bit to pull myself together. My fella held my hand and cried with me. The procedure was completed, I was sore and sorry, we were pretty subdued. I slept the rest of the day. I took the next day off. Luckily, the next morning, some initial results were available. The syndrome had been excluded. I felt superficially happy, but numb. It had been a harrowing week.

We went away on a weekend trip we had planned for months. We went to a restaurant called Brae, and stayed in the boutique accommodation. I don't know that we were in the right frame of mind, we were a bit tired, and pregnancy is not really the time to try new sophisticated tastes. Still, it was lovely to get away with some reassurance.

The following Wednesday, I went for a job interview. This is a role I had applied for a while ago. I spent a bit of time preparing for the interview, mainly because I wanted to slay it and get the role, but also as a bit of a distraction from what had been going on. I managed the interview well despite my nerves, was able to give comprehensive answers to all the questions, and did not have any brain-farts (which I have had before in interviews). I decided that, whatever the outcome, I would be proud for holding it together and not having a brain fart during the interview. I was very jittery after. I didn't know how I would manage if I didn't get the role - I've had a few fails in the past year or so, missed out on a few roles, and this with the infertility stuff has been an assault to my self-esteem. I did my trick of planning nice contingencies.

I had a call the next day - the panel was very impressed, and I got the job. A senior colleague on the panel knew about my pregnancy and told the head of the panel - they gave me the job anyway, saying they wanted the best candidate for the job. I am not sure how I felt about this news being passed on, but it saved me the awkies of having to share the news myself.

I was buoyed by this news, but still in the back of my mind was the worry about the pregnancy. I stayed away from people who I thought would tell me "it'll be alright" - that may well be true but it does not help me. I preferred instead to stay distracted. I threw myself into writing a paper, into Bachie in Paradise. My mindset changed from frightened to hopeful.

On Tuesday, I got the final results from the genetic testing, and had a review by a cardiologist specialising in congenital heart disease. The genetic testing was normal, and as far as the cardiologist could tell at this early stage, it appears to be an isolated anomaly in the heart, unlikely to be of any consequence.

My partner is still quite traumatised and not quite reassured by everything, but he is getting there.

I am feeling overwhelmingly grateful. Grateful for the care and love I have received, grateful that good things are happening. So grateful I get emotional when I think about things.

I am getting my head back into the game. The next thing is to get my flu shot, and to plan the babymoon. Can't go anywhere much because of Zika. Have found some nice places in Australia though.


  1. Thanks again for your generosity in sharing this experience with us. I cried reading this - glad that things are okay for now, but just imagining the stress and fear you've all gone through.
    And congratulations on the new job. I feel it's an incursion on your privacy for the panel member to share news of your pregnancy - but I suppose it's also a testament to your performance that despite likely prejudice, you were the best candidate.

  2. I am so relieved for you! I was so worried on your behalf after your last post and thrilled that all is ok at this point. I’m wishing the three of you all the best and sending you many hugs!

  3. Thank you for sharing this with us Cilla, I also had tears in my eyes reading this. I am so relieved for you. And well bloody done on slaying that interview despite the difficult circumstances. xx

  4. Thank goodness!! And congratulations on the job!

  5. Congratulations on the job front! Have been thinking of you as you go through all these struggles with the pregnancy and have been so hoping for you that it goes well. I was so glad to see this post as I feared the worst - and I guess mostly now it's a day at a time and putting one foot in front of the other. I hope there are no more scares. With the new job coming up there are lots of other things to think about and look forward to as well. Warmest wishes, Pammie