"I'm sorry, there's a problem with your Baby!"
I can remember the exact way her voice sounded as she shot up off her chair and ran out of the room. I remember feeling as though a ton of bricks was landing on my chest knocking the wind out of me.
It was our 20 week scan with our last baby. I'd felt the baby kick for a few days prior to the scan, so in my head she was alive so she had to be OK. As we drove to the hospital that morning we had chatted about girls vs boys and which bedroom the baby would sleep in at the new house.
It was the feet we found first so we found ourselves working our way up the body, she measured the thighbone and then we asked if she could tell whether we were having a girl or a boy... She was a girl.
We made our way up the rest of her body, her spine, her face, her skull and finally...her heart.
The sonographer told us the baby was in an awkward position so she was going to ask a more experienced colleague to get the image of the heart. But she struggled too. They offered to send us home with an appointment to return in two weeks time when hopefully the baby would be in a better position - or go for a 20 minute walk to see if she would have moved around.
We debated for a couple of minutes - we both had to be in work that afternoon; but better to get it all done that day than have to come back and need more time off work.
While we waited we made the calls to each Mother, told them that we were having another pink one but the scan wasn't finished just yet.
There was a different sonographer waiting for us when we got back, two of them had a go at getting this "image" before she stood up out of her chair and delivered the blow...there was a problem with our Baby's heart.
I remember trying to talk but my throat was dry and all I could do was burst in to tears. What the hell was going on. They asked us to come to the A.N.D.U and wait for them to make the referral calls to The Women's Hospital in Liverpool. I remember calling my dad (who works at the Hospital) and asking him to come meet us. I remember calling my Mam and asking her to call Gavin's Doctor in London.
The equipment at Ysbyty Gwynedd didn't give the most detailed picture of her tiny heart, all they could tell us was that they could see something going in to her heart but they couldn't see it coming out.
I felt like I was having an outer body experience like I was just watching this happen to someone else. I couldn't stop myself crying. When we were leaving the hospital I walked as fast as I could to get away from the place but Mark called me back; when I turned around I saw that he was crying too. We stood in the corridor for a few minutes just crying with each other. But once we got through the exit I suddenly realised we hadn't had the picture from the scan, so we ran back in to ask them for it.
It broke my heart to see it. The side profile of her face looked so perfect - how could she have a Heart problem. What did I do wrong? I didn't smoke, I hadn't touched alcohol since November, I hadn't eaten Pate or shellfish or Brie...
The hardest part was not knowing what the problem was, how serious this really was. At this point I didn't have any idea how the Fetal or Human Heart worked. I remember telling myself that it couldn't be that bad or she wouldn't have grown and developed like she had. Surely her Heart was pumping blood around her body properly or she wouldn't be alive at 20 weeks in to the pregnancy. Little did I know then of the PDA between the Aorta and Pulmonary Artery that all babies have in the womb but closes shortly after birth.
For the rest of that day all we could do was wait for a call from Liverpool with a date for a Fetal ECHO.
|Martha Grace at 20 weeks|