Since our lil rainbow baba’s movements have been more definitive, I feel such extreme pressure to know at all times if he is moving or when he last moved. I’m feeling like I can’t concentrate on anything else. There have been times in work when people have been talking to me and I’ve just been superficially listening, with my main focus of attention being in my tummy! It’s getting in the way of everything I do, including trying to sleep, and I’m quite probably going to go insane with it all! It really doesn’t help that I have an anterior placenta so depending on the baby’s position, movement feels vastly different on different days but very often is pretty gentle and ‘internal’ rather than big tummy wobbling kicks. I haven’t started to do official kick counts. The guidance around this is so confusing and has moved away from counting a specific number of movements but I think maybe having three (?) set times a day that I specifically pay attention might help me rather than trying to do it all the time.
So far I’ve gone to hospital twice outside of my normal weekly appointment with concern about movement, once at 23 weeks and this weekend past at 27 weeks. Both times I felt that the baby hadn’t been as active as usual that day. Because the process of going to hospital is so traumatic, I actually find myself putting off going rather than going immediately – which is how I thought I would be. The first time I waited and waited, and got myself into a really horrible state of panic and was convinced the baby was dead. The second time, I went sooner after I became concerned so I was still pretty calm which was a much better experience. Both times if I’m honest I know that I was having particularly hard days on an emotional level. I suppose it makes sense that when my mood is generally worse, I’m more likely to worry about the baby and then if he’s not very active, or is in a bad position, the whole rocky ‘holding it together’ act falls apart! Luckily we don’t live too far from the hospital and so far the staff we’ve met have been very understanding.
We got a report back of a file review of my antenatal care with Isobel. The opinion of the reviewer is that my antenatal care was adequate. She wrote that MPFD is known to be associated with sudden foetal death with no warning signs. On the one hand, we get this message that there were no signs that there was anything wrong with Isobel’s placenta but then they try to reassure us saying we’ll be monitored so closely this time. It doesn’t make sense. How can monitoring be reassuring if there are no warning signs??!! I have some questions about that to ask, but I’m sure that reading the report has not helped with my fear that this baby will suddenly die one day like his sister. As much as I trust my doctor and am grateful for the close monitoring, it feels very much like it’s up to me alone to know if something is not right with the baby and to quickly respond to that. Isobel’s postmortem stated that she was deprived of oxygen over a six hour period. If MPFD strikes again, it could happen that quickly and what if I notice too late again?
The feelings of responsibility for keeping this baby alive, have made me think more about my ideas of responsibility for Isobel’s death. I have tried not to get stuck on thoughts of being to blame for her dying, or feelings of guilt. I know these are not fair or helpful. However on a factual level, if I had noticed a reduction in movement in the hours during which she wasn’t getting enough oxygen and had responded immediately to this, there is a chance that she could have been saved. I know there are a million more ‘what ifs’ that relate to things other than me but that one still stands out and I can imagine it’s one I will struggle with more or less for the rest of my life. I will continue with my process of noticing it, reminding myself that it’s not helpful, and letting it go.