Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Matters of the heart

Week 5 of a pregnancy is the most important – that’s when the embryo’s heart starts dividing into chambers and the cardiac cells begin to contract. It’s all in preparation for the heart to start beating from Week 6. If that doesn’t happen, you don’t have a baby – simple as that. No pressure though!

Every morning I wake up and say “Sticky, grow your little heart. Make it beat strong and loud.” I said this with even more passion this morning because yesterday, we booked in for our 6 week scan when we’re meant to see the heartbeat. I’ll be 6 weeks and 3 days so it’s possible to see it then, but it may be too early. Baby Gods, if the miscarriage grants me one “get out of jail free card”, I’d like to use it for that scan. In my perfect world, Sticky’s heart will be there flickering away for us all to see. In my worse nightmare, it won’t be and we’ll be told to come back in a week.  If that happens, that week may just kill me.

According to the specialist, everything is going well. For me, not so much. I had no idea what the impact of simply asking “Will I be classified as a high risk pregnancy?” would be. The answer was yes and I was suddenly hit with a tsunami of everything that could go wrong. Thanks to the miscarriage, and my age, I have an increased chance of down syndrome (1 in 165), gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and of course, our old favourites ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage. Mind you, there is a plethora of other things that could go wrong too but they don’t bare thinking about.

I must admit I felt a bit panicked. The specialist explained all the testing options for down syndrome, including the relatively new blood test that tests the baby’s DNA and is 99.9% accurate. Only problem is it costs $1200 and we were advised if we don’t plan on aborting it, then there’s no point getting it. At 5 weeks pregnant, we’re talking about whether we would abort the baby if there was a problem? I just wanted to burst into tears.

He also said I could take pessaries to try to control the discharge but it wouldn’t prevent a miscarriage. And I could get another blood test in a few days if I was worried about a chemical pregnancy. I thought about it all and just figured all I can do is trust and let go. Easier said than done.

I tried to calm myself down by thinking of all my friends who have had babies between 37 and 40. None of them have had babies with any problems at all so there’s no reason to think I would be the one out of the 165. So, I’m working on letting that go because whatever Sticky’s genetic makeup is was decided 3 weeks ago at conception. Sticky’s form has been signed and sealed, yet to be delivered.

I was very tempted to google ectopic pregnancy symptoms but I decided against it. I didn’t need to know. I did google to see when people saw the baby’s heartbeat and that varied between the end of 5 and 7 weeks. On the bright side, it reinforced that when the obstetrician said Peanut’s heartbeat wasn’t there, and it should have been, he was right. And it doesn’t take Frued to realise the reason I’m so nervous about getting this scan is because Peanut’s heart never beat.

This is the moment I was dreading most. When you lie on a bed, looking at a screen willing for something to be there. I’ve read so many stories of women who experience this moment – some don’t see the heartbeat, some do. Some see it, only not to see it next time because they’ve lost the baby. It’s a moment fraught with anxiety, nervousness and fear. Mind you, it’s also a moment that can be full of joy, love and most importantly, life. For the next 8 days, I’ll be praying it’s the later!   

Image by Phaitoon
Courtesy of


  1. If you are considered high risk you usually get more frequent ultrasounds. More times to see and/or hear Sticky. I know this wait is killing you and understand why it'd be nerve racking. You are almost there! That moment you hear your babies heartbeat will change you forever. Only 8 more days!! :)

  2. Thanks Robin! I'll try to keep the positivity!



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