#misCOURAGE 07/09/17 by Gemma and Toby
We miscarried our first baby in March 2016. No bleeding or any real indication but simply a scan at 9 weeks and no heartbeat.
Devastating especially as we had recently moved to a military Base in Cyprus...so had very little close by support from family or friends. However, once I began being honest with people about what we were going through, it was amazing just how many others came forward to offer support after being through the same and just never talking about it.
But what I really wanted to share was our rainbow baby journey. We found out in August we were pregnant again, cue all the anxieties about the first one and wondering if we might go through it all again. Routine bloods at approx 8/9 weeks came back showing I was positive for Toxoplasmosis.
Not routinely screened for in the UK, so chances are I wouldn't have even known had I been pregnant there. Part of me wonders whether it would have been better to not know or not.
The consultant here was quite matter of fact and told us that although transmission risk is lower in early pregnancy, the effects are more severe if transmission does occur and the outcome could be severe deformities and or brain, sight and hearing issues. Options...to terminate now or wait for an amino at 20 weeks and risk having to terminate then and go through labour etc as well. I was devastated once more but overwhelmed with being given this decision, particularly as there is very little information about the diagnosis.
Some useful information from Tommy's sign posted via our fantastic midwife and we made the decision we could not live with the what ifs of an early termination and decided to continue with the pregnancy. A great GP supported us in accessing a drug which is supposed to help reduce transmission risks, though the lack of research in this area makes is difficult to know whether this was necessary or not.
Luckily a family member was friends with the ex-head of fetal research at a London hospital so we were able to get a little extra advice which was essentially that the risk of transmission was exceptionally low and that in all honesty the stress of the situation was likely to cause more damage than the actual infection.
Waiting until 20 weeks was long and full of emotion. Guilt that I'd unknowingly put something in my body that caused this risk to our baby, worry that the outcome would be bad and that we would have made the wrong decision and anger that something else was happening to us and our pregnancy.
Hit November. ..20 weeks amino was actually quite painful for me despite others telling me I probably would feel it. Whether an anterior placenta made the entry point slightly different or the general anxiety of the situation and my fear of needles heightened my pain I don't know but baby was wiggling so much they had to go in twice.
A week later and what felt like a horrifically lengthy wait including extra time because of a power cut at the lab and a bank holiday the results came back clear. Not 100% that baby hadn't transmitted but a fairly large step in our favour. We were finally able to share our news with family and friends and it then seemed like a very short pregnancy!
Fast forward to April and our beautiful baby girl Alice was born via c section weighing a healthy 9lbs 9oz. She looked perfect and has up until this point had clear hearing and sight tests. We had a brain ultrasound as a follow up and one tiny spot of calcification was found on her brain...cue panic. A health visitor and GP pointed out that since we don't routinely scan babies brains...we Don know if a small spot of calcification is normal for a baby anyway. Our paediatrician felt that unless sight and hearing issues appeared then there is no cause for further investigation. We have an additional and more comprehensive hearing screening at 8 months in the UK but in the meantime we are enjoying our wonderful girl ad watching her thrive and develop has been the most amazing thing for us. She seems bright and alert and healthy and is feeding well.
I would say to anyone who is going through a toxoplasmosis situation that it is hard and there isn't a lot of research about the process during or even what might happen as our little girl gets older but try and arm yourself with whatever information you can and stay healthy and positive and hopefully your our come will be as happy as ours!
Ultimately talk! Talk to people about what you are going through and you might just find someone else has been through similar! Ask for help and support if you need it!
Please note that the opinions expressed by users in Tommy’s Book of #misCOURAGE are solely those of the user, who is unlikely to have had medical training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of Tommy’s and are not advice from Tommy's. Reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from a qualified health care provider. We strongly advise readers not to take drugs that are not prescribed by your qualified healthcare provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, midwife or hospital immediately. Read full disclaimer