Tommy's guest blog, 16/03/2017, by Clayre McVey
The team that runs the Tommy's Metabolic Antenatal Clinic at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary are all absolutely amazing. From Dr. Fiona Dennison all the way down to the ladies at the reception desk, everyone involved was absolutely fantastic and helpful.
The excellence of the team is personified none better than by Hayley, the Tommy's research midwife.
Her level of attention to detail and willingness to go further than necessary to accomplish her goals allowed us to feel valued and respected as patients, not statistics to be crossed off within set target times. In fact, that 'People First' attitude was prevalent in the clinic all the way through.
To give a bit more background on how we came to be members of the clinic, it all started with the lowest point of our lives. I suffer from Hip Displaysia and am in need of a hip replacement.
However, despite this, my partner George and I had managed to fall pregnant in the early months of last year and we could not have been happier!
A swift visit to the midwife had us all full of the joys of parenthood and what was to come in the following 9 months. It was at this first appointment that our midwife had suggested to us we should consider the Tommy's Metabolic Clinic due to my BMI being a bit high.
This along with disability gave us an increased risk of complications. Unfortunately, this suggestion was as far as it got as a couple days after this amazing appointment, I started bleeding.
A week of bleeding, hospital visits, blood tests and questions later, I was informed that I was no longer pregnant.
There was no reason for this, no major complications or problems. The closest we got to an answer was that sometimes 'It just happens'.
Being first time parents we were completely unaware of how common miscarriages are. The frankly terrifying statistic of 1 in 4 pregnancies ending in miscarriage was a huge shock to us. Knowing this didn't help make it any easier, but allowed us to move on without worrying about assigning blame to ourselves, or obsessing over every little thing we had done.
Thankfully, our despair was short lived and within a matter of weeks we had managed to conceive again.
This time, we were convinced we had to do more.
When our fasting bloods came back a little high our midwife suggested the Tommy's Metabolic Clinic again and we jumped at the chance for extra care.
On our first trip to the clinic after being diagnosed with gestational diabetes, we were given a class on testing and controlling our blood sugars which was massively informative and really drove home the importance of looking after yourself in order to look after baby without ever being condescending to us.
Our next visit was for our first "proper" appointment and what an appointment it was. It lasted a little more than 3 hours and was a wall of information and advice. I admit it was a daunting and long day but by the time we'd had 2 or 3 more appointments it was evident that this was a once off and was just to establish a base line for the clinic to work from.
We attended the clinic for a number of months and the care and advice was consistently of a high quality.
Thankfully, due to the extra care from the clinic, I felt fine and healthy without any complications outside of some hip pain and leg swelling. However, just because I felt healthy, doesn't mean I always was. Again, this is where the added level of care was a huge benefit.
Without my regular check ups and care my pre-eclampsia probably would have been missed or caught later. As it was they made the discovery and promptly admitted me.
Within a matter of days I was given an early cesarean section and was introduced to my amazing and beautiful son, Lachlan. The section itself was performed spectacularly by one of the consultants from the clinic, Niv.
Even after my son was here, and my time with the clinic was over, Hayley took time out of her schedule to visit us a number of times over the 4 days we spent in hospital after the section.
Her attention to care for her patients was excellent and very much appreciated.
Now that we have our son at home with us and our family is complete (for now!) we're massively grateful and so appreciative that the clinic improved our pregnancy and certainly made it much easier for us.
We can only thank everyone involved, From Dr Dennison for organising our care, to Niv for her amazing work during the c-section, to Hayley for her help week after week and to everyone else involved from the first second to the last.
I didn't need ten days, I passed my baby the next day, I knew I was no longer pregnant, the second scan confirmed a blighted ovum, but to me that wasn't a blighted ovum, that was my baby.
On that Monday I remember saying to the nurse, "I'm worried it might be ectopic." Her reply was that it probably wasn't. And that was that.
The best thing anyone said to us was that parenthood is a roller coaster, sometimes right from the start - I think it sums up our experience perfectly.
I have always been someone who believes in everything happens for a reason but when something happens THRICE I can only try to be positive.