So in my last pregnancy update at just turned 6 months pregnant, everything was going pretty well despite Little 3 being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat a few weeks previously (you can read the post about that here), and I was just feeling pretty uncomfortable as Little 3 had undergone a growth spurt and was lying sideways as well as myself and Little 2 being ill for the best part of a month.
This month had been sooo much better until last week! I am now 32 weeks pregnant so technically 7 and a half months and with not all that long to go we have begun to get the house ready for Little 3's arrival. Over the Christmas break Daddy cleared out the office and found new homes for the computer and the furniture (most of the stuff has been deposited up in the loft!) and I had a big clearout then we build the cot and a chest of drawers so I could get started preparing the nursery.
We have brought down some things from the loft and got started on sorting and washing tiny clothes, and cleaning and replacing a few baby things as well as prewashing our brand new stash of reuseable nappies as this baby is going to wear cloth. I was getting quite excited about ironing tiny things and seeing a stash of brightly coloured nappies in the drawer until we were hit with a little unsettling news last week, but let me tell you about the weeks before that first.
My 28 week midwife appointment went smoothly, my blood pressure is continuing to stay perfect (it is this point in my last two pregnancies that it began to shoot up and cause problems so we were pleased about this) and Little 3 was head down (which explained why I was feeling a lot more comfortable and less like I was going to burst) and growing normally.
We went for a 28 week scan with the cardiologist following up from our one three weeks previously and were told that Little 3's ectopic (irregular) heartbeat had vastly improved and instead of a pattern of several minutes of regular rhythm followed by a few minutes of irregular rhythm that was there last time it was a normal rhythm with an odd early beat then missed beat every thirty seconds or so and therefore the cardiologist fully expected Little 3 to outgrow the condition before birth and said she didn't want to see us again. Whoop.
Then I went to my 31 week midwife appointment last Thursday! As with my previous appointment she said everything I was hoping to hear, my blood pressure was still fabulous, Little 3 was still head down and my bump was measuring as it should, then she listened to the heartbeat. It took her a few minutes to find a regular fast rhythm as she kept picking up what she thought was my heartbeat and then it would go again, baby was moving around so I thought it was just that, then she had me sit up and try again. She then said she wanted me to go to the hospital and have a trace done on the babies heart as she was not happy with the figures showing on her machine (according to my notes it had varied from 108-158 beats per minute and was really irregular) so off I went feeling a bit uneasy but baby was moving around lots and had been all morning so I wasn't too scared.
Once at the hospital it didn't get much better, I had to wait 45 minutes in the assessment unit as there was only one midwife there. Once I was hooked up to the monitor it could only find a heartbeat of around 75 beats per minute which she checked and it wasn't mine, and much too slow for baby. After a few minutes she decided to send me upstair to the triage unit for someone else to have a go!
It was the same thing on the monitor up there so the midwife went to find a doctor, which took an hour, all the while Little 3 was moving like mad from all the poking a prodding so I knew baby was okay but I was really worried by this point. The doctor and a different midwife tried again, one counting my pulse and the other looking for a heartbeat, she did manage to find one this time but the monitor was saying 75 bpm although we could hear that it was faster than that, we could also hear the beat being faster at times than others and I began to feel quite scared.
The doctor said that she was going to find a consultant, then worried me further by asking how far along I was and if I had had monitoring problems before (up until this point in my pregnancy this baby had been fine with doppler monitoring at midwife appointments) or early babies due to heart issues. When she came back she said that they thought the irregular rhythm of Little 3's heart was confusing the machine and the skipped beats were making the machine think it was lower than it actually was. They had decided to do a quick ultrasound to look at baby's heart beating and try to work out what the heart rate was. I ended up in a room with a midwife trying to count the beats she could see on the screen, another scanning and another timing and counting my pulse. I could see on the screen that the irregular heartbeat from a couple of months ago was definitely still very much present and there were dips in the heart rate showing up on the trace too which haven't happened before so I was immediately disheartened.
There was then another wait while they talked with the consultant, when she returned she said that all rates were within normal levels and babies heart was returning to a safe normal level after the brief dips so they were not concerned about distress but that the irregular heartbeat was very much there again and they were not sure about the small dips. I was to be allowed to go home as long as I was very vigilant about keeping an eye on the number and pattern of baby's movements from now on and to go straight in if they lessened.
So we are now feeling rather worried and low again about the health of baby's heart after everything seemed okay 3 weeks earlier, there was mention of having to have this baby early if further issues like this arise a little further down the line or if movements change as they can not monitor baby properly and it might be safer to deliver me. I have to admit that I have lost the excitement of last week and now just feel uneasy.