While still riding high after my recent pregnancy scan, it wasn’t until several hours later at home that I remembered something the nurse had said twice during the procedure that promptly brought me down to earth with a ‘bump’.
Considering this is my first pregnancy and I have no siblings with children or no mammy to ask, I’ve literally ZERO idea as to what the process involves – I’m just bumbling along taking each day as it comes and hoping for the best!
So that morning, as the nurses consulted with each other during the anomaly scan, my main concern was just getting my neck craned around enough to see the images of my baby flicker on the screen so I wouldn’t miss a second. I occasionally searched her face for any signs of concern (which thankfully never came) and listened intently to the tone of her voice.
‘Everything looks great!’ she kept repeating.
‘Phew!’ I say, feeling more relieved as each minute ticked by.
‘Placenta?’ the nurse typing at the computer asks.
‘Very low.’ my nurse replies.
To reiterate. I’m a pure amateur with this so that comment never even registered in my mind.
Fast forward twenty more minutes of hoking and poking and trying to get baby to shift about my nurse repeats, ‘Have you noted the low placenta?’
For a moment I wondered why this was the only thing she wanted to make a ‘note’ of, but again, I never queried it.
It wasn’t until they told me I could wipe the jelly off my tum and get on with the rest of the day that the nurse also informs me I’ll receive another scan appointment in 10 weeks to check the position of the placenta.
‘Sometimes as the baby grows it pulls the placenta up with it but we’ll arrange another scan to check, OK?’
‘Aye OK! I reply, not knowing what the hell she was on about. I was just buzzing at what I’d seen and floated out the door as though on a cloud. She seemed really cheery and unconcerned. Everything’s grand!!
When we got home later that day I googled ‘low-lying placenta’ just to see what the craic is with it and if it’s something I need to be aware of. ‘Placenta praevia’ returns my search… what the fook’s that?!
As with most things on Google, the more I read the more I got a bit antsy in my pantsy…
If you have placenta previa, it means that your placenta is lying unusually low in your uterus, next to or covering your cervix…
If you’re found to have placenta previa early in pregnancy, it’s not usually considered a problem. But if the placenta is still close to the cervix later in pregnancy, it can cause bleeding, which can lead to other complications and may mean that you’ll need to deliver early. If you have placenta previa when it’s time to deliver your baby, you’ll need to have a cesarean section.
Call me naive but I never even knew this was a thing; that your placenta can grow over your cervix and stop the baby’s passage out!?! Flip sake!
Apparently it can happen when you’ve had (among others):
- Previous surgery within the uterus that may have left scarring (I’m wondering could a previous bout of PID have the same cause?)
- Older mothers
- Abnormally shaped uterus
- Previous miscarriage
- Previous c-section
Now, chances are my placenta will (fingers crossed!) move out of the way as my pregnancy progresses; however, part of me has a low bubbling anxiety that I might be one of the unlucky ones who’s doesn’t.
If it doesn’t, the chances of having to deliver via c-section is pretty much guaranteed. Which isn’t what I want or how I envisioned my little one coming into the world. But, needs must, and as long as the baby is safe and healthy I’ll do whatever it takes to achieve that. Whether it’s part of my plan or not!
What concerns me more is the risks associated with placenta praevia and how it could potentially lead to excessive bleeding and preterm labour. I’d heard about women (or maybe seen it in films!) where, nearing the end of their pregnancy, had to have complete bed rest to safe guard against or prevent further development of complications such as uncontrolled bleeding.
I’m trying to put it to the back of my mind because anxiety and stress is like trying to put out a candle with another candle. Pointless! It is what it is and I’ll just have to deal with whatever outcome happens. Although, it is good to be educated and aware so I can do what I can now to help matters. Things like: avoiding excessive exercise or overexertion, not to lift anything remotely heavy or strain my back or stomach, keeping in tune with stomach aches and pains and knowing when to seek help if it feels like more than just round ligament pain; just being in tune with how I feel ‘all round’ in general. It’s good to be cautious – for everyone’s sake!
I do feel sad that my choices regarding labour may potentially be taken away from me but I’ll not prematurely jump the gun before events unfold. I love that we had so much information available to hand nowadays compared to when my parents we expecting me, but sometimes not over-researching and not over-analysing is perhaps for the best. We are a society of information overload and a lot of it will put the complete shits in you if you spend your days absorbing it all! Just because you know about something won’t stop it from going wrong. It is the nature of the beast.
Sure wouldn’t the world be boring without it?!