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On being high risk {Little Bump and Me}


Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

(at 26 weeks with Kitty, Chocolate Monkey and Puppy)

In all of my pregnancies I’ve counted as high risk. It’s a combination of two bits of my medical history that combine to tick all of the boxes and send me merrily trotting off to the consultant clinic whenever they decide it might be nice to see me.

One bit I’ve already touched on, and the other I thought I might mention not because it’s especially riveting but mainly because there seems to be a complete lack of information out there about what it actually feels like to have a history of a wonky thyroid and be pregnant. When I was expecting Kitty I would have loved to find a bit of information about the realities of high risk clinics for thyroid so, in a convoluted sort of way, I’m writing for my past self today.

In my case wonky thyroid means, occasionally goes spectacularly overactive. Your thyroid controls your inner thermostat, your metabolism, and a decent hit of mood control to boot so although for me it’s never been seriously dangerous to be overactive, it isn’t particularly pleasant – my blood pressure pops up, I’m always hot, and whilst one of the classic side effects of an overactive thyroid is supposed to be unexplained weight loss, I just end up wanting to eat all of the food in the whole wide world! I’ve been off and on medication since my early twenties, pulling it back down and under control as necessary.

The last flare up I had was about nine months after Kitty was born, and when I was pregnant with Elma I was referred through to a consultant endocrinologist who kept tabs on things all through the pregnancy and beyond. I saw her just before Christmas, a couple of days before we found out about Little Bump and we merrily made plans for a little gentle monitoring over the next six months – and then I phoned her secretary in the new year to suggest that we might just need to change the whole plan!

I remember when we had our booking in appointment with Kitty being a little bit down about being classed as high risk. After all we’d already been through I just wanted to be completely normal, utterly bog standard, I think to try to rebuild some shred of confidence that my body did know what it was doing. It felt like I was being branded right from the start as different, and I wanted it to go away and take all it’s risk stickers with it. Put that one down to the oh so rational hormones of a pregnant girl.

But for me at least it turns out that high risk really isn’t that different.

I think the best way of describing my version of high risk is that I’m doubled up. I think I’ve had every midwife appointment that anyone low risk would get, and the usual 12 and 20 week scans, just plus appointments at 20 and 24 weeks in the high risk clinic. ¬†Clinic appointments start with the midwife who cover all the things in the ordinary midwife appointments just then with a review with my endocrinologist and the obstetricians; the latter of whom tend to puzzle over my notes, decide that they can’t think of anything that I actually need an obstetrician for right now, and hand me over to the endocrinologist with relief; although I did get to explain how baby bump Elma managed to turn breech at 38 weeks and back again two days later with the only intervention being talking sternly to Elma-bump and a trip to see Twilight at the cinema. [Note: I’m not suggesting that as a tactic for turning babies but if you’ve landed here in desperation, it can’t hurt!].

As we get nearer (and past) the due date I’ll have more clinic appointments and probably fewer just plain midwife appointments, it all really depends on how Little Bump and I are doing.

In terms of the perky thyroid, I’m lucky. I don’t have Graves Disease so I don’t carry excitable thyroid antibodies which can cross to the baby and as Little Bump has his or her own thyroid they should be just fine, it’s mostly about monitoring me and making sure I’m on the lowest possible dose of medication to keep things under control.

Right now that’s zero (yay) and hopefully everything will stay stable until after Little Bump arrives when I’ll be monitored a little more closely for a few months to watch for any sudden flare ups, and then things will go back to how they were.

The one thing that we do keep an eye on right now is Little Bump’s growth (which even one glance at the bump will tell you is probably not an issue right now) and that’s where the one perk comes in; we’re going to have another scan at 30 weeks to have a look at how he or she is doing, and given how much this baby has tried to hide in all the previous scans, I’m really rather looking forward to having another peek at that tiny face.