09 June 2008

In The Womb

Yes, what a long time ago that seems. But really, the story starts back then. So that's where I need to start.

It was all smooth sailing, nothing eventful. Up till the 7th month. Yes, baby was a little small, but, as Dr W. assured me, "some babies are small at birth, like 1.8kg, but perfectly healthy". I believed her, and carried on happily in my pregnancy.

Then, in the 7th month, the nightmare started on one of the scan visits. Up until then, all scans showed no irregularities. In this scan however, Vera's Cisterna Magna, a place with fluid in the back of the brain, was found to be enlarged.

What did this mean? Is this going to be a problem? I was still in good spirits, not at all prepared for what Dr W. was going to tell us.

She told us, based on the enlarged CM, our baby was going to have Dandy Walker Syndrome. Then, she told us, she didn't have any experience with such a case. "All I know is from what I've read from textbooks," she said.

I remember being so crushed. If her experience on this is NIL, how can she be so sure of the diagnosis? At that point, I knew I had to get another gynae.

Upon her referral, we then transferred to KK hospital. That was the best decision we could have made towards Vera's care in the first days of her life.

Transferring to KK meant a lot of things. We were pre-empted that there was a high chance that Vera would need to be in Intensive Care once she is born. ICU can cost up to $1000 per day in private hospitals. She may be there up to a month. That would have really drained our finances.
At KK, I could apply for 'C' class, subsidised class.

Gone were the ideal images of me having my own 'A' class room after delivery. I had to stay in a 'C' class ward! Ok, call me pampered and spoilt, but the thought took a little getting used to.

But today, looking back, it was the smartest decision. Because I was 'C' class, Vera is 'C' class now. Given the numerous check ups she needs for different problems, at least financially, the cost is not an issue.

For the next few weeks, it was not easy not to worry. "What is going to happen to my baby?" The uncertainty was unbearable. And yet, I had to keep my spirits up, knowing that if I became emotional, it would affect little Vera.

Further scans at KK in the last few weeks picked up more signs. My umbilical cord had only ONE artery, supplying nutrients to Vera. The norm is 2 arteries and 1 vein.

Imagine, this little girl has struggled to survive on ONE artery over nearly 9 months! (Now we know this is one of the characteristics of T18.) I knew then that in my tummy was a little fighter.

Usually, such babies' heartbeat would weaken towards the end of the pregnancy. Vera's didn't. The several CTGs showed her heart beating steadily, all the way to the end of my pregnancy. Amazing.

Now for the next big news...I was to have a C-section.