This post was written by Julie, a fellow mother who has suffered through the agonizing pain, and worry of hydrops. It’s a story of courage, hope and true miracles. Enjoy.
”Hydrops Fetalis”…A word I’d never ever heard before…..
February 2007 we found out we were pregnant, we were so shocked but so happy at the same time.
I started spotting a few days later so we were sent for an early scan, I was so happy when our baby showed up on the screen but it was too early on in the pregnancy to see the heartbeat so we had to wait another two weeks for a follow up scan. Those were the longest two weeks of my life, thank God at the follow up scan we finally saw our baby’s heartbeat. I have never felt so relieved in all my life!
Up to the fifth month of pregnancy I felt the normal symptoms, headache, nausea, sickness and cravings (Peanut m&m’s and Cheerios!) Finally the day came when we were to have our five month scan. As well as checking our baby was growing well we would be finding out if we were having a boy or a girl. I wanted a girl but my partner wanted a boy. Either way one of us were going to be really happy! We had decided on the names ”Layla” for a girl and ”Archie” for a boy
We took our 13 year old daughter with us so she could be there when we found out the baby’s sex.
I could not stop grinning as I lay on the bed as the midwife covered me with the gel, seconds later there was our baby on the screen. I’ve had children before this pregnany so I knew the scanning doctor measures the baby and checks the health before she would tell us the sex. But she was very quiet for a very long time, I kept asking her “is everything ok?”. After I asked her for the third time she said she had to go and get another doctor to come check the scan. The second doctor came in and after what felt like a lifetime she advised us to send my daughter out the room, while we all spoke. Thankfully my dad had come and was waiting outside, so he took her home.
The doctor said he would like us to go for a better, higher resolution scan at the bigger hospital in town. He said he could see a tiny bit extra fluid around our babys abdomen and wanted us to get it checked out. He also said he thought our baby was a girl but couldnt be 100% sure. We caught a taxi in to town and as soon as we arrived at the hospital we were taken straight in for the scan. This scan was much more detailed than the one we had earlier. Finally after what seemed a lifetime we were taken into a room that we later came to realize was the “bad news” room.
The professor explained to us that our baby (who he confirmed was a girl) had Parvovirus which had led to her being severly anemic. She also had Hydrops, there was fluid around her abdomen and heart. Weeks earlier our other two children had had a rash and doctors didn’t know what it was. They said the thought it might have been slapped cheek, or hand foot and mouth disease. We were told to help our baby survive she would have to have an emergency blood transfusion. It was explained they would put a needle in to her unbilical cord through my belly. To say I was terriffied would be an understatement, I have a phobia of needles! The procedure came with a 3% chance of miscarriage, but if we didn’t do it there was a 99% chance she would die in the next few weeks.
We were told it would be a few hours before they could do the procedure because they first had to find a blood match, and then the blood would have to be cleaned. We decided to go ahead with the transfusion, and were told to sit outside an wait. We called our family and friends to let them know what was happening. My partner doesn’t handle stress very well, so it was decided he would go home to look after our other two children, and my best friend came to be with me.
Finally I was told it was time for the blood transfusion. I couldn’t stop shaking, the doctors numbed a part of my belly and it was time to insert the needle. When I saw the needle I wanted to throw up, It’s so big! They told me to lie back and to try and relax. I couldnt feel the needle go in, but i could feel it inside me. Our baby girl had been sleeping all this time but as soon as the needle entered me she woke up. The doctors had almost gotten the needle into place when she started moving about, so that had to wait a few minutes for her to settle down before they could try again. On the second attempt they got the needle into her cord and she did a full flip. The third attempt succeeded, and they got the needle where it needed to be. I actually got the guts to open my eyes and watch it on the screen, It was weird knowing that such a tiny amount of blood could save her life.
Afterwards we were told to go home, and I was to be on complete bed rest, as there was still the chance we could miscarry. We were booked for another scan the following week to see how things were going. I was terrified to move that week, my partner did everything for me, and I was worried about even getting up to go to the toilet. The doctors explained that because of how sick our baby was we would probably need to do another three blood transfusions.
Finally the week went by, and we headed off for another scan. I was terrified, the baby was not moving around as much as she used to, and I was expecting the worst. When the proffesor had finished the scan the look on his face terrified us. He looked shocked and but then said ”I dont believe it, it has worked first time, the hydrops and anemia have totally gone!”
I started crying there and then and did so for the next few days. We were told we would have scans every week just to check how baby was doing. Thank God everything was ok, and after eight weeks of scans we were told our baby was stong enough and healthy enough to stop the scans. My partner asked me a few weeks later if we could call the baby ”Millie”, as he had heard it somewhere and really liked it. I wanted to find out what the name meant, and to my amazement ”Millie” meant “strong, healthy and determined!”. The perfect name for our baby.
On the second of October, 2007 our baby girl was born at 12.14am, weighing 7lb 14oz. She was perfectly healthy and strong. Her name is Millie Rae Joyce Hart. She has just turned two years old, and is still healthy and shows no residual signs of the hydrops and anemia. I was so scared to find out our baby had hydrops. After she was was born I started googling about it and it shocked me to the core. I learned how lucky we have been with Millie, it could have been so much worse and we thank God we were one of the ‘lucky ones’. We would love to have another baby, but hydrops has scared me and I dont think i could take the risk of going through it all again. By joining groups on Facebook I have been in touch with other hydrops parents and have made some really good friends. I just pray that some day more can be done, and we can get rid of hydrops for good. x