Pregnant in Sweden – Part 2

After my experiences during my first pregnancy, I switched to a private midwife center – was that a good idea?

To start with: Yes, it was a good idea. At least when considering the general care of pregnant women in Sweden.

Emil was pretty much exactly one year old, when I – as planned – became pregnant again. This time I was nearly 40 years old, a pregnant fossil so to say. And this time I chose a midwife who was working in a private doctor’s office with two gynecologists. The costs for consulting a private midwife are also paid by the state.

M. was really nice and emphatic. The premises made a much cozier and more comfortable impression than the cold and a little bit grubby hospital. But she basically did the same procedures: weighing (without stupid comments), talks, listen to the baby’s heartbeat (slightly more modern equipment) and growth control with the measure tape. Somehow I had become used to this, it had gone well the first time too. I also had the genius idea to tell her about my grandmother, who had a twin brother and suddenly I was allowed an early ultrasound examination in week 6 to identify a possible twin pregnancy. I “met” Nova much earlier than Emil.

So far so good, but then it started. We decided to do the test for Down’s Syndrome this time too and the shattering result was: my baby had a risk of 1:7 for a trisomy. I was devastated and I decided to make a chorion villus sampling in week 14. This was performed in the biggest hospital in Gothenburg in a very professional way and the doctor told me, that she would call me, if something was not right, otherwise I would get a letter with the results within one week. Three days later the phone rang in the morning and the doctor answered. My heart sank, but she just told me that the results for trisomy were negative but they could not manage to identify the gender, as they had too little sample material and they would have to grow more cells. The relief was massive, I did not care if it was a girl or a boy, if it just was healthy!

During week 18, just before Christmas I got the notification, that it was a girl and also the routine ultrasound examination, of course performed by a midwife, did not show anything abnormal. Today I know that there were abnormalities: As well during the ultrasound examination for the test for Down’s Syndrome, as during the 18th week routine ultrasound examination, Nova did not move at all. In both cases they explained to me, that Nova probably was sleeping. Today I know that she was probably NOT sleeping. Reduced movement is a typical sign for AMC.

Since a trisomy was excluded and everything else indicated, that the baby was healthy, I did without examinations in Vienna. Also because we already had Emil and he was a demanding 18 months old. In addition I had started to work again, somehow I just did not manage to go to Vienna.

The second half of the pregnancy went by without any major incidents, I developed a gigantic belly that attracted some attention. One thing was strange though: I hardly felt Nova. She kicked me extremely rarely and if I felt her it felt more like a stroking motion. As I told M. about this, she just smiled: “This is a relaxed little girl.”

In week 36, M. stated that Nova has not turned, but was in a transverse position, her head under my left costal arch. In week 38, M. remitted me to a bigger hospital in Varberg, where I also was supposed to give birth later. A doctor there assessed, that I had about 25% too much amniotic fluid and that it would not make sense to perform an external cephalic version as Nova would probably swim back into the old position due to the big amount of amniotic fluid. I have to explain, that this risky and medieval method is used in Sweden on a daily basis. The pregnant woman gets medication and then the baby gets pushed into the right position from outside. It is quite a brutal method. I have been against that, as I have read some literature about it and could find only disadvantages with it. So I was quite happy, when the doctor told me, that this was no option for us. It did not cross my mind (and the doctor’s obviously neither) that too much amniotic fluid is a diagnosis in itself or that further investigation was required. I was just fully trusting the medical staff. In the end I was told to come back to the maternity ward on due date and should Nova not have turned by then, they would assess the situation again.

So I “enjoyed” these two weeks until due date, on the 21st of May 2013 we set off towards the hospital in Varberg.

What happened then, is once again a completely different story and it is not a nice one. But I assume, that I eventually will write about that too.



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