The doppler on my belly, pressing into my skin, sliding on the jelly.
The sounds, almost alien like. The swooshes, the ticks, the chirps.
The CTG. The dips, peaks, dips peaks. Numbers that change but mean nothing to me. The paper that crinkles silently to the floor, folding upon itself as though it’s given up too.
The hand on my belly, waiting.
The check ups.
The appointments, one after another after another after another.
The plans. The policies. The rules.
The early eviction. Time is up. We cannot wait any longer.
And then it’s all over.
And at the end of an IUGR pregnancy, what happens?
Depending on the reason for and severity of the IUGR, the path you take next can vary. For me, what came next was nothing.
No word of the months of stress. No mention of the weekly appointments and hours spent on the monitor. No thoughts given to the fact I was waiting for the worst.
So what next?
We go on. We reach out to other families like ours. Be that shoulder we didn’t have.
And maybe, just maybe, we might make a difference.
40-60% of IUGR cases are unexplained. For these families, no explanation can be given as to why their baby is not growing as they should. No reasons for the nights spent worrying and days spent googling. Information is limited; nothing is given in hospitals to women who are affected. No doctor can tell you what is going to happen. We can only plan for the best possible outcome, and embrace what may be. But how can this be right?
How can no explanation mean no information? No support?
A medical condition that causes IUGR has a leaflet. An explanation. Reasons. Causes. Plans. What to do next. What it means for you, for baby. How to make sure everything is done to save baby. A medical team. Specialists to take over the care. A chance to arm yourself with knowledge. It doesn’t aways mean that baby will come home.
Unexplained IUGR does not have a leaflet. No explanation. No reasons. Multiple possible causes, but no one single cause pinpointed. No idea what to do next. No clue what it means for you, or baby. Blind faith that your medical team will do all that they can. No chance to gain knowledge, because you just don’t know. And it still doesn’t mean that baby will come home.
I want to see some changes. Information given to parents. Real information. What IUGR is. What may cause it. What can be done to help. What it might mean for your baby, and for you. What support is available for you during pregnancy and after birth. Where you can go for advice, help, a shoulder to cry on. I want to see families with unexplained IUGR being made to feel their fears, thoughts and emotions are valid. Worth considering. Normal.
I want to see IUGR being discussed. People knowing what it means, and understanding how an IUGR baby can be different.
I want to see women being cared for, emotionally as well as clinically.