The anomaly scan: it’s a…

… surprise!!


We did it. We stuck to our guns and told the sonographer that we did not wish to find out the gender of our third child. We dutifully turned our heads away when she asked and we didn’t try to sneak peeks. For the first time, we have a genuine surprise on our hands. The scan was amazing. Said surprise baby complied perfectly and all measurements were spot on for a healthy, well developing foetus. Such a relief. I wish I could say the same for the consultant appointment which followed.

I had an appointment to see my consultant, since I am ‘high risk’ and because they wanted to discuss my birth options. My midwife had already told me that my options were limited, which was fine by me. I want a planned section so if that is my option, no problem. As always, my blood pressure and wee sample were both fine. I am in good health, feeling fine and with no concerns over my own or my baby’s health. The scan was straight forward and the baby is growing well. High Risk? Pffff.

I didn’t see my consultant. A registrar was sent instead, just as they had during my ‘consultant’ appointment in my last pregnancy. Ok, people are busy. The registrar had limited English and spoke with a heavy accent so communication was stilted. Again, not a real problem. Except that I was there to make my case for a planned section.

The registrar spent ages telling me about the pros and cons of a c-section. I know that recovery takes longer than with a natural birth. I know that I will be unable to drive afterwards. I was told that I would have three scars following the surgery, at which point I asked why they wouldn’t cut along one of my existing scars. The tally of scars was hastily amended to two once more. Fine. Moving on.

The registrar then told me that I was at an increased risk of the placenta attaching to the scar tissue in the uterus and that removing it could pose a problem during the section. The worse case scenario would be heavy blood loss, resulting in a transfusion and hysterectomy.

The bottom fell out of my confidence and smashed on the floor.

I didn’t want to be told that this is the last child I will ever have. I wanted to make that decision myself. I don’t want to risk losing my ability to be a mother. I don’t want a hysterectomy. I am only 33. I want them to be able to save my life, obviously. But a hysterectomy? The finalisation of it all. No more babies. No more hope. No.

I held it together. If I don’t have a section? Apparently a natural birth is the preferred option. For who? Not for me. I tried that twice already, have two visible scars to prove it, plus a million hidden scars too. A natural birth holds risks too,  apparently. The possibility of the scars rupturing is what makes me high risk. I have two scars so the risk is further increased. My husband wants facts and figures.

There is a 40% chance of a natural birth ending up as an emergency section.

I can’t do it. But I can’t risk the complications of another section either. Or can I?

My registrar then chose to peruse my notes once more. She found that during my scan, my placenta was noted as posterior. These means it is behind the baby, well away from the scar tissue. Will it stay there? Oh, yes. So how will it attach itself to the scar tissue? Um, it won’t. The possibility of this and the resulting blood loss etc does not apply to me as  am fortunate enough to have a posterior placenta.

Did my registrar need to tell me of the risks involved with an anterior placenta (this is where the placenta is positioned at the front of the baby)? I understand that I need to have all the facts before I can make an informed decision, but do I really need to know the risks of another patient here?

My request for a planned section has been recorded. I am to go back at 28 weeks for monitoring. The decision as to whether or not I can have a planned section will be made at 36 weeks, as it was with my son. I now face 15 weeks of wondering whether or not I am to go through the same process once more. I now face 15 weeks of dreading each twinge in-case it is the early onset of labour. I now face 15 weeks of waiting before I am able to state my case and put my foot down. I face 15 weeks of growing anxiety.

Ok, so a natural birth may not end up in an emergency section. There is a 60% chance that it won’t. There was an even bigger chance the last two times. I have heard people say that sections should be agreed to on purely medical reasons, which I have to disagree with. Even if medical reasons definitively defied my reasons for wanting a planned section, doesn’t a patient’s emotions and psychological state have to also be considered? If I had been counselled through my fear or granted my wish for a planned section ls time, perhaps we would be in a different place right now. As it is, I feel like I am back at square one again. The only difference is that this time I will fight with all I have to make sure I get the birth I deserve.




39 responses to “The anomaly scan: it’s a…

  • Mel (MilkChic Breastfeeding Fashion)

    Glad all good on the scan. I clicked through because curiosity got the better of me, but was ever so pleased you decided to have a surprise. We asked not to be told, but seemed to be the odd ones out last time. I love it when you have no clue 🙂

    I’m sorry the registrar didn’t do the homework before talking you through the risks. I also ended up with an emergency c-section despite desperately wanting a natural birth. If we are lucky enough to have another, I’ll have to go through the same dilemmas and I’m dreading it. It seems to me that if you have had emergency c-sections twice, despite there being no known “medical reason” for the complications, that maybe there is an underlying problem which just hasn’t been found yet.

    Admittedly, it may not be a major thing. It may even be surmountable. But having given your all twice, surely your feelings should be taken into account now.

  • Kate Takes 5

    Good for you! I completely agree – you stick to your guns!

  • Mum2Four (@AlliMarshall)

    I truly hope you get the birth that you wish for – it amazes me that consultants still query things with experienced Mums! And as for worrying you about a situation that will not arise due to your placenta being behind the baby well that is unprofessional.
    In my 3rd pregnancy I was asked why I had demanded a consultant appointment at 40 weeks – when I explained that my previous children had been big, I was told I’d only had 1 (I’d had 2) and that it was unlikely that the 3rd would be big – you could see from looking at me that he wasn’t a tiddler.
    The lack of care resulted in me having an emergency section as assisted deliveries with a 10lb and 9lb baby obvioulsy didn’t warrant any intervention for the 11lb 8oz baby I was carrying!
    Good Luck & stand firm for what you want!!

  • Notmyyearoff

    Firstly, very good news on the anomaly scan!! We said we didn’t want to know too and then sent the next 10 minutes peering in to see what it was.

    And bloody hell they spend ages explaining the complications of a section dont they? Probably enough for you to know how to carry out your own section by the end! I hope this doesn’t stress you out and they stop faffing.

    I am very jealous at all the new baby shopping you’ll be doing!

  • livingitlittle

    Stick to your guns and have a section. I wanted a planned section for my second child (after EMCS with first). The registrar really tried to talk me out of it and almost succeeded, but I got the ELCS in the end. Good luck!

  • Little Me

    I think they have to go through all the risks of a section, plus tey are all under pressure to reduce the number of sections.

    I hope you get your wish – I am all for choice as far as C Sections are concerned. There is no point going into labour stressed and anxious. There are risks to VBAC too.

    When I had an emergency section in March this year I was told in the future I would automatically have a section unless I requested to have a VBAC (which I will do when hell freezes over).

    Good luck, and congrats on a successful 20 weeks scan!

  • Emma

    Am sat eeekkiinng away. This pregnancy lark really isnt simple is it. I’m starting to hate the pregnancy process with every pregnancy I attempt, no way can I even think about a third right now. I would of been sat freaking at hearing all of that. Totally fight for what you deserve!! I’m having my own issues trying to persuade everyone that I want a homebirth, all my friends and OH and his family seem to be so against it.

    • ghostwritermummy

      My friend had to convince the head of midwifery at her hospital that she should be allowed a home birth. She had previously had two normal births and one section due to breech baby. She got her wish. Stick to your guns- I will if you will!

  • Karin @ Cafe Bebe

    Wow! Frightening to say the least. What kills me is that being high risk (as we are) and having had a total failure to progress and emergency c-section w/ Ella, I still have to justify my desire (don’t use the word right) to have an “elective” c-section. I am afraid of a c-section as well but my fear is higher/greater/whatever for a natural delivery because I just don’t think it’s meant to be. I don’t think my womb works the same way as other women’s. And knowing all of these things, shouldn’t we be able to enter into an educated discussion with the medical establishment and agree that a c-section is the best option. We’re the ones signing over our consent to be cut into, aren’t we?

    Want to start a campaign with me?? I will keep you posted on my progress. I’m still sitting w/ a low-lying placenta & have another scan & appt. w/ the consultant in 3 weeks. Once again into the breach…;)

    Many hugs to you lovely…I very sincerely hope you get everything you DESERVE! 😉


  • Honest Mum

    I am startled that if you have had 1 never mind 2 C sections that you can immediately opt for a selective Caesarian. Wow. I had a C section with Oliver and if I have any more children I hope I have the option to choose. I had OC, obstetric cholestasis which made me high risk and I have high odds of getting this pregnancy induced liver condition in subsequent pregnancies meaning a C section is probable. I’d like to know it’s guaranteed if I so choose.

    In other news, gorgeous scan picture and well done you two for waiting for a suprise x

  • jbmumofone

    Well congrats on your lovely healthy growing baby and stick to your guns! Good luck and keep us posted xxx

  • Rachel

    So glad the scan went well & well done on sticking to your guns & having a surprise.
    A posterior placenta is good, so he shouldn’t have worried you with the whole placenta accreta! I had that as well as placenta previa with my third (anterior placenta & prev c-section).
    I think u have a good case for surgery & you should ask to have your 2 previous scars removed in surgery & just one new scar made. The managed to do this with me!!

    Good luck xxx

  • Emily (@AMummyToo)

    Sorry to hear you’re feeling stressed. Great to hear everything on the scan was positive – hope you can continue to take heart from that. I think the fact that you’re preparing to go into the birth ready to stand up for what you want is a great thing and will no doubt help. I really hope you get the birth you’re hoping for, without complications, but I won’t tell you not to worry, because I know that’s easier said than done! x

  • Sarah

    Hi, can I just say well done on resisting the urge to find out!!

    Your post really got me though, as mum of 2 having 2 section, first was elective due to her being breech. Second time round I wanted to try it natural and ended up with severe blood loss due to a ruptured uterus. I’m not going into details but my view is, I was told I couldn’t be induced so if I was overdue I’d get a section. Then I moved and was told I could be induced and in the end I was. I was told after that if I had any more I would be booked in at 38 weeks as they won’t do vbac after 2 sections. What I don’t get is why different areas say different things and why put you under the worry for the rest of your pregnancy- I wish you all the luck in the world you get what you want which is happy healthy mum and baby however it happens!! Good luck for everything xx

    • ghostwritermummy

      I too was told that I could not be induced the second time. My section was booked for the 11th Dec, one week past my due date (they said that my son was measuring 5 weeks too small and so an early planned section would present difficulties for him). The hospital then called me on the 8th Dec to change the section date to the 15th, with no explanation. I went into labour on the 13th and encountered problems. This time, I need a planned section at 38 weeks as I don’t want to risk going into labour again. I;m sorry you had such a bad experience too but I really appreciate your comments. Thank you

  • catparrott

    I had a VBAC with my second son. I was very nervous but it all went well and I do agree that it was much easier to recover and deal with a small baby than after my C-section. Obviously I think you should be able to make a choice yourself but I just wanted you to know that a VBAC isn’t always terrible. Hope everything goes well either way. x

    • ghostwritermummy

      I know that a lot of women have a successful VBAC and last time I really wanted that to be me. Unfortunately I have tried twice and I don’t want to risk things going wrong again! Thanks so much for your comments, sometimes i do forget that VBACs are the right choice for so many women

  • Alma

    Congratulations on your pregnancy!! I’m impressed you are able to keep it a surprise – I couldn’t 😉 My in-laws are both GPs, as is my brother-in-law, and I also have a couple of friends who are GPs, all on the NHS, and all have said the same thing: it’s all about money.

    Also, hospitals also strictly audited nowadays, and so they can only perform a certain number of C-sections per month. They basically need to justify why they have chosen to give YOU a C-Section (as opposed to someone else who is having more complications).

    I had to fight SO hard the first time for a c-section – I was even in therapy to try and get over my phobia of giving birth (long story!) But I got it in the end – my father-in-law actually had to come to the Consultant’s appointment with me speak ‘doctor’!

    The second time my in-laws weren’t around and I had such a horrible pregnancy (some complications) yet the hospital was still trying to convince me to have a VBAC. All the doctors in my life (who LOVE me) strongly advised me against it because of the serious risks involved in VBAC – which of course they don’t tell you about. Yet the doctors who didn’t know me from Adam, and were thinking more about targets and auditors, wouldn’t agree to a planned c-section.

    I continued to fight, explaining to them that I came from a family of doctors (in fact my aunt is an ObGyn) that I was making an informed decision, that it wasn’t without the right research, and that it wasn’t out of stupidity or vanity! In the end, they agreed.

    You have stick to your guns – do all the research (non-NHS related!) you can get your hands on so you don’t find yourself in that situation again. They’re good at ‘scaring’ you away from what you think is right for you. GOOD LUCK and am thinking of you!!!

  • LagosMum

    So glad the scan went well 🙂 I don’t know how you can wait until the birth to know if it’s a boy or a girl! I couldn’t wait and wanted to know asap!

    When it comes to the delivery – you know what you’ve been through before and what you want for this baby’s birth – stick to your guns and don’t show any weakness. I’m sure everything will work out for the best!

  • Lorraine Berry

    Congrats on your fab scan!

    I cannot imagine that they will EVER turn down your request for an elective c section, even though they are keeping you (unfairly IMO) hanging on before confirming the decision. Info re placenta is part of the standard generalised risks associated with the operation, but common sense should surely prevail and the risks discussed based on your individual situation. Btw, even a successful VBAC would not eradicate the risk of placenta accreta – either you have it, or you don’t – your past c sections are what create the risk of it occurring in this pregnancy, not the mode of delivery for this pregnancy. Thankfully, your placenta has been very kind in implanting away from your scars, so it is one less thing to occupy your thoughts!
    I think they are trying to ensure you are fully informed of all pros and cons, but in doing so are confusing and complicating the decision. You know, and have known, for some time what the “right” choice is for you and your baby. I very much doubt that anyone is going to argue with you when it finally comes down to it!
    Keep looking at that healthy yoga baby you’ve got in there, let his / her (!) kicks keep reassuring you, keep strong in mind – the confidence will come back. You are making the right decision xx

  • waterbirthplease

    Wow! Such positive feedback – I’m really glad (and Alma’s comment – what an eye opener!) xxx

  • The Boy and Me (@TheBoyandMe)

    You stick to your guns! You *have* to have a planned c-section. They cannot put you, your husband and your children through this again!

  • Bod for tea

    I’m so glad that the scan went well my dear. Keep fighting!

  • Older mum

    I really hope you get your planned c-section request granted. If you don’t that’s psychologically cruel. Honestly some of the birth trauma stories I have read are awful – some of the liberties that are taken at the expense of respecting a womans body are terrible.

  • The fight continues « ghostwritermummy

    […] already blogged about my ‘fight’ for a c-section date for this pregnancy. Since last week, when the proposed new guidelines for c-sections were released […]

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