In the UK we have an anomaly scan at around 20 weeks. The scan looks in detail at the baby’s bones, heart, brain, spinal cord, face, kidneys and abdomen. It allows the sonographer to look specifically for a range of 11 conditions, some of which are very rare.
Mine was last week. I was in the twin room where I’ll have all my future scans. I knew it was going to take a while but was a bit gobsmacked when the sonographers told me it would be around 1.5 hours – 45 mins for each baby! But they have a lot of stuff to check.
It was lovely to see the babies moving around again. Then the serious business began. T1 hadn’t moved position, they are still head down almost in the middle of my belly slightly to the left facing front (which means we’re back to back – not great for labour so hoping they turn around). They were extremely well behaved, presenting everything to the sonographers who were able to get clear pictures all the way through.
I wasn’t so great, I started to feel very sick which I thought was because the sonographer was at times pressing my belly quite hard, but when I got really hot and the room started to blur I quickly spoke up. They turned me on my side just before I nearly passed out. The pressure of the babies and lying on my back was cutting off my blood supply. I knew this was a thing but hadn’t experienced it. It wasn’t nice. The rest of the scan was quite uncomfortable as although I was on my side for a lot of it I did have to keep going onto my back and could only generally manage it for about 10 mins before I started to feel sick again.
Happily they reported that T1 was fine and no issues seen. Also their placenta has moved up as my uterus has grown and is no longer low so that’s very good news.
T2 was naughty. They are on my right side. They kept turning around during the scan and wouldn’t open their hands so they sonographer couldn’t count their fingers. Then they couldn’t get a picture of their palate. They were scanning me through my back at one point. Then they tried to manually rotate the baby. That wasn’t actually as painful as I was expecting. They also seemed to have difficulty taking all the necessary pictures of the heart. Eventually after 1.45 hours they had everything they needed.
I then had a cervical scan – all is well as cervix is still nice and long. My husband got a shock when a round thing appeared on the screen which was T1’s head.
They then sat us down to report on T2. T2 is fine apart from the fact their umbilical cord only has one artery and one vein. Usually the cord has two arteries and a vein. Sometimes this is accompanied by heart, kidney or chromosome issues – all of which have been ruled out for T2, and partly explained why the scan of the heart was so long. But they are at risk of restricted fetal growth. If there was only one baby we’d now be referred for monthly monitoring but we’re going to be getting that anyway as we’re having twins. They were at pains to reassure us that the growth at the moment is spot on and nothing to worry about.
Obviously we are concerned. But we just have to get on with things and hope T2 continues to grow well and be reassured that at least we are getting monitored. I know that if growth does become restricted then the twins are looking at early delivery. Fingers crossed that we don’t have to cross that hurdle. I want them to stay in as long as possible.
Due to the stress of the scan we didn’t actually take any pictures which I regret a bit. But we’ll have another scan in 4 weeks and can get some then.
At times I have still struggled a bit with the donor egg decision, largely because I worry about the future and how decisions we made will impact our children. And sometimes I do feel sad that I won’t have children who are genetically related to me. But when I heard that T2 might have an issue I felt what any parent would feel. I realised that it’s normal to worry about your children now and for their future. I love my babies and it doesn’t matter that they aren’t from my eggs. They are growing inside me and I just want them to be ok.