I was dreading the first visit to the midwife. I knew my GP was comfortable with me getting pregnant at my age but I was worried about the rest of the NHS staff. My first appointment was less than a week after I had tested positive but by the time it came round I was officially 5 weeks and 1 day pregnant – very odd. It’s strange the things you don’t know when you’re pregnant for the first time, I had no idea you are technically pregnant from the date of your Last Menstrual Period (LMP) – which was about 3 years ago in my case!
I went along with a small notebook which has become my pregnancy bible. On the front page, I have all the key dates ie fertilisation date, embryo transfer and from these I worked out my estimated due date (EDD) & the donor’s LMP. I also noted down the medication I was taking and key phone numbers. I used this online ivf calculator to work out the LMP and EDD. I had questions for the midwife written down and I was feeling a little bit of pressure to get some results.
Reprofit wanted my HCG levels monitored via blood tests done at regular intervals to check the hormone is increasing at the expected rate. Most people get these done at a local fertility clinic but I didn’t have links with any and was struggling to find a private provider locally. Reprofit also wanted an early scan, at around the 6-7 week mark when a heartbeat should be detectable. I understood the importance of this as heartbeat is a key measure of their success. In 2014, 70.3% of donor egg cycles at Reprofit resulted in a positive pregnancy test and 56.2% resulted in a heartbeat detected (blame those awful chemical pregnancies/early miscarriages for the difference). I also wanted to see a heartbeat as soon as possible as I was still worried at the prospect of a chemical.
Much to my relief my first appointment went surprisingly well. The midwife took my contact details and date of birth and explained the basics eg. which foods to avoid in pregnancy. She explained that, because of my age, they would want to take extra care with me so there would be an automatic referral for consultant led care. I would be sent a pack of information in the post, including my maternity notes, along with an appointment to go along for a longer meeting with a midwife called the “booking appointment”, during which they would also take some basic blood tests.
She explained that the NHS does not offer HCG testing but she understood why I would want an early scan. She gave me the number of the EPAU (Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit), based at the hospital, and said to give them a call and see if they would consider an early scan on the grounds of my age and it being an IVF pregnancy.
I sat in the car park of the GP surgery and phoned the EPAU and was hugely relieved when they agreed to scan my and gave me an appointment for a couple of weeks time. Reprofit would just have to do without their HCG levels.
Now I just had to sit and wait and hope that everything continued to go well.