Supporting best friend - abnormalities at 20 week scan

(18 Posts)
Paintyfingers Fri 28-Mar-14 13:53:19

Please can anyone offer any advice on how best I can support my bf?

She had her 21 week scan last week and then a further scan this week which has confirmed that her baby has likely brain, cardiac and kidney problems. The nuchal fold was also excessively thick.

My understanding is that they have said only a very small percentage of healthy babies would have this scan result.

She is being offered an amino and they have already mentioned the option of induced labour/medical termination.

What can I do to support her? I will offer support and tell her I am always there for her.

She is now 22 weeks, so quite close to the 24 week cut off iirc that this is a deadline for a decision.

What will happen next?

Sorry if these questions are really stupid but I am so shocked and upset for her - not really thinking straight. I know about ARC and SANDS, but don't know if she does, or if I should mention them to her and when?

Paintyfingers Fri 28-Mar-14 19:23:03


Booboostoo Sat 29-Mar-14 11:55:59

I didn't want to read and run...I am very sorry for your friend. I don't have any experience of this, but I imagine it's an awful situation for her. I don't know what is the best way to support her, just try to be there for her and see what she needs from you. She may need to talk about it, or be distracted, or have someone to hold her hand during procedures, I don't know, but you sound like a loving friend and I am sure you'll find a way to be there for her.

I hope it's good news against all odds.

bishboschone Sat 29-Mar-14 12:03:16

I have never posted before as it's always too close but as this is your friend and not you I will.. I have a 2.9 year old ds with sn.. I had a normal ish pregnancy except I had high odds for some trisomys early on. I had a cvs and was told my baby was fine.. Well he isn't , he is globally delayed of unknown cause .. Whilst I love him to bits , he can't walk and talk and life is hard. We have to move house so we accommodate his walker and possibly wheelchair in the future . I can't work and who knows what the future holds Except it's unlikely he will live independently .. Now I say this as we were told our son was fine and your friend is told her baby has problems so if the baby survives it will be a rough road for her ... She needs to be prepared for that and how it will affect her other children ( if she has any) I'm not saying any decisions are easy but I feel
Compelled to tell you my sTory of a child with sn.

bishboschone Sat 29-Mar-14 12:17:47

By the way I believe you can abort right up to term for abnormalities .. She will be given the amino and when they have decided what ( if anything ) is wrong then she will be given her options .

Paintyfingers Sat 29-Mar-14 12:48:53

Thank you so much for posting. I am sitting down to read your comments now.

BobbyGentry Sat 29-Mar-14 13:10:51

If not done already then please contact ARC (Antenatal Results and Choices) charity to professional support, sorry to hear, hard times ahead.

BobbyGentry Sat 29-Mar-14 13:11:19
HerrenaHarridan Sat 29-Mar-14 16:49:53

Firstly to get it out of the way pp is correct a foetus with disabilities can be aborted right up to term in this country. Although of course the later this is the more traumatic it would be for everyone involved.

In the right now I would say take the lead from your friend she may not want to go out much as it's difficult to act like your thinking about anything else so if she's not out much drop in with some choc and a DVD and see of she wants you to hang about. She might not but you have shown her you will be there.

If she does want to talk about DONT try and provide answers you don't have or useless platitudes.

Counsellors often use an echoing technique to empathise with their clients so rephrasing what they have said shows that you have listened and tried to understand.
Acknowledging that her feelings are valid and NONE of them make her a bad person.

I've been where she is and fwiw I buried my self in books and longed for the days when I smoked blush

Paintyfingers Sat 29-Mar-14 19:38:37

Thank you so much for all the advice. It was so kind of people to share their personal experiences with me so I can try to help her.

She has been told by the hospital that they want to stay within the 24 week limit - I don't really know why.

She is of course very very upset, but I have managed to pass on a link to an ARC leaflet.

bishboschone Sat 29-Mar-14 20:14:55

I'm sorry she is going through this , you sound like a lovely friend . I lost lots of friends in the first year as they simply couldn't cope with the situation ( shame on them ) . X

teenybash7 Sat 29-Mar-14 20:21:08

Been there too. Just show her you care by being available. As HH says, avoid platitudes. And remember, something like this takes a long time to get over.

HerrenaHarridan Sat 29-Mar-14 20:27:27

Painty, It can be very difficult to find a medical team that will be involved in a late abortion unless the feotus is considered to be unviable.
It really is not a pleasant thing for anyone however she legally can insist that they find her someone who will if she feels strongly that she can't offer a severely disabled child the life it deserves

The good news is that if this is the hospitals attitude hopefully this reflects their view of the severity of the child's needs.

Fwiw we were told my dd would never walk or be continent that she would have hydrocephalus and associated learning difficulties and be reliant on a shunt.
As it is a 2 she can walk both with and without her splints, continence remains to be seen but no hydrocephalus or learning difficulties. There are stresses and pressures additional to those that are standard but she is an absolute joy

Louisajane27 Sat 29-Mar-14 20:42:13

Hi, I have recently been through a similar experience so I thought I might share and see if I can help. 16 days ago I gave birth to my ds2 we found during our 3rd trimester that he has brain damage, heart problems, an enlarged liver and is very small for he's gestation. We were told that all this was properly caused by a metabolic disorder and that he wouldn't live long. Luckily he is a little fighter and doing well in nicu. I have had amazing support from family and friends over the last few months. My advice would be is to talk to her "normally", I hated it when a few people treated me differently. Let her share as much or as little as she likes, for me it was like a roller coaster some days I need to talk and other days I just couldn't think about things. I hope this has helped a bit? X

HerrenaHarridan Sat 29-Mar-14 22:29:17

Oh Louisa, how heart wrenching for you. Fingers crossed for getting him home soon xxxxx

Paintyfingers Sun 30-Mar-14 07:56:19

Louisa, that is very helpful and does sound exactly like she is feeling. I will be thinking of you and your DS2 thanks

Louisajane27 Sun 30-Mar-14 15:42:53

Thank you both and I'm glad that I could help smile

mb2512cat Thu 03-Apr-14 10:21:09

You are such a good friend to be asking this question! She is already going to be in a less worse place because of you. I have been on the receiving end of bad scans many times (I've has far more bad than good) and it's a devastating time when it happens to you. You go in, thinking the scan is routine and just so you can see pics of your baby that you can add to Facebook and find out the sex, but in reality they are looking for potentially devastating abnormalities. My first pregnancy they found abnormalities at the 12wk scan, and in my subsequent pregnancy they found abnormalities at the 20wk scan. We didn't want to terminate, so let things progress until the point where the scans got so bad all hope was lost. I don't have any advice on what your friend should do - that's up to her, her DH and the doctor's advice that they get. Whatever they decide, just try to be as supportive and as non-judgemental as you can. They will be judging themselves out of sanity already. Yes, do mention ARC to them - I am in their forum. Either way, I hope the nature of your friend's baby's abnormalities are those that can be fixed and not of the unfixable kind. Take care.

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