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My Low Papp A story - Sandy Jade Ridpath


At 12 weeks I was sent a letter from the hospital advising that recent tests had shown my baby had Low Papp A. I wrote a blog about how I felt, the information and stories I had read about and how I was dealing with the news. But I didn’t write my full experience....

After having so many people contact me from all over the world asking about my story, needing that glimmer of light at the end of what seems an ever so dark tunnel, here’s the rest of my low Papp A journey;


In my last blog I hadn’t got to the point of starting any extra tests or consultant visits, so let’s start from there. My first growth scan was daunting, like any scan it’s the “what ifs” in your head that keep playing over and over. I knew it would be quite a long scan and expected there to be lots of silence as they carefully measured and assessed data. My husband is very mathematically and scientifically minded, and he said that what ever they saw now (unless very alarming) would just be the start of the growth chart - this is our starting point and they needeed some kind of reference.


During the scan the sonographer was very positive and chatty and put us both very much at ease, but I felt I needed the green light from the consultant too. The next day we returned to the hospital to see the consultant. He was very calm, collected and professional but also easy to talk to which was nice. He explained what my husband had thought; this was the first phase and he couldn’t see anything as of yet that would cause any immediate concern. He very strongly recommend against a home birth, he advised me that he would like me on a high risk ward so there would be professionals on hand and the baby would be closely monitored throughout labour. He advised me it was very likely the baby would be premature, as my first son was, and that it’s likely my body won’t carry large babies. He said I would be induced if I made it to 39 weeks as there have been cases of Low Papp A babies being still born due to the placenta not coping after full term - none of us wanted to take that risk, even if the thought of another induction was terrifying.


I took this as a positive, they didn’t seem massively concerned about our baby but put precautions in place. I did however fear my baby coming at any time, the fear of him having to stay in hospital, or not bringing him home at all....this fear drove me a little crazy. So I focused on not having an induction and was still fixed on the idea of a home birth....crazy I know but I HATE hospitals (we will get onto that).


Every appointment we attended our baby surprised us, he was always bang on where they expected him to be, his flow from the placenta was strong and his movements were non stop. Our little fighter. But even after all these incredible positive outcomes I felt that they had missed something, we won’t know until he is born. I felt so hopeless and powerless to the situation.


I liked having my first son as a surprise I liked not knowing. But we agreed that we would find out the gender of our second baby, as soon as we could we did, another son, how wonderful! My husband thought planning his arrival, sorting out clothes and the nursery would keep my mind from worrying. I’m sure it helped but I fell into a spiral; to the point where my midwife sent me for some support. I had over the phone counselling sessions as I felt I had no bond with my baby; I didn’t feel motherly towards him. They thought it was PTSD and a huge fear of hospitals from previous life events and that potentially being told I would be on a high risk ward to birth him was the underlying issue. I ate continuously, without even realising, I actually didn’t know until much after his birth that I did it, my mum said she could see the fear of having a very small, fragile baby was making me eat to feed him (I know this isn’t how it works but I guess you do it instinctively?). I was loosing the plot, I felt I didn’t love my baby the way I should and couldn’t understand why.


I hit full term....


I sat down with my consultant and we made a deal, if the baby came before 39 weeks (that’s when my induction was booked) I could have a fully monitored water birth on the low risk ward. My husband would rather I was on high risk but knew just being told the above would make me relax more. I then made it my mission to get baby out, you name it we did it! Aromatherapy, massage, clary sage, expressing colostrum, walking lots and everywhere, sex, bouncing on my ball, spicy foods, stretch and sweeps, 7 in total....YES 7!

And......nothing! What happened to this hugely premature baby?


My induction date arrived, I got a call that my slot had been pushed back, we waited patiently to go in. We arrived and they explained I would be monitored, a pessary was then placed...nothing, more stretch and sweeps....then my midwife came in explaining that something had shown up on my monitor and they wanted me to go down to the labour ward and have my waters ruptured immediately.

We headed down and I laid all my cards on the table to my midwife.....I told her my fears and the way I felt, my worries. I was then ready, It was go time. Let’s do this. Let’s birth my baby!


To get to establish labour it took the 2 hour window I’d been given, 1 hour and 36 mins later, with the help of gas and air my beautiful, healthy, happy, 7lbs 7oz baby boy was born at 39 weeks 6 days. He was utterly perfect. I heard the midwife say as I birthed the placenta....that is no Low Papp A baby.


The placenta was huge and pulsing and he was healthy and glowing and fed like a dream, soon falling into a deep baby milky sleep. He was so healthy and the birth went so well that we were home with in hours!


Jacob is now almost 10months, he’s so cheeky, clever, funny and handsome (even if I am a little biased) he eats me out of house and home and is my little warrior - anything I think he can’t do he surprises me, including eating the dogs food if I don’t catch him quick enough!


We had a rocky start, I finally accepted I had PND and seeked help. I am now on medication and doing really well. I know now that my way of dealing with all the awful things I convinced myself would happen was by me distancing my self from my baby. If I didn’t love him too much or bond with him then if I need to leave him in the neonatal unit small fragile, connected to support machines in an incubator, it would have been easier if we didn’t have that special bond. Now I look back it wouldn’t have mattered it wouldn’t have made it easier. I feel I wasted so much time worrying and not bonding and that carried through until I got help, and finally until he smiled at me the first time. That was when I truly realised it was all ok he’s here and safe. I’m sharing this because I don’t want you to miss out on enjoying your pregnancy and mainly because if I had found just one positive story when I was told he had Low Papp A, I may have had a different more positive approach so I’m hoping that you can now read my story and know everything was just fine if not perfect!