***Sorry for the long intros lately, but you can always rest assured that any post without the word “fucking” in the title has a semi-happy ending. Don’t worry.
I’ve figured out how I’m going to make my millions. Ready for this? Four little words: At. Home. Ultrasound. Machine. My market would be primarily infertiles wanting the constant reassurance that their little bean was still growing, and also any unlucky ladies who suffer from prolonged first trimester bleeding. It would have a giant, idiot-proof heart rate monitor that would immediately light up and say, “CALM DOWN YOU CRAZY BITCH, YOUR BABY’S HEART IS STILL BEATING.” I mean, really. In this day and age, shouldn’t there be an app for that?
I called my OB/GYN this morning and as usual, they were not as concerned as I was. They didn’t have any appointments but offered to schedule me an ultrasound at the hospital’s outside lab. I thought that was very nice of them. The nurse warned that they would not be able to give me results at the appointment, but would rather call them in to my doctor, who would in turn call me. In my mind I was thinking, “I’ll just cry and scream until they tell me what’s going on. I’ll refuse to leave.” She said sometimes they will point out the heartbeat, but it just depends on who I got. So I spent the entire day hoping I had a compassionate, caring person who wasn’t into the particular torture of not telling me whether or not my baby had a heartbeat.
The doctor’s office called a few minutes later and also requested that I go for blood work, just to make sure that was all OK. I thought that was a little odd (doesn’t the ultrasound show you more than blood can?) Apparently the doctor who I usually see requested it, and I winced at hearing her name. She specifically told me to wait a few months before getting pregnant again (she’s the one who did my D&C). I haven’t seen her yet, but I’m fully expecting a scolding when I do see her again. Especially now with all my issues. I can’t even pull the, “Oops, didn’t mean to!” I suppose I could say, “Oops, I accidentally got this embryo injected into my ute! I thought I was just getting a pap smear, dammit!”
Truth be told, I couldn’t have imagined surviving the weekend without seeing the heartbeat again. I have negative things associated with ultrasounds at New Hope, not to mention it’s particularly awful to hear your babies are dead when you’re two hours away from home.
Furthermore, I am starting to despise the term “spotting.” Spotting sounds so innocent, so light, so carefree. It sounds like a dab here and a pinch there and tra-la-la-la-la. When people ask me if I’m still “spotting,” I want to say, “No actually, I’m flowing. I’m running like the damn Mississippi River. You could go kayaking.”
I’m being dramatic (what else is new?). While Tuesday evening and Wednesday were pretty flow-like, by Thursday morning the blood could be classified as spotting, I suppose. It came and went every couple of hours. That’s equally frustrating, however, because every time I felt I was in the clear and dried up, it would suddenly start again. But from now on I insist we call it bleeding when that’s what it is. So I’m here to say that first trimester spotting, first trimester flowing and maybe even first trimester gushing (there were moments) still does not necessarily mean it’s the end of the world.
My ultrasound tech at the hospital was approximately 14 years old. I had to refrain from asking Doogie Howser if she herself was menstruating yet. Whatever. She was very nice and chatty and did offer to point out the heartbeat if and when she saw it. She scanned for what felt months and then pointed out the faint, faint flicker on the screen. I was watching her like a hawk and she typed in the letters HB on the screen… then she erased it. I said, “Why did you do that?” in my best stern voice. She replied, “Oh, because I was done.” I couldn’t help but feel like she was lying. She made me hold my breath several times so she could “verify the heartbeat.” I’m thinking, if you have to look that hard to find it, is it really there? She was so smiley and happily chatting that I couldn’t imagine the news was bad. Wouldn’t somber news require a more somber tone? Or was she just a crazy bubbly person with no empathy? She specifically said, “I can tell you if I see a heartbeat, but I can’t comment on whether it’s too fast or too slow. You’ll have to wait for the doctor for that.”
Next, Doogie promised I would get to speak with my doctor on the phone before leaving the building. Again, very nice of her. She said as she was leaving me in the waiting room, “The heartbeat is there, it just might be too slow. Your doctor can tell you more.” Despite her promise of letting me talk to someone before leaving, the front desk people shooed me out before I got the phone call, so it was all just messing with my emotions. As usual.
I was sitting in the waiting room to get the blood work when Eric called to say that one of his good friends, someone who had been at our wedding, someone who Eric had just seen the day before, was found dead this morning. No one knew how or why. I was in shock and just wanted to get home to him, but was stuck waiting even longer to get a beta after a non-reassuring ultrasound. Did I mention I’m not supposed to be stressing out?
The nurse from my OB/GYN called about 30 minutes later. I felt a bit of relief at hearing her voice, knowing that for positively dire news the doctor would call me personally. She confirmed what Doogie had been hinting at all along – Baby Toast’s heartbeat is slower than they’d like to see. Oh, they also confirmed that I do have a subchorionic bleed (or subchorionic hematoma), so that’s the likely source of the bleeding. Basically with one phone call she got me to stop worrying about the bleeding and start worrying about something completely new and frightening – a slow fetal heart rate.
If you ever get this particular diagnosis, DO NOT GOOGLE IT. My first hits included such gems as “fetal mortality rate of 60%” and the like. There were also plenty of success stories of heart rates that magically went from 87 to 150 (or whatever perfect is) in as short as a week. Sigh. I don’t know. The ultrasound was supposed to be reassurance for the weekend and now I’m more freaked out than ever. Lots of women of the interwebs are quick to point out that 6 weeks is so early to make a call on it, but I’m also remembering how nothing was said at my appointment on Tuesday. So are things getting worse?
I have another ultrasound Monday at New Hope (my third in a week’s time) and then my OB/GYN scheduled a “viability ultrasound” for Thursday. It even has to be in a special room. I think that will officially puts me at ultrasound addict status. On one hand my heart is swelling with pride at how much of a drama queen this little girl is (just like her mama). On the other, I’m effing terrified. As usual.