Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My First OB Appointment: High Emotions

In general, this blogging community has been an immense support, provided me with valuable information, and offered a safe-haven to truly understand and be understood. Yet, sometimes, I am faced with the primary draw-back. Hearing about others' success gives me hope. Reading about others' struggles when I am also struggling makes me feel less alone. But hearing about when things go wrong for others, when they seem to going right for you, just causes me anxiety and panic.

The scenario of having a healthy heartbeat at week 5, 6, or even 7 and then no heartbeat by weeks 8, 9, or 10 has been forefront on my mind these past several days. Of course this isn't the norm, but it does seem to have popped up on the blogosphere a few times in the past week or so. The stories and the idea of this happening to me is terrifying.

It is hard to imagine that you could become so attached in just a few short weeks, less than two months. I can't say that I am attached to the actual fetus inside me - this just seems too abstract. But I am definitely attached to the idea of being pregnant and of having a child in November. We started talking about names last weekend. I have started investigating baby strollers and car-seats. We walked through the baby isles in Target without feeling ashamed.

This past weekend was especially big. On Saturday we went out with a group of close friends who we felt comfortable enough telling the news. Much of the dinner was not just about my birthday but also about the congratulations of our pregnancy. On Sunday, we went to a 3-year-old birthday party for one of the nephews. All of C's sisters were there as well as his parents, which was the first time seeing most of them since C told them the news over the phone. There were lots of congratulations, baby and pregnancy talk, and offering of old baby items (free crib!!!).  At the end of the party, when everyone else had left and we weren't worried about the kids keeping their mouths shut, C told the older nieces. I was really nervous about this, especially as our appointment was until this past Tuesday, but he was really excited to see their reactions in person. The rest of the evening and the following day, they made a game over coming up with baby names for us (some decent ones and other ridiculous-just-for-fun names, like Quesadilla and Tinker Bell).

The whole weekend just seemed so perfect, too perfect. And we know how I feel about jinxing myself. This was a huge jinx of a weekend.

By Tuesday I had worked myself into a major state of dysphoria. I wasn't so much anxious or fearful, as I had skipped straight to knowing that it was over. This was all just a dream. The fantasy is done. I spent the drive to the doctor's office mourning the loss of this pregnancy.

When I pulled into the parking lot, C was waiting for me. I managed to pull myself together to not be a complete nut-case. My regular OB is an older guy and has an old-fashioned sort of office. He still uses paper-charts, but did have computer access to my previous testing and ultrasound information.

The appointment itself was primarily just a consultation. He began by congratulation both of us. He asked us what questions we had so many times that we began to feel unprepared. He was very relaxed and thorough in his answers, generally having me rely on "common sense." He reassured us that the pregnancy should progress as normal from hear-on-out despite the way in which we conceived, but said that there was anecdotal evidence that IVF-conceived babies tend to have a higher rate of cesarean deliveries (interesting...). He commented that my last ultrasound, at 6 weeks 4 days, was "pretty recent" and "looked perfect". It was at that moment that I realized it... he was not planning on repeating the ultrasound! And the panic returned.

In as calm of a tone as I could muster, I explained that I have been reading some things and, for better or worse, it has come up on more than one occasion where there is a heartbeat on the first ultra-sound but not a week or two later. I completely qualified myself as crazy, but I asked him to "prove that I am still pregnant."

Unfortunately, my lovely OB with his old-fashioned office and paper charts, does not have an ultra-sound in his satellite office. The office we were sitting in. He does have a dopplar and offered to listen for a heartbeat, but asked, "How upset would you be if we can't hear a heartbeat today?" Ummmm, VERY! He explained that hearbeats can sometimes be heard on the doppler by 9 weeks, but not reliably until 12 weeks. So we agreed to forgo this.

He was very responsive to my request, however, and agreed to schedule an ultra-sound later this week, as early as the next day. It is scheduled for tomorrow morning. He will perform it at his other office, in-between his other cases.

While I was definitely disappointed that nothing was confirmed at this appointment, I did learn some valuable lessons. First, I really like by OB. He is somehow both completely relaxed and low-key at the same time as being extremely responsive and non-judgmental about my neuroses. Secondly, I learned that I am completely ridiculous and over-reactive and I promised myself that, going forward, and I am going to only worry about the things that I can control and trust that things will work out. (Feel free to remind me of this later on...). Of course, I am still going in for the ultrasound to confirm...

So, long post with little information. Still no confirmation, but I'm focusing on the mantra of "pregnant unless proven otherwise".


  1. Sometimes you just have to have proof. There's nothing wrong with that. We had our first appointment with our new OB (after moving to a different state), but we only saw him for a couple seconds so he could tell us that he wouldn't be able to meet with us. I immediately began to panic and we asked the nurse if we could get some sort of confirmation of life. She asked one of the other docs and we got a crappy u/s (the machine was 25 years old) and a doppler check. Just remember that even if you appear crazy to anyone else, you are only doing things to take care of yourself.

  2. Oh my, such a range of emotions. Hope a feeling of peace returns soon with confirmation.

  3. Ah, I get it all too well! But your doctor sounds amazing. I love that combo. Sounds like my OB. I also understand what you mean about reading about things going wrong, out there in the blogosphere---I keep reading and supporting, but then later, the stories of hearts stopping beating and so on kind of seep into my unconscious. It's hard to know how to handle the situation. I don't want to abandon my tribe. ~theunexpectedtrip