anxiety, pregnancy, single mom by choice, SMC

ultrasound #1

Well, that did not go as expected!

My sweet sister B met me in the waiting room on the 7th floor at UCSF this afternoon. I’d been feeling mild butterflies and a lot of giddy nervous energy going in. Hoping and hoping and hoping they would see whatever they’re supposed to see. Acutely aware that I could be launched into joy or grief with one wave of the transvaginal wand.

B had me choose a random goddess card in the waiting room. I chose Vesta, the goddess of hearth and home, inviting me to make my home a warm, welcoming place including upgrades like “welcoming a new occupant.” We had a good laugh over that one.

In the exam room, B had me breathe and visualize my grounding cord connected to the center of the earth.

The NP came in and her name is Stephanie–the same lady who knocked me up! I thanked her. We got down to business and she immediately saw the gestational sac (YAY!) and the yolk sac (YAY!) and then said she’d come back to that in a minute… Then she probed around my ovaries and fallopian tubes to rule out an ectopic pregnancy or a second embryo (which were indeed ruled out–YAY!) and then she came back to the sac and got quiet and then we entered a timeless vaccuum wherein I was suspended in outer space with nothing to hold on to.

Then she pulled out the wand, notably before she had pointed out an actual baby. She explained that she wasn’t able to see the fetal pole, which she would have expected to see at this stage (6 weeks and 4 days), but sometimes things get calculated wrong due to natural variations so I should come back in a week. Given that there is no question about when I conceived, there is less room for variation, but she suggested “guarded hope” since she’s seen this go either way. She said, “I’m sorry, I wish I had more definitive news.”

I made an appt for one week from today (unfortunately with Dr. Fujimoto, who is famous for making people cry!) and walked outside with my sister. I was in shock. I was poised for definitive news! And this was pretty inconclusive and dire sounding. In the car, I started spiraling. My sister was awesome. She had me put one hand on my heart and one on my belly and ask myself, “What is the gift in this moment?” So many…. my heart said, “I am alive. I am feeling so many emotions. I am mindful of the jackhammer down the block and the bird chirping in the tree above my parked car.” Then it said, “And the baby is OK.”

I texted Dr. Beans, whose response was, “Don’t worry. Sounds normal for 6 weeks. We usually don’t ultrasound until 8 weeks for that reason.” HUGE relief, because Beans delivers babies and would be straight with me. I got home and consulted Dr. Google. Many, many examples of women in this exact situation. Some turn out viable, some do not, but it’s a sketchy week for seeing fetal poles. (From Wikipedia: “The fetal pole is a thickening on the margin of the yolk sac of a fetus during pregnancy. It is usually identified at 6.5 weeks with abdominal ultrasound imaging, and 6 weeks with vaginal ultrasound imaging. However it is quite normal for the fetal pole to not be visible until about 9 weeks.“)

I called my Mom and Dad and held it together for the first few minutes but when I eventually burst into tears they were like OH NO YOU DON’T! Have you read your own blog? You need to stay POSITIVE! They were tough love with zero tolerance on worrying–they made me laugh. I had a great call with also-prego L who also underscored positivity and faith. Then I got this email from Olga:

Hi Katie,
Sorry I am replying to this email so late. I see that you made it to your ultrasound appointment and it is a viable pregnancy! That is fantastic news! Congratulations I am so happy for you. Please continue to keep me posted! Olga
As usual, Olga comes in from left field. Then gay bf J texted to check in, I sent him the news about the sacs and he texted back, “Wonderful! He/she has a house now!”

Deeeep breath. I feel like I’ve experienced all of the following this afternoon (in this order): cautious optimism, empty shock, stoic resignation, waves of sadness and fear, a moment of despair, levity, relief, laughter, balancing on a tightrope, back to normal, anger at technology, fatigue, and now beating myself up for not staying more grounded.

So, for all that, Olga says it’s a viable pregnancy. So that’s worth celebrating!

I celebrated by going out for a $160 money order and passport photos for my tourist visa appointment at the Brazilian consulate tomorrow morning. I also stopped at Jamba Juice for a fancy mango smoothie and Safeway for a fancy piece of wild salmon. I feel fine. Nothing is wrong. B pointed out that if the lentil is due to triple in size this week, then a few days clearly makes a huge difference.

Please send lentil love!


12 thoughts on “ultrasound #1”

  1. What a roller coaster. I was hanging on to your every word reading this. Being, “poised for definitive news” captures so much in my mind. Please tell us all the details as they come in. Now we’re all poised. “However it is quite normal for the fetal pole to not be visible until about 9 weeks.” Sweet Wiki.

  2. that olga sounds like a real piece of work– she can really make one soar or flop, that one! glad you’re soaring today!!! keep it up!! congratulations!!!

    — hilary, from smc…

  3. Oh my gosh, Mama!
    You are a Mamainthemaking!!!
    I swear, I couldn’t read your post fast enough. Yowza.
    When I went in for my first one for the girl, he said it measured too small and went through the whole saga about my egg quality yada yada yada and had me sobbing…and…my mom in tears as well. My mom is definitely NOT a crier!
    Your sister is absolutely right. A few days can make all of the difference.
    Ed would say, “they only know what they know,” meaning that they can base their observations on experience, but can never be sure simply because everyone develops differently.
    Remember that our boy embryo didn’t even make it to the transfer day…but then they called the following morning to tell us that it did actually continue growing and did we want to freeze it. Ummmm,yeah!

  4. Darn phone and those blasted typos!
    Also wanted to add that at the 20 week ultrasound for the boy, he showed premature atrial contraction. His heartbeat was terribly irregular. You cannot imagine how devastated I was when the doc told me they hoped I would make it to 27 weeks and that there would be a chance of a stillbirth anyway! (Way to help keep the pregnant lady calm!
    As it turns out, his electrical system was just immature, because 10 days later he was perfect. Perfect!
    So, my friend.
    Keep visualizing and rest your hands on your baby send it my love.
    (And tomorrow go to Dropbox cos I loaded a bunch of pictures I took of those books I recommended for you.)
    I love you, Mme Jeanne!

  5. I’m sorry to go back to Olga, but does she have an extra piece of information that you don’t know, and that might be calming for you? Is it worth calling/emailing her so all communication about the ultrasound lines up? Or would that just be stirring things up and its better to wait for the next ultrasound anyway? What are your thoughts and feelings today?

    1. Wig, I don’t exactly trust Olga’s medical expertise at this point but I feel like she probably looked at thr same data and felt it was worthy of congratulations. I did email het to ask though, no response yet. I’m getting tidal waves of reassurance that it was simply too early. Relaxing, accepting, meditating. More soon xo

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