Monday, April 9, 2007

Flicker, Flicker (Wk 8: PREGNANCY)

June 21, 2005

There was hardly time to be nervous. I arrived thirty minutes early for my first prenatal visit, expecting six tree's worth of paperwork. Turns out, all I had to sign were two release forms. So I sat down ready for an eternal wait only to be called back fifteen minutes before my actual appointment.

"My husband! Please can I call him?" I pled to the nurse. "He was going to try and come. Can anyone go ahead of me?" I paged Tom, at work several blocks down in this mammoth downtown hospital.

Pacing frantically, I prayed for him to arrive in time for the ultrasound. Just as I began to picture him tied up with some trauma too horrific for him to glance at his pager, he came rolling down the escalator in the lobby toward me. With hardly time for "hello," we raced back to the ultrasound room, where my husband plopped down on the table.

It's a Baby, Alright!

"I'm glad you're so excited," said the technician, "but we'll be doing the ultrasound on your wife."

As Tom sheepishly moved to a chair, I stood there sheepishly wondering if I were supposed to undress. I don't mind taking it off for medical professionals, but I prefer to do the strip alone. The tech stood there waiting on me, then told me to sit down and unroll my skirt. "Oh! It's not transvaginal, is it?"

Nope! Early as I am, we did it the old fashioned way. The tech covered my belly with cold jelly, and I wondered if we'd get a clear picture. I began to feel a little nervous. Then I saw it: my little baby on the screen.

Now, I had vowed never to bore my friends with ultrasound pictures. Any time anyone has ever shown one to me, I've stared at the black and white blur unable to make heads or tails of it. Literally.

So it shocked me to instantly recognize everything I saw on the screen. "There's the head! There's the body! Oh my gosh, I even see the arm and leg buds! And is that the heartbeat? That flickering? He has a heartbeat!" Tom and I proudly watched our baby on TV, certain it was the most photogenic embryo to hit the small screen.

Making the Grade

Our baby's first pictures in hand, we headed to an exam room to meet with the doctor and nurse. As the nurse handed me all the you're-going-to-have-a-baby literature, I felt so official. There I sat, not for a lame pap smear, but with all the importance of a mother-to-be.

We discussed the due date with my doctor-- in my mind, an important first step in our relationship. The nurses with whom I'd previously spoken all insisted on using the date of my last menstrual period to date the pregnancy. As if all women ovulate on day 14!

"Look," I said to the doctor, "I used OPKs, charted my cervical mucus, and took my basal body temperature. All of them agree that I ovulated on the 20th day of my cycle. I know when we conceived this baby." Ready to pull my chart out of the holster, I prepared for battle. My OB looked at me, nodded his head in agreement, and said, "Isn't it cool when you see that temp rise and know what's going on?"

He added that my ultrasound dated me as 8 weeks and 6 days, but that it has a five-day margin of error. We used my ovulation date to determine I was actually 8 weeks and 2 days, giving me an estimated due date of January 28th, 2006.

During my exam, I rattled off my litany of concerns. After answering each one, my doctor said, "You're going to have to get used the to the idea of having a baby. You're chance of miscarriage at this point is 2-3%. You're going to have a baby."

(Update: The issue of my due date returned toward the end of my pregnancy, as if my doctor had forgotten this discussion.)

Belly Pic, Week 8

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