We had our first ultrasound this morning. I was really, really nervous about it ahead of time, terrified they wouldn’t be able to find the embryo because I was having an ectopic pregnancy, or that it would be otherwise clearly doomed. I prayed for a better outcome, of course, but mostly I prayed that God would give me the strength to deal with whatever happened.
It is some offshoot of Murphy’s Law that when you are really worried about a medical appointment, that will be the day the doctor’s office is running way behind. I showed up on time at 10:30, with the full bladder the woman who’d scheduled the appointment said I would need for the scan, and I waited, and waited, and waited. There is a sign in the clinic waiting room that says “If you have been waiting more than 15 minutes, please speak to the receptionist.” I did speak to her, three times. She was very apologetic, but couldn’t get anyone in ultrasound to pick up the phone. My need to pee became more and more urgent.
Finally, at 11:25, they called me back. The ultrasound tech introduced herself and pointed out the small bathroom adjacent to the ultrasound room, instructing me to disrobe and “empty my bladder.” I stared at her.
Penelope said, “They told her she needed a full bladder.”
“Not for a vaginal ultrasound,” the tech replied. Now she tells me!
Anyway, that discomfort behind me, the ultrasound itself was painless and mostly very reassuring. Within moments, I was looking at the image above: one embryo in my uterus, right where it should be. Only one: I will not be having multiples. (I felt a stronger than expected twinge of disappointment, but Penelope is relieved.)
I say “mostly reassuring” because I was hoping to see the heartbeat. We were able to see Hank’s heartbeat at 5 weeks, 3 days gestation, but as Penelope points out, he was an IVF baby and his little embryo had been cooking in a test-tube for nearly a week before it was transferred back to Penelope’s uterus. Thus, he was always, technically, 5 days older than his gestational age.
At this ultrasound, the machine was able to measure a fetal heart rate — 87 beats per minute — but we couldn’t see it yet. That may sound slow for a fetal heart rate, but our doctor says it is not unusual at this early stage (5 1/2 weeks). The heart doesn’t just blink into action at 160 bpm; it has to work its way up to that speed, and at this early date, the heart may have only been pumping for a few hours.
We go back for another scan in ten days, and the doctor assures us that cardiac activity will be much more visible by then. In the meantime, she said this was a perfectly normal scan and we should not be at all concerned…. so I’m trying my darndest to relax.