Breaking Brains: Ultrasound

We were not oblivious to the rarity of an IVF baby in our particular geographical area, and as previously stated, we expected a few hiccups.  The idea of a 6 week and then 8 week ultrasound was an oddity in normal circumstance, but for an IVF baby, it’s just a thing.  They want to make sure that it is all working out and usually matters are turned over to the OB’s at the 8 week mark.  I got a call from the referral clerk who said she was working on scheduling it for us, but due to the timing, we were most likely going to have to drive 4-8 hours to knock it out.  No problem, we expected this.  Then, a glimmer of hope came when she called again.  She said that the local ultrasound tech said that he heard it was an IVF baby and would make it work, even if he had to do it after hours.  This above and beyond attitude was not expected and any excuse to not go on road trips for one test was greatly welcomed.  We got our appointment a couple days later and were squared away for the 6 week ultrasound.

Speaking to all these medical peeps, it reminded me that I needed to call and make an appointment with my doc, especially since all these tests were going to be coming down the pipe.  It’s like pulling teeth trying to get an appointment, but if you call on the 15th of any month, you can usually get an appointment for the following month.  Small town efficiency, that even annoys the doctors since it is out of their control.  

I called and spoke to the appointment person.  She asked what the appointment was for.  Instead of answering, why does it matter? like I wanted to, I went with I need my first pre-baby doctor stuff appointment.  Clearly, I have no freaking clue what they do, I just know that it’s a thing and I need to start the cycle.  “Okay, we have an appointment for August 10th, for far along are you?”  I told her that I was like 5 weeks, and apparently that was the wrong answer.  She was clearly annoyed by this new information and went off on how I don’t need to see a doctor until 12 weeks, so I wouldn’t actually need that appointment.  Easy now, take a step back off the soap box.  I explained that these were different circumstances and due to the fact it was an IVF baby, there would be a bunch of tests coming down the pipe and insisted that the doc would want a check in prior to 12 weeks.  You see, I know the doc and she is awesome.  She knew that this was coming down the pipe and has been mentally preparing for the fact that she would have to deal with me/love me as her patient.  After insisting on taking that appointment, the lady finally conceeded, but made it clear that the doctor probably wouldn’t bother with any paperwork since it was so early.  I smiled and nodded because I knew that was crap, and moved on.  Boom, appointment made.  Let’s get on to this baby making.  

The next week, it was ultrasound time.  We had a little bit of a scare and went to the hospital after I started bleeding.  I tell you, just because the little buddy stuck doesn’t mean the stress levels can come down.  There is a whole new level of stress to be had and it sucks.  The bloodwork at the time said it was still good, but the ultrasound was going to be the true determining factor.  I was convinced that it was a false alarm since I was still stupid sick everyday and apparently that was a good sign.  My wife on the other hand was so worried she was about ready to puke.  She just wanted confirmation that we were cruising and the little one was still ticking.

We get called in and both of us go into the room.  The dude seemed a little confused that I responded when he called for Susan, but I ignored it.  As I’m approaching the table waiting for instructions, he asks who the person following me is and I tell him my wife.  He nods and then asks me to lay down on the table.  Confused, because I know that whatever in there is super tiny and probably hard to find, I just assumed the exam would be done with the stupid invasive stick again.  He said that he would try externally first and then go from there.  I was skeptical and sure he was wasting my time, but whatever, he is the knower of all things ultrasound so I rolled with it.  

I laid down on the table and he started playing hide and seek with the ultrasound.  If the super pressure on my tummy wasn’t fun enough as he dug in to look for the tiny needle in my tummy of a haystack, he decided to engage in conversation.  Now, it takes a lot to shock me.  In my line of work I see a lot of crazy things and hear some insane stories that the typical person would not believe unless they saw it, so it was quite impressive that this dude rocked me to the point where I looked back and said, what the hell just happened?  Here I was laying there with an ultrasound wand digging in so far I swear it was coming out my back and he says something along the lines of, it is interesting to see the husband having the baby.  Yup.  If you just did a mental WTF, you are not in the minority.  Clearly thinking I misheard, or misunderstood, I said what?  He repeated that it was odd to have the husband having the baby.  I’m Sorry, but no shit, that is on the rare side, but not the case here.  I responded, probably a little bluntly, that I was girl as he appeared to be confused about this.  At this point I was confused about everything!  He pointed out that I had introduced my wife as my wife and still baffled, said yes…because she is.  Then I had to explain that I was still her wife and that we were both women (which was pronounced with enthusiastic sarcasm at this point).  This was promptly followed by a nod of understanding on that point, but then he asked why am I having the baby instead of my wife. It was just a little odd that the husband (Oh yeah, he called me that again) was having the baby and not the wife.  At this point he was most definitely poking the pregnant bear physically and figuratively.  In a quick assessment on how to deal with my hormone related rage that was accumulating inside, I decided that punching him was not an option for several reasons: one, I like my job and don’t want to lose it, two, he is the one and only ultrasound guy in my area.  My only option was to cut him off right there and there is no husband!  She’s my wife, I’m her wife.  I am am having the kid which is why you are digging into my tummy and there is no husband or any need for one at any time!  

Not sure if it was my blatant shut down of his horribly offensive line of questioning or the fact that he coincidentally gave up on the external version, but I was asked to get undressed for the pokey stick version.  Seriously, if he called me husband again while that sucker was up my vajay-jay I have no idea what I would do.  While I was in the washroom, I swear I heard him say that he didn’t mean to offend at which point I wanted to throw something at him.  My wife wasn’t stressed out enough already?  I wanted to write him a manual on how NOT to offend and yell at him to read it because he was a little out of touch, but instead I mentally prepared for whatever the hell was in store for me next.  At this point it was anyone’s guess.

I come back in the room and he’s got some ramp thing on the table now.  Seriously, I’m supposed to sit on that?  I’m glad everything else about this experience had been comfortable to date, what was an awkward rampy thing?  To top things off he was quite critical of my position on this stupid thing so I kept having to shuffle my bare butt up this stupid ramp.  I swear that was the worst 20 minutes of my life.  

Once I was in an adequate, but still very awkward position I was told to relax.  Yeah….that was happening.  He was poking and proding at me, but this time not saying a thing for an awkward amount of time.  His little machine was making noises, beeping here and there.  The silence was killing me because king of discomfort there was not showing any signs of what he was seeing was good or bad.  In an attempt to get something out of him, I asked if all that beeping was good, like winning on a slot machine.  He said it didn’t mean anything, he was just taking pictures.  Yeah, that didn’t help the nerves.

Finally, after several minutes, he let us know that everything looked great.  Granted, at that point I wanted to say, are you freaking kidding me because he left us hanging for so long.  My wife instantly teared up in relief.  The little blob was good.  We even got to hear the heartbeat and it was nice and strong.  I thought it sounded relaxed, like baby was just chilling, but my wife doesn’t like me saying that because she takes that as a slow heart beat.  But no, baby was golden and thank God that was over with.  We booked our next appointment and got the hell out of dodge as quick as we could.  Walking out to the truck, I asked my wife what just happened and she didn’t know either.  After a careful reflection of the matters at hand, we just gave him the benefit of the doubt and assumed that he was so forward thinking that he must have thought I was a trans guy having the baby.  Probably not the case, but it broke my brain if I thought about it too much.

Two weeks later it was time for round two.  I was dreading the visit for obvious reasons, but it seemed like he had figured it out, or at least accepted that we were NOT having that conversation again.  He had me do the external again because hopefully the little one was big enough now.  Sure enough, and the little energy drainer was now a blob with 4 twigs sticking out.  Kind of reminded me of a less pronounced Patrick from Sponge Bob.  Heart rate was good and everything in check.  We almost,  almost got out of there without awkwardness but then he had to say one more thing.  When watching me doing up my work pants, he felt the need to give me some advice.  He said that when the baby gets further along, I should start wearing dresses.  He wasn’t done his sentence, but a reflex caused “that’s not going to happen!” To come out of my mouth quickly and firmly before any thought.  The rest of his sentence included the reasoning that Mennonite women have something like 14 or 15 kids no problem because they wear nice, long dresses.  I just sat there shaking my head as he pointed out that pants restricted the movement of the baby, which was paired with him acting out what the baby would look like as it struggled for space.  Yeah, I was done with this guy….

We walked out of there and once again the parking lot conversation included a confused review of what just happened.  Luckily, before he pissed me off for the last time, he mentioned that my next scan would be around 20 weeks and would have to be at the bigger centre as they had better equipment.  Perfect!  We could play the odds that the next tech won’t degrade me or my pregnancy in some manner and we hopefully get to enjoy the brief visit with the energy drainer on the inside.  Only time will tell.  Until then, I’ll just have to keep breaking brains and taking names.

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