The factory is silent. Its assembly line stands motionless. Somewhere off in the darkness, a buzzer sounds. One by one, lights begin to flicker and illuminate on long-unmanned diagnostic panels, giving a sense of enormity and complexity and scale to the machinery. The low hum of power supplies warming up comes next, followed by the higher and louder whine of turbines and electric motors. A whistle sounds, and one by one, employees begin to file in and take their places at the controls. Purposed for a single task, whose time has now come, the factory slowly comes to life...
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Panic! At the Doctor
SPOILER: This story has a happy ending, in case you are now afraid of reading further because of my silly title.
Yesterday I woke up feeling crappy. But not in the good way. It wasn't the pregnant way. In fact, it was just the opposite. Where the last few weeks, the boobs had been KILLING me, they hardly hurt at all, and they had hurt slightly less the day prior. My appetite had returned. I was still getting up to pee 4+ times a night, but that was about the only thing making me still feel pregnant.
As an alternative, the last few days I've had killer lower back pain. It kicked me right in the coccyx. It wasn't sciatic nerve pain (which is supposed to be "normal") because I've had that, and what I've got wasn't it. And I've had some weeeird cramping, like if I didn't know better I would have assumed I was going to get my period any moment.
So, being in a foul mood with all those things combined, I placed a somewhat aggravated call to the doctor's office, where I spoke to a nurse. She said, "Oookay, why don't you come in for an ultrasound and talk to the doctor..." Because I live close, she scheduled it for about an hour after the call!
I got there early, which meant a bit of a wait. I ended up getting the same sweet little ultrasound tech who did our "second opinion" ultrasound with the miscarriage. She realized she had scanned me before and I said yes, but we're really hoping for better news this time!
I felt doomed. I had this feeling like I KNEW everything was going to be wrong, and the baby was going to have passed, and I was going to be back where I started, except months later. I worried about how I was going to tell Craig, (he couldn't come with me because of the short notice and work,) and how I would tell my parents after I hadn't even told them I was pregnant yet, and how to tell our families...
I got up on the table. For me, there's a terrible moment of anxiety the moment the wand goes in, and the little grayscale blobs start to take shape on the screen. Because there's that big black spot with the little gray blob in it, but...is the blob okay???
The tech said, "There's the heartbeat..." and I said, "You know, you guys keep saying that, but I just don't see it." So she zoomed waaaaay in for me, and there it was! Flicker flicker, like a little LED flashing on and off. Wheeee! Blobby was just fine!
(I dig that little arrow with the word "baby" above it, in case you couldn't tell what that was!)
She told me the left end is where the head is, (so the other end is the rump end, natch) and the black spot in the middle of the left end is where the brain and such will be growing!
She turned on the Doppler so I could hear the sound and there was that shew-shew sound but it was so faint. She tried repositioning, and she just had a hard time getting a measurement because someone in there wasn't cooperating...
I told her I was also experiencing some pain on my right side, so she poked around for a while and checked out the ovaries too. She explained the things we were looking at, and I was fairly amazed. She said ovaries are pretty much the most difficult thing to find and distinguish with the ultrasound machine.
Before she wrapped up, she said, "Let's go peek at the baby again, and I'll print you some pictures." She was able to pull up the heartbeat better this time, and it came in at 171 bpm, which is just perfect.
(Can you see the little brackets in the middle of the dotted line through the baby? That's where the heartbeat flicker is! So tiny! No wonder I couldn't see it in microview.)
She said the little berry was actually measuring 8 weeks 4 days, which is a little ahead of schedule, but I don't care because it means it's growing!
So with my new pics in hand I trotted off to see the doctor. When he finally came in he smiled at me and said, "What's going on?" in that delightfully southern charm way that he has, and shook my hand. I said, "Doc, I think this baby is going to worry me every damn day until I have it. And probably after too." And with a smile he said, "Probably for the rest of your life!" I agreed, but I added, "At least then it will be on the outside and I can actually DO something about it!"
I told him about my symptoms going away, and he said they're supposed to do that, so I shouldn't worry. He confirmed I was taking my baby aspirin every day. I told him that the tech saw some kind of hematoma on my scans, and he looked them over and said he wouldn't worry about it; it happens often that there's a small hematoma where the placenta and the uterus meet because of implantation, but it usually just goes away, and he wouldn't hardly call that a hematoma. He also told me it was my corpus luteum giving me pain on the right, and that should go away too. (That's what I hoped it was, because I was pretty sure I had ovulated out of the right side!) He said, "You've got a good-looking baby in there, with a good strong heartbeat! See you in 3 more weeks!"
Fears smited, seeing the baby again, and having a positive chat with the doctor...I left there happy! I'm so glad I went because now I KNOW we're past the point we got to last time, and I no longer have that nagging doubt in the back of my mind that was keeping me awake nights. We went out for Japanese last night to celebrate! (No sushi for me, though...)
I was so happy with the outcome that I caved in and told my parents. They deserve to share the happy news too, and I just didn't think I could hold it until Thanksgiving! Of course they were elated, and now my sisters are relieved of their secret-keeping obligations...