Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The heart beats

Good news, a heart exists and is beating. It’s pretty amazing to me to imagine this tiny little organ that sustains a being the size of a lima bean or grape. Yet if all goes well, will sustain an individual through many decades of life. It’s pretty mind-boggling to me.

They did both the external and the transvaginal ultrasound. I was glad they did the transvaginal, since this early on, it provides much better information.

It didn’t look like much more than a bug. The technician referred to it as a sac. I saw a little thing off to the side and asked what it was. I believe she said it was the yolk. She said it’s attached to the baby and feeds it for now, but will disappear when the placenta develops more. It’s a lot like a chicken.

I asked if she could see any indication of gender and she said no. She said the arms and legs haven’t even developed yet. There is a head and a future body and a heart. That’s about it. She said I could find out the gender at 20 weeks, which seems ridiculously late to me. I told her they were able to tell me at 10 weeks in Bolivia.

“They were probably guessing,” she said.

“But they were right.”

“This is a top of the line machine.”

Personally, I didn’t think it was a top of the line experience. I still think my experience in Bolivia was far superior, which US medical professionals hate to hear. But I think we need to recognize that it’s not all about technology.

In Bolivia I looked at the screen together with the doctor. He told me what he was seeing as he was seeing it. I felt involved, informed, and respected.

Here, I was handed a plastic card at the counter that said my family could not come in for the ultrasound until after the diagnostic parts were done. Thanks a lot, since the main reason to bring family is to have support when something is wrong, or to share the joy of positive news together. By the time the diagnostics are done, I’ve had to absorb the good or the bad by myself.

The technician was nice enough, but she turned the screen away from me and did her work without telling me what she was doing or what she was seeing. Efficient, yes. Personal, no. I felt insignificant and not respected. She eventually showed me some images and at the very end, called in Mark. Mark got to see nothing more than an image or two on the screen.

I asked her how many weeks I was and she said she wasn’t supposed to comment on those things. In Bolivia, I was told exactly how far along I was, when I was due, and how large he predicted the baby would be at birth (and he was very accurate).

I’m glad to find out it’s alive, and am hoping it’s healthy. But I’m pretty much dreading going through another round of the U.S. maternity medical system.

Mark still doesn’t want to bond with the sac/embryo/lima bean/whatever it is until the genetic tests are done. If anything is wrong, he doesn’t want it. I would need to be sure something is wrong before getting rid of it. I think it would be a horrible decision in any case. But I think it would be slightly easier not having suffered much this time around. To suffer through weeks of nausea and then say forget it, let’s try again in another round, must be a very difficult thing to do.

1 comment:

Cassie said...

I'm glad the ultrasound went well. I'm surprised they wouldn't let your husband be in there with you, though. My experience was nothing like that and I'm sorry yours was!