Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Roller Coaster: Hindsight

This is the seventh post in a special bi-weekly series.  It's a sequel to The Longest Weekend of My Life series.  Please check back next Wednesday for Part 10.

Part 9: Hindsight

I started reconsidering my options.  I could take another pregnancy test around 10 weeks to see if I was still pregnant.  I could also choose to have my midwife use the hand held doppler to check for a heart beat, or I could choose to have a full ultrasound done.  I wished I could simply use my stethoscope to check for a heart beat myself, but that was unlikely until the pregnancy was at least 20 weeks along, and I didn't think I could handle another 12 weeks not knowing.

When I first considered these options, I thought I'd want the ultrasound because it would be the best chance at getting a really good picture of what was going on.  However, I'd heard sayings about ultrasound carrying risks, particularly in early pregnancy.  I was wary of choosing something that could potentially put my baby at risk, even though it would potentially give me the best idea of what was happening.

I started to do some research about ultrasound risks, and it was sketchy to begin with.  Ultrasound technology has been widely used during pregnancy since the 1960's, but it's never really been tested to determine it's safety.  The risks are speculation at best, since no reliable studies or research has been done, but the possibility of these risks was enough to make me reconsider jumping at the chance for another ultrasound.

As I did the research I also realized that the transvaginal ultrasound I had at the hospital was probably not the best choice.  As it turned out, that type of ultrasound is one of the more risky procedures in early pregnancy, and is speculated to cause miscarriage.  I wondered if my transvaginal ultrasound had somehow caused my bleeding.

Just great.

Not only had that blasted ultrasound been inconclusive and completely pointless, it could have also caused damage or possibly death to my baby!  Yes, it was only 5 weeks along, but there had to be something there whether we could see it or not!

I understood the circumstances, and I couldn't say I made a mistake.  I believed the Instacare resident was covering her bases and probably felt she was doing her best to give me the best care.  She most likely didn't know we wouldn't be able to see anything because it was too early.  She wasn't an obstetrician, and likely didn't realize what a waste of time, energy and my emotional well-being that ultrasound would be!

And then there was me.  I'd agreed to the ultrasound and went through with it, believing at that time that it was the best choice.  Had it been an ectopic pregnancy and we'd been able to see a tiny egg sac in the fallopian tubes or ovaries, it would have been worth everything.  We could have caught it early and I'd have gotten proper treatment and potentially saved my life.

But it wasn't.

We hadn't.

It didn't.

I couldn't beat myself up for doing what I felt was best in the moment, but I still regretted not having more knowledge to at least question the recommendation and make a more informed choice.  I might still have chosen to have the ultrasound, but I also might have felt better about my choice after the fact.  

Even the hand held doppler would use ultrasound technology.

That pregnancy test was starting to sound better and better.

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