Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Heads and Shoulders, Knees and Toes

On Friday we went for our anatomy scan, where they measure and count and do lots of things that look mostly unintelligible to the untrained eye. As I settled down on the incredibly flat table (seriously, they think this is confortable bearable for pregnant people??), the tech looked through my file and said, “So, this is an IVF/ICSI pregnancy?” And I thought, Oh, no. Here we go. Critique or commentary or something I don’t want to deal with right now.

“Yes,” I said, “it is.”

“Where did you do it?” she asked. I told her the clinic, and she confirmed which doctor, and I thought, This isn’t so bad. I guess she sees a lot of these and it makes for good small talk.

“I’m seeing him, too,” she said.

Oh,” I said. “He’s very good - we liked him a lot.” And then she asked about how long we’d been trying, and I told her what we’d done before that, and she asked about the ICSI, and we told her why we did it and what we thought of it.

“So, this job must be hard sometimes,” I said. “Looking at pregnancy all day.”

“Sometimes,” she said. “And sometimes it’s encouraging.”

Over the course of the rest of the scan, we’d occasionally talk about other aspects of the process, or what we thought of it, what meds, what procedures. We joked about my ease with the transvag ultrasound. Mostly she asked questions and we answered them. I wasn’t sure how much to ask her, so I didn’t ask much. In the end, I think I wished her good luck.

I can’t imagine how difficult and poignant that must be, to do ultrasounds on pregnant women all day every day while going through an IVF. Lots of people come through there for routine scans, I know, but she must also see the worst-case scenarios plenty. She must know that getting sperm and egg together and settled is only part of the challenge. And she’s doing it, now, while she lubes and scans other people’s pregnant bellies. I just can’t imagine.

(On the other hand, I can imagine the secret thrill at the possibility of having ready access to an ultrasound machine. Stim scans? Easy. Early ultrasounds? No problem. Though I think the machine is probably pretty hard to operate while lying on the terrible table.)


The babies are fine. Measuring one day apart and right on target. My cervix is long (longer than my peri’s last scan, actually) and closed. The babies seem to have all the right parts in the right places. The tech (and the supervising MD who came in later) were having trouble visualizing all the angles of Baby A’s heart (at first due to the baby’s position, and later due to too much motion) but the consulting peri who came in at the end was really reassuring about it all. There’s also a potential issue with one of the umbilical cords potentially being attached more toward the side than the center of the placenta, but the peri didn’t seem too concerned about that, either. So far, one placenta is anterior and one is posterior, and neither is too close to the cervix. I tried to count fingers and toes, but the tech was more concerned with blood flow and heart rates and bone length (all very important, but not so meaningful to my untrained eye).

Current status: so far so good, and holding steady. 19 weeks today.


  1. Congrats on such an encouraging scan!!

  2. Yeah! Nothing out the ordinary is very good. Glad to hear the ultrasound went well!

  3. Isn't it funny how you can find an affinity with a complete stranger over something so personal. I think it probably because it IS so personal.

    I'm impressed that the babies are so close in size. That's wonderful. I wish you continued good news.

  4. Wonderful! Great news.

  5. That's great Cass, glad to hear the scan went well.

    Yes, I agree an odd place for her to be in although she seems to have the best attitude towards her job.

  6. What a fascinating and surprising visit that must have been. What a mixture of hope and jealousy and fear the tech must live in every workday.

    So glad the babes are doing just what they should.


  7. I'm very sure I couldnt' do her her job and stay sane. She must be a very thoughtful person.

    So did you find out gender and you're not telling us, or did you not find out?

  8. Congrats on the great scan! Glad to hear everything is going well.

    Your poor ultrasound tech - I would go crazy with that job. I'm sure she really appreciated seeing you as opposed to her usual clientele. A nurse at my OBs office is currently undergoing treatment with the same RE I saw, and I always check in with her when I'm there. I can't imagine how tough that is for her to see all the bellys.