Today was our 6-week scan, and it was perfect! Last week’s squint-worthy fetal pole has metamorphosed into a recognizably humanoid little blob, with a big head and tiny limb buds… and most importantly, a heartbeat (130bpm, which our doctor told us was great!). It’s measuring exactly one week bigger than the scan one week ago, now at 6w5d, which puts our EDD on February 18, 2016. That’s a LONG way from now, but I’m having trouble keeping myself from imagining everything that would come along with a new little one joining our family around then — alive this time, please!
I really appreciated the way my doctor handled the scan today. I had arrived early (I drove 1.5 hours from the conference I’ve been at all week, and I wanted to make sure to leave enough time in case I hit traffic). They brought me into the exam room 15 minutes before my scheduled appointment time, and the doctor was there within five minutes. She said, “We really should see a heartbeat today, so let’s look first and talk after.” There was no waiting — we just got straight to business. She zoomed right in on the heartbeat, and said, “There it is!” and only afterwards did she go back and do all the measurements of the size of the embryo and its the heart rate. I love that she was sensitive to my natural anxiety about finding out as quickly as possible whether there was a heartbeat — one of the awful things about the loss of our first pregnancy was that we’d done all this prenatal visit chatter about scheduling the routine anatomy scan and getting a flu shot and yadda, yadda… so it was enormous emotional whiplash to then have to go through the deafening silence of the Doppler and the ultrasound. I’m going to ask my regular OB if she can do the same for all my prenatal visits: confirm the heartbeat before we talk. It really made things easier today.
The thing my doctor fumbled on was starting me on Lovenox injections. Last week she’d told us that assuming everything looked good this week, she’d immediately start me on Lovenox and that they’d teach me how to do the injections. Well, she certainly prescribed the Lovenox and instructed me to start immediately… but then she seemed sort of flustered about the whole “teaching” business. She asked the nurse, “Do you remember whether it comes in a pen or a syringe?” and the nurse was like, “No…” and then the doctor said to me, “Oh, well, it’s easy. It’s subcutaneous, just like insulin!” When I gave her a blank look (I’m not a diabetic), she said, “Oh, it’s just like [fertility medication brand name], have you done that before?” Another blank look. When she eventually asked if I’d ever given myself an injection before and I said no, she said, “Oh, well, I’ll go look up the information about how they package it, and then we’ll teach you.” A few minutes later the nurse came back in, handed me a printed paper packet of instructions, and said, “So, you just grab your side, like this, and then you inject into the skin fold.” She searched around the room for something to demonstrate with, grabbed a pen from her pocket, and proceeded to fake-jab herself with a pen. At this point it was clear that this was all the instruction I was going to get, so I thanked her and filed the information away so I could start googling when I got home! My mom (the women’s health nurse practitioner) called to ask how my appointment had gone, and laughed about the “instruction” I’d gotten for injecting Lovenox. She gave me a few other pointers that the nurse had forgotten (rotate injection sites, don’t rub the site, etc.), and then said, “Oh, you’ll figure it out — it’s not rocket science!” Ha, ha, Mom — she loves to say stuff like that to me. 🙂
I’m still being closely monitored for the next few weeks. Next week is my first appointment with maternal-fetal medicine. They’ll be doing monthly ultrasounds to catch any sign of fetal growth restriction or problems with the placenta, since my first pregnancy ended with a placental abruption which gives me a ~30% risk of placenta-related complications this time around (thankfully only a 7% chance of a repeat abruption). The week after that it’s back for my last appointment with the reproductive endocrinologist, and then I get handed off to my local OB. It only takes two to make a baby (in our case)… but sometimes it takes a village of doctors to get through pregnancy, apparently!
So, here I am, with two beating hearts inside me (one very small and very fast!), about to try injecting myself for the first time in a college dorm room at a science conference. Life is weird sometimes. Wish me luck!
(Edited to add: I did it! I injected myself! I was shaking like a leaf, and could barely get the plunger down, but I managed it. It must get easier with practice, right?)