One Strong Heartbeat

Today was our first ultrasound, and it really could not have gone better!

I’m not going to lie though – the lead up to the ultrasound was quite nerve wracking. Aside from the obvious reasons, there were a few extra layers of anxiety attached to the process.

The first source of anxiety was that the ultrasound was scheduled at the clinic in Toronto that does my monitoring. This by itself does not sound like it should be anxiety inducing, but thinking about it really made me wish I could have gotten pregnant before we moved and had the ultrasound at my old clinic.

Here’s the thing – my RE at my old clinic did everything himself. Every ultrasound, every IUI procedure, and everything in between. So, you always got instant answers about what was happening, and he would show you the screen and explain what was going on as he was checking things out. There would always be a second person in the room with him who would write down all the information he was saying. So, I would always know how thick my lining was, what size my follicles were, and anything else of interest.

My clilnic in Toronto is very different. It is a massive operation which adheres strictly to an agreed upon division of labour. So ultrasounds are done by techs who are not allowed to tell you anything. In case you forget this fact, there are multiple signs in each ultrasound room reminding you that only your Dr. can discuss your results with you.

Since my old clinic was still running the show for this cycle, and I was only at the Toronto clinic for monitoring, the way things worked was that I would have bloodwork and ultrasounds in Toronto, then my information would be faxed to my old clinic and they would call me at the end of the day to discuss the results and how to proceed.

I thought that surely for the first ultrasound to check out baby, you would be able to get more immediate information about what was going on, but when I asked my lovely nurse coordinator about this, she indicated that it was the same process as for the other ultrasounds: you have your ultrasound first, and then you sit around and wait for the Dr. (which can take several hours apparently) to discuss. Or, I can have the results sent to my old clinic for them to discuss them with me.

So this is where the anxiety started – how can I possibly have an ultrasound first thing in the morning then go to work and wait until the end of the work day to know whether the pregnancy looks like it’s progressing as it should? The alternative didn’t sound much better – wait upto several hours to talk to the Dr. at the clinic here, which would get me into work late on my last day in the office before being away for two weeks. Not really an option.

This led me to do some research online to figure out what an ultrasound should look like at this stage of pregnancy, so that my husband and I could guess whether things were good or not. We pored over pictures and videos of ultrasounds until we were pretty sure we knew what we were looking for. The gestational sac would be a black blob, and the yolk sac would be a small white donut shaped thing in the black blog. If we had the right angle, we should be able to see the fetal pole which would look like a small line attached to the yolk sac. And if there was a heartbeat, the white blob in the black blob would flicker. I instructed my husband to write down any of the measurements he could see the tech taking, or any other numbers on the screen.

I decided that if what we saw on screen and any information my husband could jot down corresponded with our research, I could sit back and wait for the official results from my clinic. However, if things looked off, I would stay and wait to speak with the Dr. here.

Finally, it was time for the ultrasound. The ultrasound tech asked us whether we did IVF or IUI, and then how many embryoes we transferred (2). And then it was the moment of truth. She put the wand in, moved it around, and then all of a sudden we saw the black blob onscreen, just like in our research. “There’s one sac.” the tech said. She moved the wand around a bit more. “And only one sac.”. I breathed a sigh of relief – so far so good.

Looking at the gestational sac I could already see the white blob that was the yolk sac tucked away in the corner. And soon enough I was able to identify the fetal pole. And then the best news of all – the tech said “The heartbeat is very strong” before I could even identify that there was a heartbeat!  It took me a while to see it, but once I did there was no mistaking it.

The tech then took her measurements, and commented several more times about how strong the heartbeat was. Once the ultrasound was over, she nodded approvingly at us. “I think  you’re good. Be happy now.”


4 thoughts on “One Strong Heartbeat

  1. YAY!!!!!! Congratulations! how nerve-wracking that must have been- I’m glad the tech didn’t make you wait for the doctor to confirm it looked good. Those early ultrasounds are the most stressful part of the whole IVF process. Hope you have a very happy & healthy 9 months!

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