Warning to my few male readers: This post covers reproductive-parts topics, so proceed at your own choice. The short of it is that baby and I are both fine and doing well.
In seven pregnancies, the only ultrasound I had performed was a brief one to confirm that Katie's tranverse/frank breech position in labor. The lack of ultrasounds was not by accident or laziness, but due to a decision to skip procedures that were not truly medically indicated. Ultrasound technology can be a great tool, but it is a tool that is greatly over-used in U.S. obstetrics without good evidence to back up its nearly ubiquitous employment. So we chose early on to only use it if there was a good medical reason.
Well, I've had a new and strange pain this pregnancy in my lower right abdomen. It has at times brought me to tears with its intensity. I could feel a swolleness that seemed to be in the area of my right ovary.
At my 13 week prenatal (last Monday), B. was able to feel the swollenness in the tender area. This is why we decided to go ahead and listen for hearttones with the doppler, because though it's rare for an ectopic pregnancy to make it that far, it is possible. Finding hearttones (at last!) confirmed that there was indeed a growing baby in my uterus, though it didn't explain the pain.
Over the weekend, my pain "pattern" changed, and on Monday I called my primary midwife, Mary. Jonathan and I agreed with her that it would be good to get an ultrasound to see if we could find out what was going on. We had several possibilities I was going to look into for where to get the ultrasound. I procrastinated through Monday, though, and Monday night was in quite a bit of pain.
Tuesday morning I called the number Mary had given me for a wonderful OB that she's gotten to know recently. I talked with her late Tuesday afternoon, and by the end of our phone call, she said she would call the hospital closest to me Wednesday morning and see if they could get me in for an ultrasound on Wednesday. On the list of possibilities were ovarian cysts of various types(that might be causing torsion, a twisting of the ovary on its "stem" that could lead to the death of the ovary), ovarian cancer, and an ectopic pregnancy (in addition to the growing little one).
Wednesday afternoon found us at the hospital. At the welcome desk was a huge bowl of apples. I asked Jonathan if he thought they were to there to keep the doctors away.
The ultrasound tech who worked with us was extremely nice and she really helped put me at ease. She did both a trans-abdominal and a trans-vaginal ultrasound. I had a lot of mixed emotions about the whole thing... wishing that we didn't need to do it at all, delight in seeing the tiny person growing inside me, and concern about what they might find. Alex, the tech, asked if we minded if she printed us a picture of our baby. Of course not! Though I would have preferred to not need the ultrasound, I figured I might as well get a baby pic out of it!
The long and short of the ultrasound results are that the radiologist didn't see anything out of the ordinary. When Mary told me this over the phone last night, I wailed, "Well, then what's wrong with me??!??" But I have to admit it's much better than finding out that I need to have surgery, etc.
I don't know if the Lord has chosen to heal whatever has been causing me pain (I haven't had any significant pain since Monday night and can barely feel the swollen spot), or if there is some other cause than my ovary for the pain. For now, we're moving forward in faith and trusting that if there is anything that needs to be dealt with, it will be made clear.
In the meantime, I keep coming back to this precious souvenir, which has greatly relieved my sense of surrealness about this pregnancy. There really truly is a baby in there and I'm so thankful!