I had my first appointment today with my OB. I am still a whirlwind of thoughts and feelings and so I am going to try to sort it all out here "on paper." I'll start with my first impressions of the office. When we walked in, there was a very harried receptionist and a very busy waiting room. I immediately didn't like how busy the place felt - just rushed. Next thing I noticed was the practice doesn't seem to be purely obstetrics/gynecological, because there were a few old men there making appointments, getting blood drawn, whatever. I had pictured women and husbands and pictures of babies, etc. Oh well. None of that. Just a busy doctor's office. As my husband pointed out, "You're in LA, what do you want?" Ok. So I sat trying to ignore my first impression. And I sat. And I sat. We finally went back 30 minutes late. The nurse didn't believe me that I wasn't 7 weeks along, based on my LMP, but I expected that. The positive was that the nurse was warm, friendly and sweet. She also deducted 2 lbs off of my weight for my tall boots I was wearing. Bonus for her!
Then we went in the exam room and I stripped to the waist and we started to wait again. Now, I've been in some really nice exam rooms for my pap smears and some really not so nice ones (think Planned Parenthood in high school). The nicer ones have nice blankets to put over your waist, a warming lamp, pretty pictures.... This office was right in the middle. Nothing special, nothing that stood out either way. I'm not going to lie. I would have been excited about a nice, cushy room or even a few pretty touches. All I noticed was a weird little wind chime thing hanging from the ceiling. I guess you're supposed to look at it to feel calm?
At this point my husband was noticing that I was keyed up and tense (really quick on the uptake there). He asked me why I was so nervous and I couldn't really explain. I hadn't been nervous before about this appointment. I think I was just feeling the importance of the moment, not to mention feeling excited about the whole thing.
Then the doctor walked in. I had been telling myself I could put up with all of the other stuff about the office, as long as I really liked the doctor. Well, I liked her right away. She came in with a huge smile and immediately started by apologizing over and over for keeping us waiting. As my husband later pointed out, that is the first time either of us has ever had a doctor apologize for keeping anyone waiting. She is a young, pretty, African American woman with a beautiful smile and a warm voice. After apologizing for the wait, she congratulated us hugely. Again, I liked that. After she started asking questions, we did the little dance again that goes like this:
Her: "When was your last menstrual period?"
Me: "January 16th, but you see, I ovulate late and so..."
Her: "Hmm. How do you know that?"
Me: *babbling about temperatures, charting, opks*
Her: *laughing* Oooookay, well good for you I guess *insert disbelief*, let's just see what the ultrasound shows ok? According to your LMP you should be about 7 weeks along..."
So that was that. It was neat to see what we saw, but I'm not going to lie that I'm not a little disappointed about not seeing more. An egg sac, fetal pole, heartbeat? She scheduled us to come back in next week to try again so we can "see the heartbeat." I think this doctor is more obsessed with ultrasounds than most of the women on fertility forums. She really wants to see that heartbeat.
After the ultrasound, she interviewed me about family history, etc, and gave me the lecture on what to eat/what not to eat. Major plus here - for those of you familiar with the westside of LA, she did clarify that, although I cannot eat lunch meats that may not have been handled properly, Bay Cities Italian Deli is perfectly fine - they know how to handle their meat (hooray!). There were some things I didn't love her answers to, and that I would have probably preferred a midwife's answer, as in her answers to my questions about acupuncture (she says - not unless there's a clear purpose, and even then, who knows if it really works) and when she asked me if I was "willing" to do an epidural (but it's totally up to me either way). The things I did like is that she only sees her OWN patients and has only one other doctor who covers her in case of an emergency and that she was done EVERY SINGLE one of her own patients' deliveries since starting this practice in the last two years. She said, "I want to deliver my own patients. We develop a relationship and we get close and become friends." The whole interview was filled with laughter. And, even though I could tell she was rushed, she felt present.
And then, that was it. Appointment over. Now what? Now I'm left feeling....weirdly anxious. I know this is why people say do NOT do early ultrasounds. Prior to this, I wasn't nervous at all. Even in the room, when she seemed to be trying to reassure me that everything was perfectly normal and healthy, I said "Oh, don't worry, I'm not nervous at all." But now? The appointment just feels...well, like a jumble. First of all, I suddenly and fully feel pregnant. I mean, I saw my uterus. How cool is that? Not to mention, our little black dot is the coolest Dot I've seen on anyone's ultrasound photo. And, I am officially a prenatal patient, a mommy-to-be. Wow. But, also, I feel like I didn't pass some type of test. After we left, all of the nurses were asking "Did you see the heartbeat? How do you feel?" and I was like "uhhh, well no, it's too early...", only to be met with "Huh. Okay." And now I feel like the pressure is on for next week. (relax, relax, relax, relax....)
After I left I called my friend and was trying to describe this to her and I said, "You know, I guess this is what it feels to suddenly start feeling worried about my baby. Stepping into the shoes of concerned mother, or whatever." But then again, maybe it's just overachiever-me, hoping I have an overachiever baby.
According to AmericanPregnancy.org:
The gestational sac is often the first thing that most transvaginal ultrasounds can detect at about 5 weeks. This is seen before a recognizable embryo can be seen. Within this week, at about week 5 ½ to the beginning of the 6th week, a yolk sac can be seen inside the gestational sac. 5 ½ to 6 ½ weeks is usually a very good time to detect either a fetal pole or even a fetal heart beat by vaginal ultrasound. The fetal pole is the first visible sign of a developing embryo. This pole structure actually has some curve to it with the embryo’s head at one end and what looks like a tail at the other end. Generally from 6 ½ -7 weeks is the time when a heartbeat can be detected and viability can be assessed.
Yep. It's true. I did it. I googled my appointment. Ooops. Anyhow, my husband would read this and say, "Great, so you're right where you should be! You have a sac, and then next week there will be a heartbeat." Overachiever-me reads it and thinks, huh, but I didn't see a yolk sac, did I? And was that little squiggle that showed up in the dot when she moved the wand around a fetal pole? was I seeing things? If it was there, why didn't she say anything? If it wasn't, why the hell wasn't it? Annnnnd....stop. Just stop. The baby is fine. My doctor says we're both fine.
This is just me, doing my new, foreign job of being a mom, amplified by my own hyperanxiety and ambition to "do things right." So that's it. That's my update. My doctor is good. Not perfect, but good. I am good. The baby is good. Everything is just "good."