Unfortunately, I’ve had some bad experiences with scans since. I’ve never not had a live baby in there for any scan after that first one, but some of the scan operators have been a little insensitive. To say the least.
There was one consultant in the Rotunda who was moving the probe over and back, pressing it in as she squinted at the screen. I was too frightened to ask if the baby was ok. After about a minute, my husband asked, ‘Is there a heartbeat?’. To which the reply was, ‘Oh yes, yes, there is…I’m just looking at this over here’. She’d found something in there that piqued her interest and forgotten there was a petrified woman on the outside of the uterus!
So ‘reassurance’ scans for me are necessary so that I know for sure there’s a growing baby in there, but I can’t describe them as enjoyable. This time, I booked one in the Coombe for when I was 9 weeks pregnant. It was a bit of a rigmarole to get into the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit (EPAU), involving faxes from my GP, as well as negotiating the policy that you have to have had three consecutive pregnancy losses if there’s no problem on the current pregnancy (I convinced them to let me in). This differs from the Rotunda where if your previous pregnancy has ended in miscarriage, you can self refer to their Early Pregnancy Unit for reassurance.
We had an early morning appointment. The Coombe EPAU is in a corner near the waiting area for antenatal appointments, which means walking past bumps upon bumps on your way out, whatever your news. I was nervous but using mindfulness and affirmations to stay as relaxed as possible (calm, confident and in control can be applied to every scenario!). This helped for a while, but then as we waited….and waited…and waited…it became more and more difficult to stay relaxed. I noticed as we were sitting there that the scan was to be an ’empty bladder’ scan. This meant transvaginal as opposed to transabdominal – so rather than having a probe placed on my belly, it would be in my vagina. I’d never had one of these scans before and felt that it would have been nice to have been told in advance! Had I not known that an empty bladder scan meant transvaginal, then I’d have been non the wiser until entering the room.
We waited some more…and then some more, along with some women on their own and another couple. Everyone’s tension was visible and palpable. A very young woman was brought down from the Emergency Room in a wheelchair, and then brought back half an hour later without being seen. Someone was on her phone talking about booking in for a D&C. But a strange thing happened. The more I waited, the less nervous I became, perhaps because the focus became on the waiting to be seen rather than what we were waiting for. And then, finally, we were called and my stomach somersaulted.
In we went, and met an absolutely lovely doctor. Once I was settled and had the transducer in (it’s only inserted about an inch, even though it looks ominously like a dildo!), she told us within seconds that we had a very happy baby in there. All looked good for dates and baby obliged with a little wiggle. Huge sighs of relief all round. We got some nice print outs of our giant headed little alien to take home. I messaged a couple of friends, who I knew would be on tenterhooks for me, to let them know that all was well.
We celebrated by stopping off at Peacock Green for lunch and what was, without doubt, far and away the best chocolate eclair I’ve ever eaten. I still wasn’t ready to tell people our news, but for now I was reassured. Next step, first trimester screening…..
Coombe Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit: http://www.coombe.ie/index.php?nodeId=134
Information on ultrasound in the Coombe: http://www.coombe.ie/content/files/Pelvic_ultrasound.pdf
Peacock Green (we had the fabulous eclair in the Lord Edward Street branch): https://www.facebook.com/pages/Peacockgreen/431964893528981