My Pregnancy: Week 8

One of the more difficult parts of each pregnancy was the waiting game to see the doctor. In the case of our first two pregnancies, we found out at 5-6 weeks and waited only about two more before getting to hear that little heartbeat. This time we found out very early and had several schedule conflicts; we didn’t arrive to the doctor’s office until a day short of nine weeks after more than five weeks of waiting.

It’s a frustration many of us experience if we aren’t already collaborating with a doctor to conceive. As a baby’s heart rate is either nonexistent or hard to detect before that eight-week mark and general medical care is minimal in those early weeks, most doctors don’t see pregnant patients until that time (some even later). I remember with our first I had some bleeding and arrived to a Planned Parenthood clinic after my previous doctor told me to “wait it out and follow up with blood tests if needed.” Though they were not keen on providing extensive care either, they did provide an ultrasound and blood test to ensure baby and I were doing well. It was sweet relief.

I knew the date of my last period but also knew my cycle varied by a couple of days some months. Given I found out so early (three and a half weeks pregnant), my doctor provided a transvaginal scan to assess the due date. These days the first trimester ultrasound is quite common but not covered by all insurances as necessity. The FDA encourages prudent use of ultrasound technology given the unknown effects of extended or incorrect use of ultrasound technology. I was happy to see my babe at this time as the anatomy screening around 20 weeks will likely be our only other meeting.

I wonder sometimes if part of the symptoms that plague the first trimester for most women aren’t in and of themselves to lower the anxieties of early pregnancy. Evidence of pregnancy is very reassuring. Every day I woke up feeling sick was reassurance. The deep, otherwise inexplicable, exhaustion filled me with a sustainable hope in the visual evidence that bumps up in the later weeks of pregnancy.

After all, I think connection is really just intimacy, being known and knowing another. I didn’t need to see my baby to feel connected. That said, it was a sweet, sweet moment to see that one—only one— little blip on the screen with a strong heartbeat.

I must say it was also a sweet moment to again see my doctor since giving birth to my younger son two years prior. As I worked in the hospital I interacted a few times with the doctor professionally I actually went to a different doctor during that time. Perhaps his familiarity with me, then, was slightly different than a woman might typically experience. But his warm, genuine presence offered me another connection. He and his equally wonderful nurse were the first ones we really shared the news with about baby. They were with me for those key moments in the previous pregnancy. I felt more connected to my pregnancy at large just by being with them for that time.

But that heartbeat, oh that sweet, muffled, swooshing sound. What a sweet reassurance that the excitement I was feeling these last five weeks was real. That joy did not need to be tempered down any longer (perhaps it needn’t have been tempered down at all). This is really happening.

Annie is a mom of two toddlers finding comfort in breakfast foods and the excitement of one little baby on the way. If only she could find time for even more sleep.

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