First Ultrasound

Yesterday was a day we’d been very excited about since the appointment was made: our first ultrasound, when we’d likely see how many of the three embryos stuck.

On the way to the lab, Frank said he thought there was going to be one, and I said two.

We had an excellent technician (Alex), who did a great job of explaining the black & grey spots we were seeing, and seemed rather entertained by our excitement.  The first portion of the appointment was a standard external ultrasound, (you know, the kind where they make you have a ridiculously full bladder) and I’d done enough reading to know what I could expect to see… but then, with those things, it’s always hard to be sure what you’re looking at.

Alex checked out everything, including my ovaries, before explaining what we were seeing in my uterus.  He pointed to the two black spots we were seeing, and confirmed that they were gestational sacs, but we still had to get a closer look and make sure that there were little baby-dots in them.  Sometimes gestational sacs form, but they are empty… and that would be terribly disappointing.  So to confirm, we did an internal ultrasound as well, and that’s when it got awesome.

It didn’t take him very long to find our black spots again, and get focused on one of them.  Now, it’s too early (I’m only 6 weeks along) to actually HEAR a heartbeat, but there it was, visible on the screen….a teeny tiny heart “flicker”.  Like a single pixel flipping on and off.  He said it was perfect – the perfect size for 6 weeks, and a perfect heart rate: about 125 bpm.  We were pretty thrilled, and I had to put a lid on my giggling so that I didn’t keep shaking the display.

Then he went and checked the other black spot, and indeed, there was a flicker in that one too!  We were giddy to see him switch screens and flip the “Twins” toggle to “Y”.

However, we can’t get too excited about that just yet.  It turns out that flicker B was a bit slow… only about 107 bpm, and it really should be up as high as the other one.  He was a bit less cheerful with us when he explained that this is not uncommon, and that very often, the slower heartbeat means this one is not viable.

But even so.  We put in three to increase our chances of getting ANY, so even if our two becomes one, that’s really ok.  Nature knows what it’s doing, and if it thinks that one of our little beans isn’t ready for the world, we trust it’s judgment.

Alex was awesome, and gave us some photos from the ultrasound, and made an extra effort to get a good shot (shown above) of both our little beans, which we’ve been affectionately calling Hokey & Pokey, and even put the little arrows on for us.

Later in the afternoon, we went off to see the fertility doc again, for our last visit with him.  He congratulated us on our first-cycle success, and reassured us that my miscarriage rate is less than 5%, so everything should be smooth sailing from here.  He did talk a bit more about the low heart rate on Pokey, and he said that we’ll see how that unfolds over the next few ultrasounds.  Either Pokey will wake up and pick up the heart pace, or very likely we will see a “vanishing twin” situation: that potentially the next ultrasound, or the one after, may show only one heartbeat.  He said it’s very common, and that the vanished twin would just be reabsorbed into my body, and no harm would come to the remaining twin.

But, we’re hoping they both make it.  Our fingers are crossed.

We also talked a bit about what to do next, as I’m now officially “done” at the fertility clinic, and can be handed off to a regular baby-catcher.  As an IVF patient carrying twins, I have a higher chance of complications, so he encouraged us to see a particular doctor that they (at the clinic) like very much.   We kind of expected our midwife vs doctor/home vs hospital debate to be settled by whatever this ultrasound revealed, and there was a moment of “ah well” for me, when I knew that my idea of a home birth with a midwife couldn’t happen if both Hokey & Pokey make it to term.  But in the end, as long as I’m happy and my beans are getting excellent care, it doesn’t really matter to me where it happens, or what the title of their catcher is.  We’ve had such good care from our specialist, that we trust his referral, and if it turns out we don’t like her (even though she was entertainingly described as being “very cheerful, and *loves* twins), we can always find someone else.

As well, the doc pointed out that while Alex was checking out my ovaries, some cysts were seen on both of them.  Not surprising, as apparently a lot of IVF patients get ovarian cysts after their treatment cycle, and it would probably take a few more weeks, but they should go away on their own.  That explains why they’ve been feeling so spikey lately!

As for how I’m feeling these days, I’m very, very tired…all the time, and feeling really sluggish and at reduced capacity thanks to my spikey ovaries.  But I’m at 6 weeks + 2 days now, and I still (knock on wood) haven’t had any nausea.  Booyah!

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One Response to “First Ultrasound”

  1. Arwen Says:

    OH! Snif. So awesome.

    I went and did a ton of research last night on pokey heartbeats, and it’s true that Pokey’s in a worse place – but 107 does mean Pokey has a chance. So I will hope and cross everything. Indeed, Nature knows what it’s doing.

    I had a traditional OB/GYN with both of my pregnancies. I loved him. I like midwives a lot – but as long as you have good support otherwise, a doc is good care too.