Home » Reluctant Mother v Ultrasound Technician

Reluctant Mother v Ultrasound Technician

So because I’m apparently suffering from not only an autoimmune disease but also a geriatric pregnancy, I get lots of ultrasounds.  At least one a week.

In some regards, I realize this is kinda’ cool.  I get to spy on the kid on a routine basis.  And with all these ultrasounds should come the reassurance that everything is fine and the baby is developing properly.

Except. . .

Sometimes it doesn’t go that way.

Sometimes some punk ass medical professional gets all hyped on a potential problem and sends my hypochondria into overdrive.

Why do they do this?  Doesn’t it clearly state on my medical records I’m a freak?  

A few weeks ago I hauled myself and the fetus to the Hopkins Medical Campus for a routine ultrasound.  Piece of cake.  They’ll just check the baby’s growth, make sure the heart is developing correctly.  I’ll be in and out.  No problem.  

So sure was I there wasn’t going to be an issue, I made plans to hop in the car immediately following and drive two hours to fetch my own Mother for some quality home improvement time.  So sure was I, I didn’t even bother to shower that morning.  I showered the night before.  They were just going to smear a bunch of gel all over me anyway, no need to be immaculately clean.

(Am I the only person that would prefer that gel NOT be warm?  Lawd how that grosses me out.  I practically gag thinking about it.)

Anyway, because it was a Friday and my appointment was a little later than usual and because I planned to spend the next four hours in Friday-during-the-summer traffic, I was quite anxious to get in and out as fast as possible.

And that is naturally why I ended up flat on my back in a darkened room with a STUDENT ultrasound technician.

Ugh.  Teaching hospitals.

I knew it wasn’t going well from jump.  I’d be willing to bet I’ve seen as many ultrasounds in the two pregnancies as this poor woman had.  And while she was very pleasant, I wasn’t feeling very tolerant of all her fumbling around.

To make matters worse, our little Sprout the Second didn’t get the damned memo.  He wasn’t budging.  He was face-down, arse up in, well, the fetal position making getting a good look or measurement a challenge for even an experienced technician.

After about 30 minutes of fruitless fumbling and poking and prodding and painfully long looks at those cysts on my ovary, the Student Technician FINALLY said she was going to find a colleague.


I laid on my back in the darkened room staring at the photos of the cysts for what felt like an eternity.

Wasn’t there only one cyst a few weeks ago?  I clearly see two now.  Oh no!  Something’s wrong.  I’m diseased.  And it’s serious.  Stop it, Freak.  It’s fine.  You don’t know what you’re looking at.  But you kinda’ do.   There is another cyst there.  Even you can see it.  Breathe already.  It’s fine.  Ha.  Says you rational thoughts.  Something’s wrong, irrational self can sense it.

I was startled out of my rational irrational self argument by a knock at the door.

This time Student Technician was accompanied by another presumably more experienced and competent Technician.  Although I had never met her before.  Where’s Sarah or Kristen?  Why can’t they be here?!  

I spent another 15 minutes on my back while the experienced ultrasound tech stared at my ovary and cervix.  I was starting to feel violated.  Could you just look at the kid already?  That’s what we’re here for no?

Be careful what you wish for. . .As soon as she turned her sights on the kid, she realized he was in a posture that made her job nearly impossible.

And to get him out of said posture?

Boom, boom, boink, boom with the ultrasound probe/wand thing on my stomach.

My bladder had certainly reached flood stage 25 minutes ago and her banging on my stomach was threatening a complete dam break.  I crossed my legs and wiggled.

Don’t think about it.  Look at the monitor.  There’s nothing to look at, you idiot she can’t get a good image.  Ouch.  Ouch.  Was that pee?  I think that might have been pee. 

Finally, the technician relented.  “The baby is just not budging from that position,” she said.  

Wow.  What an astute observation. 

Cut the sarcasm.  Peeeeeeee!!!!!  I’m going to get to tinkle.  Sweet relief.

But she didn’t let me get up.  INSTEAD she spent another 10 minutes looking at my cervix.  Drawing little colored lines on the pictures.

Seriously woman.  I’m not in the mood for your freaking Etch-A-Sketch show right now.  I have places to be. . .the most pressing of which is just a mere four feet away. . .Sweet bathroom. . .

“Ok.” She said, “I’m going to go talk to the doctor.  Why don’t you stand up, walk around a little.  Use the restroom.  Your bladder is really full.  I’ll be back in a bit to see if the baby’s moved.”

My bladder is “really full.”  Thank you Captain Obvious.  How much do they pay you?  I could really use some extra cash maybe you could hook me up with a part-time gig here?  I’ll bet I’d be darling at torturing pregnant people too.  Wait.  Why are you talking to the Doctor?  You don’t even have any pictures of the baby to show him?  WHAT’S WRONG?!

I barely bothered to wipe the gel from my stomach.  I bolted to the washroom.  And while I was urinating for the next five minutes I stewed.

Something’s wrong.  What was with all the scribble on my cervix?  Ok.  So long as it’s me and not the baby.  So long as the baby is healthy and safe.  That’s what counts.  Maybe that growth is doing something weird now?  Jesus.  What if I need medical attention right after the baby is born?  How will we cope with two kids and my issues?  Breathe you idiot!  

Bladder empty, I did a few jumping jacks, marched around in circles checking my phone.  I’ve been here OVER AN HOUR.  I’m so screwed.  Traffic is going to suck.  The baby isn’t budging.  I haven’t felt him move for hours.  He’s sound asleep in there.  How long can they keep me here before it becomes imprisonment?  Bastards.  

I was waiting so long, I used the restroom AGAIN.  But this time when I came marching out,  Doesn’t everyone do lunges out of the restroom?  I realized both Technicians were BACK in the room.  Waiting.

And they were talking in hushed tones about “Some doctors will say it’s not that close and not to worry.  Other’s will be concerned. . .”

They shut up as soon as they saw me. . .

And I’m pretty sure it wasn’t because they were shocked by my lunges. . .

They were talking about ME.  ABOUT WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME!!!!

My stomach lurched.

Again, I flopped down on the table and cringed while the Technician dumped half a vat of warm ooze on my stomach.

“Let’s see if the baby’s moved,” she said all chipper-like.

Let’s cut the crap and how ’bout you tell me what you were saying behind my back, bitch.  This isn’t high school.  Knock it off, Deni.  

She tried.  I’ll give her that much.  She was persistent.  But so was Sprout the Second.  He wasn’t budging.

“He’s really being stubborn.”

Yeah.  I never would have come to that conclusion myself.  How much you planning to bill my insurance for that diagnosis?

And. . .back to the cervix again.  AGAIN?!

You have to ask her what she’s doing.  Think of a way to ask her that doesn’t make you sound like you’re a total bitch.

“Something good going on right there?  I don’t want to miss anything exciting.” I half-laughed.

“Well. . .”

Flipping great.  I stiffened up literally bracing myself for it.

“Well. . .the placenta is in a touchy spot.  It’s really low.  And I’m having trouble seeing for sure if it’s covering your cervix at all or not.”

“Oh.  I’m sure it’s fine.  It was this way with my last pregnancy and everything worked itself out later in the pregnancy.” I said, literally waving her off with my right hand and sitting up a bit.  “So is everything okay with the baby?”

“From what we can see, the baby seems fine.  But we have concerns about the placenta.  We’d like to do an internal ultrasound.  Have you ever had one of those?”

“No.  I haven’t had one of those.”  I could feel my face get a little warm – and likely red.  Careful Deni.  Careful.  Patience.  Be patient. 

“Well, it’s kinda’ like a tampon.”

Kinda’ like a tampon that takes pictures?  That’s the dumbest things I’ve ever heard.  

I was irritated.  Now I’m also insulted.  And I’ll be gawddamned if I’m going to let your student ultrasound tech play fairy gawdmother with her magic internal ultrasound wand today.  I am NOT a human lab rat!

And cue my pissed-off, rapid fire rant.

“Ok.  Well, that sounds interesting but let’s talk about what exactly you’re hoping to ascertain.  Because if the placenta is indeed covering part of the cervix can I fix it?”  Death stare.

“Um.  No. . .”  She startled backwards in her chair.

Didn’t see that coming did you?  

“And isn’t it true that often as the baby grows, the placenta moves away from  the cervix?  As it in fact did in my last pregnancy.”

“Um. . .Yes. . .”  Now her face was red.

“Well since I’m already getting weekly ultrasounds, and there’s nothing we can do to correct the potential problem, in your opinion what exactly more are we hoping to achieve with an internal ultrasound?”

“Ah. . .I guess we just wanted to see?”

“Right.  Well, if it’s okay with you, I think I’d rather NOT see.  I mean, if you were pregnant, would you want to spend the next how many weeks fretting about a complication that may or may not materialize?”

“I supposed I can see your point. . .” she trailed off. . .

“I saw you making some measurements on a few pictures.  What were you measuring if you couldn’t see exactly how close the placenta was to the cervix?”

“Well. . .it’s definitely low. . .We don’t think it’s covering the cervix at all from those images. . .I just thought I’d suggest  an internal ultrasound. . .you know. . .”  She was visibly squirming now.

Oh gawd.  Please don’t let me have to see these poor women again.  I’m being such a bitch.  

“I hope you understand.  I’m not trying to be too difficult.  I just don’t want to worry about things like a horrible hemorrhage or a C-Section prematurely.  I tend to be a little obsessive about medical problems.”  Add long laugh for good measure.

“Typically those outcomes don’t happen.  Usually everything is fine as the baby grows.”  She said, visibly relaxing just a smidge.

“Well then, it sounds as if we all agree an internal ultrasound isn’t REALLY necessary today.”  Death Stare plus Smile.

“That sounds fine.  We see you often anyway.  We can just keep an eye on it.”

And then I wiped the ooze off my belly, adjusted my slightly peed in pants, and marched out of there head held high.

Fucking teaching hospitals. 








5 Responses to “Reluctant Mother v Ultrasound Technician”

  1. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha, cause it wasn’t me… and hugs, hugs, hugs because I’ve had high-risk ultrasounds and know how stressed you were during the “Mhmmmm” “Let me get someone else…” murmurs… and kudos on a great story. xoxo
    nothingbythebook recently posted…unLessons from the Flood: We are amazingMy Profile

    • admin says:

      Thank you! And thank you so much for the link back late last week. I’m so far behind! I am so glad you and your family are ok following all the flooding. I’m sure you have a lot to take care of too right now. If there’s something I can offer, please let me know. Take care and keep us posted! XO

  2. Meghan says:

    Oh dear. What a visit! I’m glad you finally spoke up. I too am too nice and patient most of the time… but I love the banter going on in your head… maybe you should say it out loud more 😉
    Meghan recently posted…42K x 30: Month 8 UpdateMy Profile

  3. Dani Ryan says:

    Ugh. I was high risk when I was pregnant, and the ultrasounds always freaked me out. The way they just stared with NO expression on their faces while they did everything, and didn’t crack even the hint of a smile at my jokes. Freaked me the frak out. I’m so impressed with how you handled it!!! I look forward to the “everything fine, assholes!” post. 🙂
    Dani Ryan recently posted…The time my mother left us alone in the carMy Profile

    • admin says:

      That’s why I like some of the technicians better than others. I really like the ladies who laugh at my jokes and tell me confidently that everything is fine. The sonographers that sit there expressionless squinting at the screen make me very nervous.

      PS Last Friday’s ultrasound – although administered by a BRAND NEW RESIDENT WHO WAS CLUELESS – but at least nice and friendly – showed the placenta (what a gross word) is moving. So hopefully that continues and everything will be fine. 🙂