Probe Me Gently

February 6, 2008

During the pregnancy that produced the Wonderbaby, I became accustomed very quickly to the never-ending – and wholly ignoble – prodding and poking that attends being pregnant. How much time can one woman spend on her back on an examination table with her feet shoved into stirrups and someone’s hand up her hoo-ha? Quite a lot, actually. And you learn very quickly to not complain, because, hey, they’re just looking after you and the baby. So. You just lay back and try to think of anything other than how it is humanly possible for one gloved hand to fit all the way up there. And you try to be grateful. Because – have I said this already? – they’re just taking care of you and the baby.

This time around, I’m finding it more difficult to be blah-zay about the transvaginal examinations – and, if I might add, the incessant demand for blood (we’d just like you to go back to the lab AGAIN, for just a few more blood tests, all right? NO. NO. NOT ALL RIGHT). Maybe it’s because I’m less anxious about the mechanics of this pregnancy – I know that he’s in there, and if they can hear his heart beating, isn’t that good enough? – that I have a lower tolerance level for these investigative violations of my person. Maybe it’s because I’ve gone through enough – once they’ve stuck a big-assed needle through your belly to determine whether or not your baby is facing severe disabilities, you’re pretty much done – and that I believe, accordingly, somewhere deep down, that I’m already well paid up on my pregnancy-discomfort dues. Or maybe I’ve just become a bigger baby in the time since Wonderbaby was born. Whatever the case, I’m having trouble hacking the medical side of pregnancy this time around. So much so that I almost passed out twice yesterday – once during one of those deeply unpleasant transvaginal probes, and once during the umpteenth round of bloodletting.

Which, you know, doesn’t do much for my maternal self-esteem, nor for my sense of myself as a functioning grown-up (especially not when the lab-technicians/blood-letters get all finger-waggy on me for going dizzy on them without warning. Like I know when I’m about to fall over. Please. If I knew, I wouldn’t do it.) I tell myself that I’m just that much less worried about this pregnancy, especially since the events of early winter, and that I consequently feel less supportive of continual probing investigations into the pregnancy. But in my more truthful moments, I think that I’ve been worn down by motherhood and pregnancy-while-parenting-a-toddler and I am therefore just that much more sensitive, which is to say, much more intensely wussy.

It’s just that, you know, I don’t want anyone else poking at me or prodding me or making me feel dizzy, whether by sticking needles in me or by running around my legs in tiny little circles screeching wheeeeeeee I go round-and-round I go round-and-round wheeeee! I’m quite full up on that already, thanks. And while the little person doing round-and-round is adorable, the white-coated doctors and surgical-glove wearing lab technicians are not, so there’s no pay-off.

Just let me hear the heartbeat, then give me some chocolate and send me home to put my feet up. Oh, yeah – and stop sticking your hands up my nether regions. Unless you really are going to pony up with that chocolate. Then we can talk.

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    { 35 comments }

    liv February 6, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    amen to that. there should just be a basket of high quality dark chocolate in all OB/Gyn exam rooms. honestly. what are we? animals? i think not.

    Dirkey February 6, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    There are risks and benefits to all those tests they are giving you. You do have the right to deny any tests that they are giving you, some of them are more trouble than they are worth IMO with False positives that scare the bejeezus out of you.

    the dragonfly February 6, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    Oh my, I got so sick of that during my pregnancy. I had pre-term contractions that started at 26 weeks and lasted almost to the end of the pregnancy (they stopped for about five days just before he was born!)…and they kept telling me to go in to labor and delivery. SIX TIMES before delivery. And at least one vaginal exam each time. Just leave me alone!!

    But…now I have a beautiful little boy. So…not so bad, in the end. :)

    Someone Being Me February 6, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    I agree. Although you do know you can tell them you don’t want certain tests, right? I’m always willing to listen to my doctor’s recommendations but if something makes me feel sick or uncomfortable and it really isn’t serving a purpose then I tell them no. Most doctors are pretty understanding about that. My doctor told me when I was pregnant that he worked for me. He would give me guidelines and recommendations but everything was my choice.

    B February 6, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    I have felt the same way with my (3rd) pregnancy (I was due last Friday). I had a dream last week that I fired my OBGYN in the delivery room, then started screaming at nurses to unhook all the equipment and get it OFF of me. Ha! The dream could have been because I saw this documentary though The Business of Being Born.

    ewe are here February 6, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    I think I’m now grateful the NHS is skint… I had no such exam EVER during either pregnancy UNTIL the very last couple of weeks when they were checking to see if I was going into labor or not.

    Mimi February 6, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    I had no no no internal exams until the week I gave birth. Midwives. Much less invasive. I understand you’re ‘higher risk’, but honestly, these people have caused you a lot more concern than saved you from it.

    Wuss away. It’s not fun.

    Jenifer February 6, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Can I say that I had no internal exam for either pregnancy? No. OK then.

    Her Bad Mother February 6, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    Why the many tests? Well, with Wonderbaby, I had many complications – some of which caused me to bleed right into the 6th month. So I was probed and pricked a lot. This time, no bleeding, but the pregnancy was deemed higher risk when it turned out that, well, I was at much higher risk for a number of problems. And I have fibroids on my ovaries, because, well, the gods decided that a baby wasn’t enough. That, and my doctor prefers the hand-up-the-vajayjay method to repeated ultrasounds. AND I’m glucose intolerant, which puts me at risk for gestational diabetes, which means lots of blood tests and far too many warnings about chocolate.

    bored yet? Yeah, me too.

    Anonymous February 6, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    Good lord woman. Get thee to a midwife! You are not a womb pod. You are a human being who is growing another human being… not some experiment on how many experiments can we do.
    Women DO NOT need to be flat on a table with their legs in stirrups.
    It is sick how often people think this is the way it is supposed to be.
    Think about it, our maternal/fetal death rates have been rising with the amount of medical interventions oops I mean everyday medical procedures… snort… are being done to women in their childbearing years.
    Get a second opinion at least? For your own sake!

    Heather February 6, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Wow that stinks.

    kittenpie February 6, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    I do hear you on the idea of it all wearing thin with being both pregnant and mothering because I’m halfway done already with that. When did I become so irritable? The tired is making me a grouch, and my poor girl is bearing some of it, though she’s not helping this past week, either. sigh. It’ll get better, right?

    Maggie February 6, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    I was less forgiving of the experts my second pregnancy, too. I personally believe when you know what’s coming you get more freaked out. First time around I didn’t know, so it was always one scary surprise quickly usurped by another (how lovely). It’s kind of like when you work out with a trainer and the first time they tell you to do something you do it but the second time you’re like, “noooooo, not again….” Only… with more blood and pain and stuff.

    I’ll stop now.

    nomotherearth February 6, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Yeah, I never understood the constant bloodletting either.

    realitytesting February 6, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    Gotcha. When I was pregnant with Laura, I had gest. diabetes, requiring weekly blood draws for three months. I nicknamed the nurse Mean Geraldine. I was told I’d forget all about the pain of pregnancy, labor, and delivery…I’m sure you were too. It’s been ten years. I’ve never forgotten. Hang in there.

    Liz February 6, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    Again: Amen.

    I see the OB on Friday and I can only imagine.

    But, dude, transvaginal exams? Really? I just get a quick ultrasound and weighed and bloodletted and then I’m out the door. She saves the transvaginal exams for the end, as in: dialated?

    Maddy February 6, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    I’m pretty much immune myself after all these years.

    There again, I’m so out of practice I’m practically a virgin again.
    Best wishes

    Chicky Chicky Baby February 6, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    I’d rather roses and diamonds if someone is getting that, um, personal.

    Maman February 6, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    I used to hate people asking me the date of my last period… Ummm six months ago twit

    Redneck Mommy February 6, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    I just had my pap test today and as my gynie dude had his hand up my nether regions I asked him what his idea of foreplay is.

    His blushing to the roots and worrying about whether I was serious or not was the only joy I took from that experience.

    Tomorrow, the bloodletting begins. I mean bloodwork.

    So I hear you.

    At least you’re getting a baby out of the deal….If I’m lucky, I won’t get a parking ticket at the hospital.

    Mac and Cheese February 6, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    I think you should switch to my OB. He never touches me. They really do just listen for the hearbeat and ask me if everything is ok. The first time my OB saw my vajayjay with my last pregnancy was in the delivery room. I don’t know what it takes to get probed around here. You know you’re unattractive when…

    Crunchy Carpets February 7, 2008 at 1:16 am

    20 vials today.
    20…she couldn’t hold them and they were spilling all over the tray.

    Hannah February 7, 2008 at 9:33 am

    It’s like you peered into my head and pulled out my thoughts… i am really minding the tests this time around.

    I’ve had sugar leakage twice so I’ve had to take the glucose tolerance test twice already – and may need to take it again. Drink the gaggy horrible Trutol, give up vials upon vials of blood. And I have low blood pressure so it takes ages.

    I’m 29 weeks today. Only 77 more days to go. Hallejulah.

    roz February 7, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Whoa lady, that sucks. I’ve got a different OB for this pregnancy because we moved, and at first her relaxed attitude made me feel like she wasn’t nearly as attentive as my first OB. Turns out, it’s kinda nice to be in and outta there in 7 minutes. The short of it is, what a range there is in styles of care. Can you tell your OB that all the tests are feeling invasive? I imagine she’ll tell you its for your own good, but seeing as you’ll soon start going more often, perhaps you don’t need that EVERY time?

    Laural Dawn February 7, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    I hear you.
    My problems this pregnancy are all depression related. And I have to go for counseling every week or so – which stresses me out as much as the depression. Will they medicate? Won’t they? As soon as I get there I start to cry. It’s not pretty.
    Chocolate is the only thing helping me (and me too with the intolerance, but not the diabetes).
    I’m so over all of this.

    MultiplesMommy February 7, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    Never liked being pregnant. All the poking and prodding, not to mention the heart burn and the palpitations and the Braxton-Hicks, etc, etc. If it makes you feel any better, my 2nd pregnancy was twins that were IVF. I had over 100 needle-sticks…and that was before I was even pregnant. It sucks. I feel for you, and send you a virtual chocolate martini to take the edge off, and a virtual sledgehammer to use on the next person who tries to touch your nether regions without sweet talking you first.

    Mitzi Green February 7, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    you should get a doc in the states. one hoo-ha exam at the beginning, then it’s basically “yep, you’re still pregnant” until the final 6 weeks, at which point i start finding convenient excuses to miss appointments…

    mothergoosemouse February 7, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Two out of three mornings in the hospital, some crazy woman woke me at 5am and jabbed my left arm for blood.

    I opened my eyes long enough to verify that she had a hospital badge and then went back to sleep.

    Now, the needles that administer those drugs that make you feel all woozy – those are a different story. Stick away, baby.

    Stimey February 7, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    I completely understand. The indignities of pregnancy and childbirth are far less fascinating the second (and third) time.

    GoMommy February 7, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    As a lab technician in my pre-SAHM life, I think the chocolate idea is a great one…except for the patients with gestational diabetes…but they should be able to work something out!

    Law Student Hot Mama February 8, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    How dare you think about your body as something other than a walking uterus that is carrying something so dangerous that you cannot possibly grow it alone without monthly gropings! Heh.

    I think next time I’m at least going to get the cheap thrill by getting a hot gyno.

    Mom101 February 8, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Wait, a whole hand?

    Wow.

    I also love that you’re easy enough that you’ll spread ‘em for chocolate. I bet you were a fun date back in the day.

    AnotherMomCreation February 8, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    hmmm, an interesting concept. But maybe if we had some nice Godiva chocolates those transvaginal ultrasounds wouldn’t hurt like a stiff punch to your cervix.
    I’ll never forget the pain I felt during my second pregnancy, I left the office in tears because of how badly that bitch hurt me.
    Errr….

    liz February 10, 2008 at 1:45 am

    I’m just going to echo the others who suggest that you talk to your doctor and ask for less invasiveness and a more hands-off approach. You’re paying attention to your body, you will know if you need more monitoring.

    Anonymous February 12, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    oh catherine i feel for you.my last 2 pregnancies were high risk due to my age,gestational diabetes…the last baby i had so many frikkin appointments i should’ve just booked a room at the hospital (my obs office was next door to hospital)gestational diabetes doc every month from 4 on,diabetes clinic to check insulin was working every 2 weeks, bio-physical profiles every 2 weeks,non-stress tests at hospital weekly,lab work freakin needles…..etc.any how liz is right maybe you can ask doc not to be so hands on….LAVANDULA

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