Dentists, ultrasounds, and in-laws

September 11, 2009

Pregnancy discussed

1. I’m starting to enjoy going to the dentist because they’re  so hopeful. They say things like come back when you’re eight months pregnant for your six month cleaning! and after you have your baby, get your wisdom teeth removed. Wow, these people think pregnancy equals babies. They don’t know pregnancy = maybe baby. Still, whenever I’m around them I get the feeling of what it might be like to be a normal pregnant person and I feel hopeful. The dental hygienist asked me Is this your first pregnancy? I stared at her unsure how to respond. What response do you all say? I told her no, not my first pregnancy, my third but hopefully this one will stick around. I know this probably made her uncomfortable, but I feel its a dishonor to lie and say yes. I don’t want to cover up what happened and though I’m not fully out of the closet about my IF and losses in real life, I don’t know how I can lie to anyone if they ask. I’m trying to figure out a better way to answer this question since I know that when if I reach a stage where I begin to show, then people will inevitably ask and I want to be honest without making people uncomfortable.

2. Each time I had an ultrasound, I lost the pregnancy soon after. This is irrational but what if that’s the cause? My mom and Jack voiced these concerns too. I don’t know. I’m scared not only of the results of Monday’s u/s but the act of ultrasounding. My mom suggested I wait but unless there’s solid (or controversial) proof I’m getting an u/s despite the fear.

3. I just found out Jack’s parents are coming next weekend. If you read this blog you know why I’m paranoid (i.e. when I see them I bleed). Jack found good tickets to Orlando and suggested I go see my parents. I’m scared to book because what if Monday’s ultrasound is bad? Then I’d hate to go. Or, what if I fly to Orlando and the flight causes me to lose my baby? Or should I just face my fears of seeing my inlaws. My therapist says I’m clinging to superstition to feign control over life and suggested I fight the superstition and see them. I’m not sure I can handle it. If I wait until my ultrasound to book tickets to Orlando, they’ll be $900. I’m so confused.


  1. OK I’ll tackle these in sections because I’m just that organized lately.

    Part 1-Thank you. This is an interesting and thought-provoking issue. I’m frankly not sure what to say. You are right, you want to honor those babies who stay in your heart, but also you don’t want people to feel uncomfortable who are just trying to wish you well and give their heartfelt congratulations.

    Part 2 – I realize it’s so scary but I’d get the ultrasound. I think that waiting with no information will drive you insane.

    Part 3 – Ugh. Can you book and get a refund if you change your mind?

  2. Oh honey.

    1. I LOVE your dentist, grab onto their positive attitude re your pregnancy and squeeze the freakin dear life outta it!

    2. Re the ultrasound thing, I have heard similar talk about ultrasounds not being good, I’m not sure if there has been any longterm study etc on it but I know you’re not the first (and won’t be the last!) to raise concerns on whether ultrasounds do more harm than good. I can totally GET why you want to have the ultrasound!!

    3. I can also understand your fear for staying around to see Jacks parents and also about getting on that plane. I flew two days before my last miscarriage and I’ve wondered whether flying had anything to do with me losing the baby. Can you book the cheap tickets and then cancel if you need to? Or being cheap do you not have that option available?

    Big hugs

  3. There have been long term studies on ultrasounds – and there is no evidence to suggest that they are unsafe. BUT you have to do what makes you feel sane and comfortable.

    If the in-laws really, really stress you out – I would get out of dodge – whether that be to Florida or a resort close by where you could get pedicures and sleep in a nice cozy bed.

  4. well… i don’t think doctor’s would give everybody ultrasounds if they caused micarriages. the flight is not going to make you miscarry either. i think they say try to avoid flying late in pregnancy but even then it’s probably fine 99.9% of the time. i flew in july and i’m still pregnant. i think going to visit your parents is a good idea because otherwise you’re going to be all stressed out about it and that’s not good either. i know your ultrasound is going to go well, but if for some crazy reason it doesn’t, wouldn’t it be nice to have your mom around to take care of you??

  5. ((Hugs))!!! I don’t know what else to say, but I wanted to offer my support and let you know I’m thinking of you!

  6. I’ve been a reader for a while now and just wanted to share how I handled situations like these. I have 4 pregnancies, none of which brought the joy of parenting my wiggling giggling little bundle. But each time I was expecting if anyone asked such questions, and sometimes even if they didn’t, I would say something like, “I have 3 little ones in heaven, this is our 4th.” Or something to that affect. I didn’t want PCOS to steal away the memory or honor of those children like it had my life with them! Even today we have two beautiful adopted children, I often times let people know that they are our 5th & 6th children…the others are just watching us from heaven!”

    I do pray that you will find peace in whatever decision you choose…

  7. 1. I think there’s a difference between medical/dental professionals when answering this question. It’s important to be honest with them, even if it does make them uncomfortable because that information could have an imapact on how they treat you. It’s a tougher call with other people though. Especially strangers (WHEN you start showing) who ask only expecting to hear how happy you are. I don’t really have any answers on this one, but can commiserate with the mixed emotions of having to answer the question…

    2. Ultrasounds don’t cause miscarriages. Your beta numbers told you something was wrong last time, before the ultrasound.

    3. I think it’s possible that the stress of seeing your in-laws is more the issue than some omen of your in-laws themselves. You have to go with the least stressful option. If going to FL (which is perfectly safe, the reason that they don’t like women to fly in their 3rd trimester is the possibility of a baby being born in the air with no doctors available and in a cramped plane) will be less stressful than seeing his parents, go to FL. I don’t think that the early stages of a high risk pregnancy is the right time to face your fears. I think it’s the right time to be self indulgent… The best option, though, would be for his parents to not visit. Is this not an option? Can he not tell them that you guys are busy and this isn’t a good weekend for them to come?

  8. My advice: at least go somewhere while your in-laws are there. Even if it’s just your brain telling you that seeing inlaws = bleeding, you may as well give yourself some piece of mind! If you’re too nervous to fly, is there someone within driving distance you could go visit that weekend? It might be good to get away for a while anyway…with all the life changes (leaving your job and being the P word) a little vacation might be just what the doctor ordered!

    As far as the ultrasound goes, I’m not sure my advice. Has it always been a transvaginal? It may be too early, but you could see if they could do a regular ultrasound instead, again to ease your mind!

  9. So sorry you’re feeling scared and confused! {{hugs}}

    First of all, I think its only natural to acknowledge your angel babies. I think its more important to be true to yourself than to worry about how uncomfortable it may make someone else feel. They will get over the discomfort, but the loss will always be with you.

    Secondly, I think you should go with your gut on the u/s. I feel you would probably feel better with having it and knowing if there are any problems than continuing to worry and have no real idea. But, again, that’s your decision. As someone else suggested, can they do a regular u/s rather than a transvaginal?

    Finally, for your own peace of mind, I think you should go somewhere while your in-laws are there – preferably somewhere peaceful and relaxing. If you’re worried about the flight, is there somewhere nearby you could go and just relax? A spa maybe?

    Good luck! I’ll have you in my thoughts!

  10. kate,

    your fears are valid, given all that you’ve endured to this point. what is it like for you to hear your therapist’s definitive statements about “what you’re doing”? as a therapist myself, i’m having a response about what they said to you re: your feelings/fears of seeing jack’s parents. but i know what really matters is how you experience your therapist, not my adverse response to the snippet i’m reading on your blog; i get that. but i did want to check in with you about your experience of her/his comments b/c that part of your post really stood out to me.

    one thought about whether or not to head to orlando: if your u/s reveals painful news, would you want to be at home with jack’s parents? that almost worries me for you more than whether or not seeing them will cause you to miscarry. how do you feel about that?

    lastly, if you decide to fly…one thing i learned when i flew last month is that if you tell the security people you are pregnant they will give you a pat down rather than require you to walk through the xray machine or use the wand. that gave me peace of mind, so i thought maybe it would be of help to you. 🙂

    thinking of you as you navigate these complicated feelings and decisions…you are a strong woman who’s been through so much in such a short time. i hope that whatever you decide that you are able to offer yourself kindness and care especially during these intense times.

    • Aw you’re a therapist! Now that I know it seems so obvious! 🙂 Well, my therapist didn’t say it as firmly as I listed, he suggested as one possible reason that I’m scared to see them, he didn’t tell me authoritatively to see my in-laws and face the fears, he said that for my mental well being it may be best to go to Orlando, but he thought there could be benefit in overcoming the fear. Do you think in your opinion this is bad advice/

      You gave me a light bulb moment on whether I’d really want to see Jack’s parents after a m/c. WOW…. okay, all questions removed- I’m going as long as I can find decent tickets. Unfortunately in a matter of days the prices have doubled. Thanks for your advice.

      • hey…i just realized i never popped back in here to see if you replied to my comment on this one.

        re: your therapist’s advice…i don’t necessarily this it’s a matter of good or bad…it’s just not my style of therapy, so it gets my attention. but i could see more of what you were saying when you elaborated a bit on the context of the conversation the two of you had re: going or staying.

        the main thing that matters is whether or not you feel “gotten” by your therapist and if you’re happy with the treatment, then that’s all that matters really.

        and it was fun to read that you could “see” that i’d be a therapist…that’s why i wrote that long post on therapist-client privilege when i didn’t want any of my irl people to comment on my pregnancy. 🙂

        okay…i know this isn’t your blog anymore, but i’m sure you’re still going to get this comment in your in-box…or at least i hope so.

        hope you are well…and i never heard—did you go to fl or not? i’m thinking not.


  11. I can only imagine how scared you must be — I am constantly worried too, my journey through IF has not included miscarriages (save a chemical pregnancy).

    I agree with your therapist, I think the concerns about the u/s and your in-laws are your way of trying to make sense and have some control. It’s natural for all of us to do this! But I also know that IF is tricky ground, and if makes you feel better to delay the u/s (it’s not like your baby needs one!) or leave the house when in-laws arrive, then more power to you.

  12. Dear Kate,

    I disagree that just because a medical procedure is in widespread use it is safe. There are numerous examples in recent history of pregnant women being given drugs that they were told were safe but which ended up being harmful to the fetus.

    As patients, and particularly pregnant women, we must be well-read & -informed so we can advocate for ourselves & our children. The book mentioned below & “Your Best Birth” are both excellent reads that will help you make the most informed decisions regarding your body & pregnancy.

    I’ve been reading “Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: A Doctor’s Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices” written by a doctor who chose homebirth for her four pregnancies because of what she saw in the medical establishment.

    There are studies that ultrasounds have the potential to be harmful to the fetus. The medical literature did not say they cause miscarriages mind you, but they did say that technicians’ experiences varies greatly and that you should only see someone who does 700+ u/s a year, and that you should ask them to do it at the lowest frequency and shortest duration possible.

    They also suggested completely avoiding vaginal u/s as that can transfer heat to the fetus and potentially be damaging. Drink 3-4 glasses of water one hour before your u/s appointment & ask them to do an abdominal first. I had mine done at 7w0d and they were able to do it abdominally.

    Pregnancy is also dehydrating so you may need to drink extra water to really fill up that bladder so they can get a clear view with the u/s. Try experimenting over the next couple of days with drinking varying amounts of water to see how you feel an hour later.

    And, if you can still get a ticket, go see your parents. Hopefully Monday will bring good news, and one’s parents home is always a haven.

    Lots of love my friend,

  13. I’m a superstitious person so I relate. I’d go see my parents… Our dentist’s office was goo gaa over our pregnancies too and the receptionist cried after Alex was born. With these babies, I had my appt in June and was told to make sure I brought the babies in at my Dec appt… I remember thinking the same thing- really? you think I’ll have live babies in Dec? My track record sucks. But I smiled that someone had faith, even if I couldnt always. And I promised I would.

  14. It is a very intense time getting past that first trimester. Ultrasounds have been used safely for years now and no one has found any harmful side effects. I hope all is well!

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