Monday, August 31, 2009

Don't Worry

I am learning a lot about health care professionals through this pregnancy. Namely: Many of them think about your uterus, your fetus, your vagina as if looking at images of them in a medical textbook. It's all clinical. Routine. They do, after all, lack the emotional attachment you have to that fetus (and, let's face it, you're pretty attached to your uterus and vagina by now as well). They forget that there is an active mind – and heart – a few feet above those organs.

At least that's what I think was behind the actions of my favorite nurse last week, because I know she's not mean or unintelligent. As I drove to work on Friday I picked up a voicemail message from her, which she'd left the night before. She told me that she needed to go over my ultrasound results with me but she "didn't want me to worry" and I should call her at home. I don't know what kind of a person/robot/tin man could hear that message and not worry – a lot – but it ain't me. I called the answering service, which of course was no help at all (I really need to figure out a direct dial to reach those nurses before 9 a.m.). The minutes from 7:30 until 9:15 when I finally talked to the message-leaving nurse I think left me 20 years older. "What's wrong?" I said first. "I told you not to worry," she said. (Oh, okay.) Turns out, they just needed some additional pictures of the baby's heart because one part of it wasn't visible last week. And the reason she couldn't have simply said that in her voicemail is....?

Naturally when I heard the real reason for her call, my second feeling (the first being relief) was excitement that we would get to see the little guy on TV again. And this morning's follow-up ultrasound came at an opportune time: I got a sunburn at my friend's wedding yesterday, was certain that I had fried the baby, and glad for what I hoped would be a reassuring scan.

You know, in addition to learning about health care professionals, I'm learning that everyone else has been right: Worrying doesn't really do much for you. Because the thing is, what's likely to happen is rarely the thing that you thought of to worry about. It's usually something you never even considered. So it's not like worrying prepares you or anything. Because I definitely wasn't expecting the ultrasound tech today to tell me I was about to get reacquainted with the long-lost vaginal probe. She suspected placenta previa, she said, and needed a closer look. I sort of freaked (just a little). She told me it wasn't a big deal, and added, "You're a big worrier, huh?"

"Gee, where'd you get that idea?" almost slipped out of my lips automatically, dripping in sarcasm. But I held it in. She did, after all, take another quick peek at my baby's nether-region, to remove what I thought was a shadow of a doubt left by the other tech that it was a boy (this one was certain). So I guess I owed her one.

I have placenta previa – the good old wand told us so. It means that the placenta is lying low in my uterus, covering my cervix. I have been told how common it is. How in most cases, it resolves by the third trimester. I have been told to avoid jumping, aerobic exercise and running (which is really going to put a damper in my nonexistent exercise regimen), and to keep everything out of my vagina until they scan again in about nine weeks. I immediately asked about the giant plastic probe that had just been in said vagina moments earlier, but for some reason that doesn't seem to count (having been granted immunity, apparently, by the vaginal customs agency).

I have been told not to worry.

I am trying. I vow to try to stay off of Google. To try and take comfort in the statistics (they are on my side) and to trust the textbook medicine that my smart providers rely on. I am trying.


Amanda said...

I know that I not suppose to worry, but I don't know how not to worry. Got any tips? I would have totally freaked if I got a voicemail like that. How did she think that would sound?

Ugg, previa. Well, hopefully it does resolve. It's good that they got another look and found that.

kirke said...

Blech previa....but on a side note, one of my friends had that and she got many ultrasounds. They kept checking to see if it moved (it did). She said all in all it wasn't so bad because she got to see the baby so many times.

Try not to stress....I think it moves in a lot of cases. I'm worrying with you, but trying to do so a little less. It's exhausting :)

JamieD said...

I think my doctor intentionaly omitted the location of my placenta because I have no idea where it's at. She knows what a freak I can be. And to be honest - I haven't even asked. I'm at the point now where even I have to admit I've got too much to worry about.

Very exciting about getting a bonus scan! Not to sound like a hypocrit, but try not to worry too much. I've been trying to remind myself that people give birth all the time and have for thousands of years. Surely we can get through it once!!

Heather said...

I hope everything resolves itself quickly with the placenta previa. Hang in there.

Dianne said...

Wow, thatis alot to take in. Well thank goodness they needed to scan you again!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that the nurse freaked you out with her message! And I'm sorry about the placenta previa. I hope that it moves away from the cervix over the next couple of months.