As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I actually started drafting another blog and basically kept up an entry for every week. Rather than publish that blog, I’m just going to summarize the past 12.5 weeks and/or address issues about pregnancy in general in a few posts here.
As soon as I found out I was pregnant and started reading about it, my biggest fear became miscarriage. I guess I probably learned this at one point in medical school, but some 1 in 5 confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage. That is 1 in 5 woman, after having a positive pregnancy test, will miscarry. I was shocked! The miscarriage rate is actually probably much higher, but women don’t realize they’re pregnant yet and have what they think is just a late period (which is the miscarriage). Once a heartbeat is seen on ultrasound, the chance of miscarriage goes down to about 5%, and then once you get to around 12 weeks, the rate becomes much lower. That is why a lot of women wait to announce their pregnancy until at least 12 weeks, with the other reason being should something go wrong and they end up terminating the pregnancy.
As I had mentioned in my other post, I really had a lot of mixed feelings about waiting to announce the pregnancy. Yes, I get that if something were to happen, it would be awkward to tell people who had recently congratulated you about the pregnancy that you miscarried, but to me, the “pressure” to keep it a secret almost seems to send a message to the woman that miscarriage is something to be shameful of, which is absolutely not true. Miscarrying must be absolutely heartbreaking to have to go through, and I know I would want support and prayer from my friends if I were to go through such a thing. To go through that alone would be so difficult, so I ended up telling a few people early on that I was pregnant. Two of them happened to be friends of mine who worked in OB, because I wanted someone I could go to for advice and recommendations.
Since I work in radiology, since I knew seeing the heartbeat meant that the risk of miscarriage went down, and because I didn’t want to wait until my first appointment at 8 weeks, I went down to the ultrasound department to scan myself a few times. That first time I scanned myself at around 6 weeks and saw the heartbeat was just surreal. It’s so amazing to me that the heart starts visibly beating just 4 weeks after conception (for those not familiar with pregnancy terms, the dating is based on your last period. Conception happens about two weeks after your period, so technically, you’re not even pregnant during weeks 1 and 2 of your pregnancy, so when I say I’m 6 weeks pregnant, that actually means 4 weeks after conception). It was also comforting seeing the heart beat and knowing my risk of miscarriage had now gotten a little lower.
Now, I’m not a fan of the idea of posting OB ultrasound pics on social media. In utero, there is just nothing visibly special or unique about my embryo/fetus compared to any other woman’s (and really, like many other animals at that stage)…they all just look weird and alien-like to me, and the thought of seeing the inside of someone’s uterus is on social media is just weird to me…haha…and so I assume the same is true for others? Maybe not, but I am going to post one video, and I promise it will be the only ultrasound pic/video I post. It’s a video of the ultrasound I described above done at 6 weeks. I just think it’s so cool and amazing that you can see the heartbeat so early in the little embryo’s life (it is still an embryo until 8 weeks). Life is amazing.
When you watch the 5 second video, the “black” area is the endometrial cavity (inside the uterus). In the lower right-hand side of the endometrial cavity is a gray blob of cells. If you look carefully, you can see something flickering in it…that’s it’s heart beating!