At around week 16 of this pregnancy, I became a new human. Or I should say, I became human again. I stopped throwing up. I got my energy back. I started working out almost everyday. I even slept with my husband…like once a week. Things were looking up.
I can’t tell you the relief it is to feel like yourself again. For anyone who has dealt with being ill the entire nine months; you are a fucking soldier and deserve a medal.
So, anyway, I went into my 20 week ultrasound feeling confident. It ended up being a little over two hours long because they now take extra measurements for anyone who has conceived via IVF. I’m a huge fan of this new protocol. I felt so relieved that this little man was healthy and growing properly.
Mid-ultrasound, the nurse needed to get a look at the placement of my placenta. My little guy was sleeping so hard, that no matter how high she raised the feet on the bed, or poked and prodded, she couldn’t get a good picture.
It was time for an internal ultrasound. This is something that I’m extremely familiar with. If you’ve undergone any fertility treatments at all, you know all about an internal ultrasound. I saw a post on an IVF account the other day that said “If you’ve never thrown up from an internal ultrasound, have you actually ever experienced one?”
For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of one these bad boys, let me set the scene for you. The first time I was met face-to-face with the ultrasound wand, I was shocked. So what happens is, you undress from the waist down, wiggle your butt down to the end of the bed, and put your feet up in the stirrups - pretty standard exam position.
But then, this is the part that’ll make you blush. The ultrasound nurse or tech pulls out what appears to be a MASSIVE dildo. She puts a gel on the tip of this wand, covers it with a condom, then squirts another gel over the condom, which might be some sort of lube, but I’m not positive. She then hands you this gigantic dildo look-a-like and tells you to insert it.
Okay, so if you’re unprepared for this, it can totally catch you off guard. Now, when inserting the wand, you have to make sure NOT to make eye contact with the person handing it to you. I remember the first time I did it, I was convinced she was judging to see if I knew my way around a dildo.
So once the wand is inserted, you lie back, and the fun begins. The wand is definitely bigger than your average D, so unless you’re into some super freaky shit, it’s probably going to be pretty fucking uncomfortable. They push the wand all around to look at your ovaries and uterus. Sometimes it actually really hurts and sometimes it’s just mildly uncomfortable.
So now that you know what an internal ultrasound looks like, imagine me getting one with a full bladder, 20 weeks pregnant. It took every ounce ounce of me not to pee on this poor woman. BUT, I successfully made it the few minutes it took to get a good look at my placenta. Small victory, but i’ll take it.
We left the ultrasound feeling great. We have a healthy man-child brewing in there and we couldn’t be more pumped about it. Michael went to work and I went to a spin class. It felt so good to be out in public, working out. I couldn’t get over how amazing I felt. I made it through the rough part!
And then my phone rang.
A nurse from my OB’s office called to talk about my ultrasound results. She informed me that, just like it was with Mickey, my placenta was low lying. This means that my placenta is closer to my cervix than they’d like to see. It had attached in the exact same spot as it did in my last pregnancy.
Usually the placenta moves up on its own by week 30, but there are restrictions until they can confirm that it’s where it needs to be. Those restrictions include intercourse, working out, lifting laundry baskets, groceries, your 32 lbs child, etc.
I JUST got a taste of freedom! I was JUST about do my 150th ride on Peloton. I was JUST about to have a semi-normal sex life with my husband. SO close.
Now mind you, women have it WAY worse than me. I don’t have placenta previa, which is where the placenta actually partially or fully covers your cervix. That shit is no joke. Compared to that, low-lying placenta is a mere inconvenience.
What started out as frustration that I now had all of these restrictions again, quickly turned into a complete panic attack. Since it attached in the same place, it must mean my placenta would grow into my uterine wall again. I immediately started having flash backs to having my placenta “manually extracted” after delivering Mickey. And then my mind quickly went back to being away from her, in the hospital, after my D&C when she was only five days old.
My new OB is a saint. She keeps reassuring me that I’ll be having a scheduled c-section and she will do everything in her power to make sure there isn’t any placenta left in me. She even said she’d do a bedside ultrasound immediately after to make sure it was all out.
She also told me I can still do my Peloton rides, just not the high intensity ones. And she said I can have intercourse, if we’re careful about it. (So hot, I know).
So my doctor has given me a game plan and has given me some leeway on the restrictions for low-lying placenta. And yet, I’m having such a hard time calming down and trusting the process.
When we go through a traumatic experience during labor and delivery, how do we equip ourselves for round two? My unhealthy philosophy has usually been, “Expect the worst and hope for the best.” Until a friend of mine shared some incredibly empowering advice. She said, “Expect the best and know you’re strong enough to handle the worst.”
I’m just going to end this post by retyping her advice, so we can really take in how truly powerful that statement is.
Expect the best, and know you’re strong enough to handle the worst.