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This is going to seem contradictory…

I spent the weekend as well as Monday and Tuesday (Mediocre Institution’s fall break. YAY!) lying around being feeble. I’ve developed an Endless Headache, which mixes nicely with the Perpetual Nausea and Transitory Yet Reliable Heartburn. I actually didn’t know headaches were a thing that went along with pregnancy. THEY ARE. And it sucks. I find that waking up with a headache makes the whole day really hard to face. So that was me whining about how hard it is to gestate a fetus. Wah.

You’d think all these symptoms would be nice and reassuring. They are not. The thing is, I know too many tragic stories where women felt just the same as they had been feeling, then showed up to an appointment to learn that their fetus was dead. I can’t help but imagine that possibility. It makes me want to google things like “how to know if your fetus is dead” or “how long does a dead fetus stick around before your body notices”, but, uh…I really don’t want to see the results that such searches would turn up.

This is why people get a doppler. But I can’t make up my mind. Pros: reassurance. Cons: terror, which may or may not turn out to be unnecessary. You’d think I could just come down on one side or the other, but I can’t. I think part of me feels like buying one would be giving in to some level of anxiety and obsessiveness that I really don’t want in my life. Like, shouldn’t I be able to get through this on faith alone? And it feels like further medicalization of what has already been a very medical experience. (No offense intended to those of you who have gone for it–these are just my own personal crazy feelings.) Part of me feels like it’s silly to live in the age of science and not take advantage of it. So it’s up to you to decide for me. What should I do?

20 Comments Post a comment
  1. i was very smug on the topic of dopplers prior to the commencement of bleeding. now i am very, very happy to have one. i know the big danger is that you won't find a heartbeat and will freakout, but you know what? i freaked out on the night of red blood (#1) anyway. if i'd had a doppler then, i figured i would either have found a heartbeat and been modestly reassured (and maybe gotten an hour of sleep) or not found it. and if i hadn't found it…well, i already thought i was miscarrying, so i question how much worse it would have been.the things they say about them are all true. it is fun to hear the heartbeat. it is easy to not find it. (sugar was always better at finding it than i was.) in the most worried times, i used it several times a week. now that i'm getting kicked pretty regularly, i'm not using it much, but i still love that sound.PS, you get fall break? lucky. i gots nothing here at the state university of we-don't-get-columbus-day-even-though-we're-the-only-state-that-celebrates-it.

    October 20, 2010
  2. I was JUST writing about this on an old post of Al's. I reallllly want one and spent a little time googling them. I mentioned this to hubs and he gave it the old NFW. He knows I'm prone to terror and that if a heartbeat ever went MIA I would totally freak out. All true. And so I continue in no-mans land—no symptoms, no feelings of movement, no doctors appts for another 17 days. Ay yi yi!!Also, yeah, yuck. I have the same thoughts: If something suddenly went wrong, WHEN would my body actually tell me? It's so sick what anxiety does to us. I will say that I tend to feel calm and soothed and, dare I say it, borderline confident (!), for about one week after each appt. (Then the anxiety comes back.) So you have that amazing high to look forward to come November 1!!!!

    October 20, 2010
  3. I say don't get the doppler. I totally get why you want one, and I'm sure I'll be crazypsycholady if I ever get pregnant again and will want one, too, but I'm going to try to resist. I think it may cause as many freakouts as it staves off and that it will feed the anxious cycle rather than help you get out of the anxious cycle. Or accept that there is no getting out of it so you just have to deal. And I'm with you on the over-medicalization deal. I want us to be normal in one small thing, damn it!Those are my ill-informed and worthless opinions.

    October 20, 2010
  4. I have one and I love it. My last two pregnancies were miscarriages and after seeing my OB my next appointment was 5 weeks away! I could not sanely live those 5 weeks and not know. The OB found the HB on her doppler at 9w2d and I think mine came in the mail around 10 weeks. I've had no problem finding the little one. My two cents 🙂

    October 20, 2010
  5. Even after all I have been through, I have never contemplated (errr…in the eventual scenario where we actually get that far) the doppler. As you say, I think this would just be a new level of obsessiveness and over-medicalisation and I would rather just let it be. So I am definitely on the anti-doppler side of the fence.

    October 20, 2010
  6. I'm glad to see your post…and your comment on mine made me smile and think, "yeah maybe Bunny is right!". Not glad you are feeling crappy though and I don't know what to add on the doppler…I think I would want one too, but then what to do if I couldn't get it to work properly or find the hearbeat….maybe more added stress to add to the worry?

    October 20, 2010
  7. I say get one too. I have never had any trouble finding the heartbeats since 9 weeks. I am now 15 weeks, and I listen probably every other day, or on days that I'm feeling worried.It is so reassuring. They're only $50 and it really is peace of mind.

    October 20, 2010
  8. I thought about getting one. Those first few months are BRUTAL. But the longer I was pregnant, the more secure I felt and the less I thought about the worst case and I just never got around to buying one. Then I started feeling him move and that is the most reassuring thing ever. I say save your money and see how you feel in another couple weeks. And sorry about all those symptoms! It's not fair to feel that crappy AND unassured.

    October 21, 2010
  9. I'm so curious to find out what you will decide on the doppler, Bunny. Such good reasons for getting one and such good reasons for not getting one. It must be such a freak show in your mind sometimes. I can't even imagine how freaked out I would be if (when) I was pregnant. I certainly would always wonder if it was real, if the baby was living, if the pregnancy would be viable. But, remember how you thought IUI #5 was a joke almost? And here you are, almost at the end of the first trimester. So maybe you're just going to be a mother in about 6 months, Bunny. (and when I say maybe, I mean certainly).

    October 21, 2010
  10. N #

    That's a toughy. I feel anxious a lot too but I am so far not giving into the doppler. I recall the pregnancy headaches, they suck!

    October 21, 2010
  11. I think i'd probably sit on the fence with you Bunny. It's similar to the age old question… to poas or not to poas. If you could get some good advice from a medical profession on how to use the doppler at your stage in pregnancy then maybe it would be a good idea but I wouldnt just buy one and try to figure it out for myself. In some ways it would be more terrifying to have the doppler there but not be able to find the HB than to not have a doppler at all. But it is a dilema and once again it is a dilema that isn't in black and white. Why are there all these grey dilemas out there? Come on people, invent some black and white ones for us pulease.x

    October 21, 2010
  12. I was such a worried mess after my miscarriages that I invested in a doppler–and I'm so glad I did. While I, too, was initially uncomfortable with the whole over-medicalization/can't-I-just-enjoy-the-innocent-naturalness-of-pregnancy, my discomfort ended up being totally theoretical. Given my daily injections and my over-zealous worrying, there was no way I was even close to being able to approximate natural gestational bliss. I used the doppler a lot from 10-11 weeks (never had a problem finding the hb) until I could feel the baby move; then I stopped until the very end, when I started worrying about stillbirth (sorry–just one cheery thought after another over here!).I loaned mine to a friend for her pregnancy, but I will totally use it again when I (hopefully) get pregnant again.Good luck on whatever you decide–it'll give you comfort during the seemingly endless weeks before you feel movement, but, actually, those weeks are totally finite and (in retrospect ONLY, of course) end up passing pretty quickly.

    October 21, 2010
  13. I wanted one for those weeks between 8-18 when you really have no way of knowing that its still alive (and ps I did google all about missed miscarriage in late first trimester and second trimester. I googled it a LOT) but my husband refused on the grounds that (a) he knew that there would be a time that I wouldn't find the heartbeat and we would end up in the ER and (b) he thought it was giving in to the crazies. So there were periods of terror shortly before appointments but I basically toughed it out, whined, and then stopped worrying once I could start feeling the wiggling. But good luck wwith whatever you decide!!

    October 21, 2010
  14. Don't do it, don't do it, don't do it. It will drive you ya-ya crazy pants if you can't find the heart beat. Seriously trust me on this one. Er visits suck.

    October 21, 2010
  15. I have been having the exact same debate. I'm terrified that if i get one, try it out and it doesn't work, then i'll be crazy panicked. i've decided not to get one and go on faith … but thats my decision today. point is, i completely understand where you're coming from.

    October 21, 2010
  16. i've been wondering what to do myself. think long and hard please, and then i'll do what you do :o) too hard to make my own decisions these days. the only thing keeping me somewhat calm right now, is that i'm testing out 2 MFM practices, so i've managed to get an u/s on the calendar every 10-ish days for the next month. no way i'm going without an appt for more than 2 weeks bc if i do, i'll go crazi(er). xoxo.

    October 21, 2010
  17. I'm just 10 weeks, 36 years old, natural BFP on my break cycle while waiting for IVF number 2. I'm psycho worried about everything. Thinking about the NT scan makes me want to puke, literally. Going for U/S brings on a panic attack. My line on the HPT seemed to lighten one day so I convinced myself it was a chemical. I peed on no less than about 20 sticks. Of course I still have them. My betas were low (albeit doubling) so I had completely convinced myself it was ectopic early on. Doppler arrived in yesterday's mail, however, I have not yet used it because DH is out of town and when/if I can't find the heartbeat, I'll need him here to talk me down. Plus, he's way more patient than I am and if I can't make it work (a good possibility since the manual was clearly written in a foreign language and than translated by babelfish to English), he'll have the patience to stick with it for a while. I did purchase a doppler that was recommended by several IF bloggers, and is reportedly easy to use. And since I just saw the HB on the doctor's US, I feel ok about giving the doppler a try. We shall see…..

    October 21, 2010
  18. AL #

    I have so many of the same feelings about the doppler – the idea of it sounds so nice and reassuring, but it's also reaching a level of obsessiveness and worry and concern that I'm not sure I want to buy in to. I have a feeling I'll just not buy one and try to power through and live on blind faith that all is well from appointment to appointment. Pregnancy headaches have started huh? Haven't had the pleasure of experiencing that quite yet, but I'm sure it's coming soon. Oh, goodie! Hang in there, bunny. What's your Due Date by the way?

    October 21, 2010
  19. I always thought a doppler would just make me crazier. That it wouldn't work and I'd freak out or that I'd spend every waking moment using the damn thing. I told myself that it won't work with twins (something I'm not even sure is true) and have fought the urge to research a "twin doppler" – luckily my appointments have been at most 3 weeks apart, so the wait hasn't been too long. I always try to tell myself that I would "know" if something was wrong. Anyway, the headaches. YES. I had no idea that was a pregnancy side effect, but yes indeedy it is!

    October 21, 2010
  20. Only you can answer it.I didnt know it existed with my pregnancy that gave us Toddlerina. I dont see one in my future where I am now. I know too much. It cannot protect me.

    October 22, 2010

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