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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

254

Trans-Vaginal What Now?

hello?The trans-vaginal ultrasound wand really is as big as they say: faced with one, I flashed back to the scene in Marla Singer’s apartment in Fight Club where, sitting on her dresser, there is a dildo of unusual size. Tyler Durden may not have been daunted in the moment, but, eyeing the wand, I was. Before I could say anything, though, the doctor squirted the length of it with unromantic-looking blue lube and thrust it inside me.

Lying on my back in a putty-colored paper gown, I felt like one of those unfortunate souls who believe they've been abducted and probed by aliens. I squirmed, trying to find a less-uncomfortable position. Meanwhile the doctor kept her eyes on the monitor, trying to get a clear picture to appear on the screen. “Your bladder is full,” she said disapprovingly, manipulating the wand like a 13-year-old with a joystick.

Of course my bladder is full, I wanted to say. I’m pregnant! I spend my days peeing and then dream about peeing more, waking in horror only to breathe a sigh of relief that I haven’t actually wet the bed. Still, the feeling that I might need to invest in adult diapers wasn't the most unpleasant part of this adventure that is my first trimester: that would be the moment on a very nauseous Monday morning commute to work on a crowded, airless Q train at rush hour when I realized I wasn’t just going to keep thinking about throwing up; I was actually going to throw up.

Thankfully the doors opened and I made it onto the Union Square platform to vomit as demurely as possible into a trash can. Resigned, humiliated, and standing on my tiptoes, I let my breakfast cascade into the garbage while commuters streamed by on both sides. One man separated himself from the crowd and, paying me no attention, tossed a coffee cup into the waterfall of half-digested cereal coming out of me, and kept walking.

Surely that behavior goes against some moral code — like crossing streams at a urinal with another man who was there first? Two other commuters then stopped to ask if I was okay and if there was anything they could do.

“I’m pregnant,” I croaked, tears in my eyes. “There’s nothing anyone can do.”

That was the melodrama speaking, of course. I’ve always been an abortion-rights advocate: a marcher of marches, a signer of petitions, a carrier of signs. At my wedding, one of the charities my husband and I encouraged guests to give to, in lieu of a traditional present, was Planned Parenthood. If I wanted to terminate my pregnancy, had it been an accident or merely badly timed, I would feel that I had every right. And if I had stopped to help a girl in my position looking as miserable as I did, I would have asked, as gently as possible, if she knew that she did indeed have options.

I, however, didn’t need options; this, pregnancy, was my choice. I just had no idea how uncomfortable it would be, because (thank you, god; thank you, science) I had never gotten knocked up until I wanted to. Now, for the first time, I was actually carrying a potential human being inside me — one who destabilized the ecosystem by sucking up all available resources for itself like a tiny SUV — and I was unhappy. I didn’t want an abortion, but I did want to feel less wretched all the time. The commuters seemed to understand. One of them handed me a napkin and stood with me, rubbing my arm, until the R train barreled in.

Because I had never been pregnant before, I had to wonder, once my uterus went from Vacant to Occupied, whether I would feel differently about the pro-choice/pro-life debate. Would some switch flip in my animal brain to turn me into a primal mother-figure, half-sentimental, half-ferocious? The state senators who passed the mandatory trans-vaginal ultrasound requirement in Texas, as well as the ones in Virginia who have passed watered-down versions and other states considering even more horrifying ones (I'm looking at you, Oklahoma), seem to believe I would. They were betting on it, in fact: “[Sen. Clay] Scofield said he hopes that, if signed into law, his bill will stop some abortions. Though the bill states a woman can look away from the ultrasound image, Scofield wants her to see it. ‘So she sees that this is not just a clump of cells as she is told,’ he said. ‘She will see the shape of the infant. And hopefully, she will choose to keep the child.’”

I hate to disappoint Mr. Scofield, but constant nausea didn’t make me sentimental, and falling asleep at work didn’t create a strong bond between me and my little SUV. Neither did lying back with my feet in the stirrups at the doctor’s office feeling like a Frieda Kahlo painting.

“There!” said the doctor at last. “See? There it is.” She pointed at an area of the screen about as large as her fingertip. My main feeling was relief that the thing had settled where it was supposed to; vividly did I remember Cristina Yang’s ectopic pregnancy on Grey’s Anatomy.

A couple weeks later, I returned to the OB/GYN’s office as scheduled, and, without ceremony, got the toilet-plunger-handle treatment again. At least this time I was prepared. The doctor tuned some dial on her equipment to FM radio or something and just like that, I heard a heartbeat.

“Whoa,” I said. The image on the screen still didn’t resemble “the shape of an infant;” it looked more like something you’d see under a microscope in chemistry class. The sound was pretty cool — a rapid lub-dub, lub-dub that matched the pulsing you could watch on the monitor.  But as trippy as it was to hear a second heartbeat inside me, the two ultrasounds hadn’t changed me emotionally: I hadn’t become a snarling mama bear or a serene Madonna. The probe was not a magic wand.

After I was released, a nurse came in to siphon off several vials of my blood to test for 15 different terrifying conditions I’d never heard of, which reminded me why it’s better to try not to get too attached at the early stages. Shit happens all the time: I could miscarry, or an abortion might still be necessary. No number of invasive, uncomfortable ultrasounds will change the fact that the little critter inside me doesn’t look like a baby yet, because it isn’t a baby yet. It’s working its way there, and I very much hope it makes it: I’m doing everything I can to cheer it on its journey, including eating my first cheeseburger in 15 years and going to bed this past Saturday at 9 p.m. But there are no guarantees. That being the case, and having realized exactly how difficult pregnancy is (I can only imagine how desperate I’d feel if this critter weren’t wanted), I am more devoutly grateful than ever for clinics like Planned Parenthood.

Ester Bloom is using this opportunity to come out to the world as pregnant. Surprise! She tweets in full sentences as @shorterstory, and blogs at Full of Pith & Vinegar.



254 Comments / Post A Comment

atipofthehat

Why, the darling little embryo isn't even a fetus yet, still less a baby.

But the heartbeat moment is amazing. So fast.

mattewmc

hmm..is good..@t

thebestjasmine

This is actually one reason that I don't get the "Life begins at conception" argument. Because yeah, I think that whatever is in a uterus in the early stages of pregnancy is alive, just as any other tiny organism that has a heartbeat is alive. That doesn't change my feelings on the right to get an abortion at all.

leastimportantperson

@thebestjasmine The issue as I see it is, do you agree that the decision to abort is a private medical decision made by a pregnant person, or do you believe that it isn't, to any degree? I don't think it needs to be about "life", at least to me. I think people get themselves tied into knots unnecessarily trying to wrestle with this notion.

thebestjasmine

@leastimportantperson I completely agree with you! There's so much discussion about when life begins, and I see that as wholly irrelevant.

itmakesmewonder

@thebestjasmine To me the only reason the amount of relative "life" matters is that if a fetus is viable outside the womb it is much more person-y and less like an extra internal organ. Again, strictly my opinion, but otherwise I don't really care about the heartbeat or fingers or whatever.

laurel

@thebestjasmine "...just as any other tiny organism that has a heartbeat is alive."

I choose liiiiiiiife! (But only human life. Fuck all other organisms.)

AniaGosia

@itmakesmewonder This is a good point. I'll add: One aspect of this debate is really about personhood, not life. Because we all agree that the embryo is alive and we mostly agree that some kinds of killing are permissible (eating animals, killing pests, executing criminals, killing in self-defense, killing during war, taking a brain dead person off of life support: all possible instances of permissible killing). So the question is: when is the embryo/fetus a person? Persons have a right to life (mostly: see the wartime enemy and the criminal), non-persons do not (at least, as the current consensus sees it).

queenofbithynia

@AniaGosia No person has a right to life inside my uterus. I'm recycling my own lines here, but if a fully grown adult human person wanted to grip onto one of my organs and just hang out in one of my body cavities for a while, I would be fully justified in removing her with anything up to and including lethal force. Personhood is very much not the question, except as pregnant female people are persons.

AniaGosia

@queenofbithynia That is a very good point. Add: "persons inside my uterus" to the list of persons who may not have a right to life above.

leastimportantperson

@AniaGosia I just don't think in this case that framing the debate in life/personhood terms makes sense to me. So many of the arguments employed therein become absurd pretty quickly. @queenofbithynia brings up a good example. No one has a right to use my organs if I don't want them to. Similarly, with "viability out of the womb," I mean, there are plenty of people in the world who require care from other humans in order to remain alive. I don't believe their "viability" outside of that care should be brought up in relation to their right to survive. I don't bring this up to try to sway anyone. It just really helped me collect my thoughts about abortion to think of it as a debate between private medical decision of a pregant person vs. not, so if it helps anyone else, then I would be glad.

tardi to the party

@queenofbithynia I like this, esp. as it parallels nicely w/ TX Penal Code Sec. 9.42, protecting the right to use deadly force to protect one's property.

EpWs

@tardi to the party Yessssss yes yes yes.

AniaGosia

@queenofbithynia I guess the way that I have thought about it is that fetus' are NOT persons, and therefore there is no question of whether they have a right to life or not. But I appreciate your take on this debate too. Certainly, even if they were persons, one might say that they have no right to life inside your uterus: as in JJ Thomson's violinist example. Sorry about responding so late - busyness, etc.

fondue with cheddar

@laurel Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a big fucking television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers... choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on the couch, watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing junk food into your mouth...

leastimportantperson

This is a great article. I only disapprove of the fact that your bladder is full. A full bladder! How could you!

every tomorrow@twitter

@leastimportantperson Whereas every time I have a transvaginal ultrasound (yes, there have been a lot of times, THANK YOU OVARIAN CYSTS) I get bitched out because my bladder is not full ENOUGH.

SomeGayGuy

@leastimportantperson Clearly, the medical staff are encouraging you to get pregnant so you'll have constantly full bladders. They are trying to be your pimps.

nonvolleyball

@leastimportantperson I drink a TON of water, & I've always had a vaguely camel-like bladder. so when I was told to be sure I had a full bladder for a recent ultrasound, I took this very seriously.

...when I went in, the ultrasound tech was like, "I've never SEEN a bladder so full!" with a look like, "how are you not actively peeing yourself right now. & then I was inordinately proud of this & proceeded to tell all my friends (&, I think, my friend's new boyfriend who I'd just met). good times.

fairlyalarmed

@leastimportantperson Did you guys know that your bladder can be so full that the walls are only only ONE CELL THICK and it won't burst? I read that somewhere! #fullyresearchedconversations

fondue with cheddar

@every tomorrow@twitter When I had mine, they pumped 3 entire IV bags into me and my bladder still wasn't full. They chose the do the ultrasound without my having a full bladder. (I'd had diarrhea and vomiting for 10 straight hours, so I was just a wee bit dehydrated.)

Lauren_O'Neal

Thank you so much for this. It's an issue that took about two seconds to become completely mythologized and politically exploited, and it's so interesting to hear about the reality of it from someone who's actually been through it.

Vera Knoop

@Lauren_O'Neal But she hasn't been through what's being discussed politically, because she was pregnant by choice and having a prenatal exam. That's a very, very different context, and that difference matters.

Lauren_O'Neal

@Vera Knoop That's true, but it's still really cool (and informative, imo) to hear firsthand to hear about how it's an unpleasant ordeal even when you're doing it voluntarily, and how seeing the ultrasound is not seeing "the shape of the infant" at all.

hallu

@Lauren_O'Neal I think this article is misleading. I had a transvag at 9 weeks pregnant and it looked like a tiny little baby, with tiny little hands and a profile and everything. The procedure is not particularly comfortable, but at least when you want the baby, it is exxciting and amazing when the image comes up on the screen. If I was planning to have an abortion and had to see that, I would probably lose my mind and feel like a horrible person.

iceberg

@hallu Hmm that's so weird because I had an ultrasound at 15 weeks and they just looked like gummi bears - limb *buds* at best, certainly no fingers visible... Are transvag u/s's more detailed than regular external ones?

hallu

@iceberg Yeah ok, they were buds, not hands, but still. They were all wavin' around like, hi! I am actually here! There is a reason you threw up three times this morning!

j. preposterice

@iceberg It depends a lot on the quality of the ultrasound machine. The ultrasounds I had with my first kid are blurry blobs, and for the second ultrasound I was something like 30 weeks. You could barely make out a damn thing; I basically had to take the tech's word for it that it was indeed a fetus all up ins. (This was in 2009.) The ones for my second child, last year, were absolutely crystal clear and I could see EVERYTHING. Different facility, different machines -- machines the tech called "the Mercedes Benz of ultrasounds".

The transvaginal I had -- for locating my IUD -- was with a machine more like the image quality of the 2009 ultrasounds, because the facility with the good machines was all booked up. The TV images were better than the external images for that, but not a LOT better, so I think the machine's imaging capacity itself was the limiter.

Yahtzii

I had one of those. As soon as I saw the dark splotch, I was flooded with love and maternal feelings. Later, my technician told me it was not a fertilized egg, but a backlog of unshed menstrual blood. It turns out they look EXACTLY THE SAME at that stage. Who knew?

The Lady of Shalott

@Yahtzii I just snorted with laughter in a public place.

itmakesmewonder

@Yahtzii "I choose you, unshed menstrual blood!"

datalass

@Yahtzii In reviewing the results of my ultrasound, my doctor referred to "a bit of embryonic material." I had this rush of feeling about a baby that never was or something like that (which was kind of strange because I'd already decided not to have kids, so it wasn't like I was pining). I made some comment about the sad, discarded embryo, and my doctor looked at me kind of strangely and said, "uh, no, I mean, it's yours. It's part of YOUR embryonic material. From when you were born. It's left over." When I told my husband, he said, "Wow. You hang on to EVERYTHING, don't you?"

atipofthehat

@datalass

NEXT WEEK ON "HOARDERS":

EpWs

@datalass Hoarders: Uterine Edition.

datalass

@atipofthehat It's actually kind of reassuring to find that one's OCDs are manifesting themselves at the cellular level; it's like having a top-notch back-up system.

bashe

@datalass Did embryonic you EAT YOUR TWIN?

datalass

@bashe I would very much like to believe this. My first thought, however, is that it was kind of like the bits that are left when you cut out sugar cookies. But, yes, if my embryonic twin were made of sugar cookie dough, I would definitely eat her.

sugar cubism

@datalass This exchange is my favorite.

whizz_dumb

THIS ARTICLE IS FANTASTIC and THIS PARTICULAR THREAD IS THE BEST! Maybe it's because I'm not at/avoiding work for once and I have a gin drink in hand, but I especially enjoyed reading these things. Nighttime Hairpin visit a success.

Debris

@datalass I love you for this story

fondue with cheddar

@itmakesmewonder <3 you, unshed menstrual blood!

shiv

Ugh, I hated that thing. I got that ultrasound almost two years ago, when I was ten weeks pregnant with my now-walking SUV of a child and none of my friends had gotten it! Never having been pregnant before I thought it must be par for the course. Hearing the heartbeat was cool, but there was certainly no cherubic face staring out at me from that sketchy screen.

fondue with cheddar

@shiv I think it looks more like an alien at that stage.

cosmia

I have to go for one of these every year despite having no plans to make babies as of yet - I have ovarian cancer in my family and I go as "mother insurance", i.e. so my mother doesn't worry that something could be wrong with me every second of the day. My technician is this lady who looks exactly like the Russian one-legged chick from The Sopranos and is just as scary when she tells me my bladder is full too.

miss buenos aires

@cosmia Off-topic, but that is my husband's favorite character on The Sopranos. We call each other "boring woman" about twice a week.

spanglepants

(Let me preface this by saying I'm APPALLED about this legislation/ proposed legislation and do not think forcible penetration is any more excusable when a medical professional does it than in any other situation.)

When I had a tv ultrasound (I wasn't pregnant or expecting to be), the doctor held the wand up to show me, with the handle-end up. I was... alarmed at the girth. But, then she turned it the other way around to show me the tip/ probe part! It's long, yes, but the one used on me was pretty narrow - WAY narrower than any penis I've ever seen - and not too uncomfortable. It was for sure one of the less fun experiences I've had, but it didn't hurt or anything.

OH and also I got told off for having an *empty* bladder! Can't win.

lesleygee

@spanglepants Yes, I had a similar experience. not pregnant or expecting to be, but I've had a bunch of ultrasounds, including the transvaginal, b/c I have PCOS. For what it's worth, I found it a million times less uncomfortable than a pap smear or any kind of gyno exam. They had me insert the wand myself, which was indeed narrow, and then moved it around a little. It didn't hurt.

Obviously, I think it is horrible that trans-vaginal ultrasounds should be forced upon anyone by anyone! but I hope people don't come out of this whole thing thinking these ultrasounds are especially painful. I've heard some people really hate them, and maybe if it's different if you're pregnant, but in terms of comfort, I found it preferable to a lot of other vagina-related things. It also helped a lot that I inserted it myself - like putting in a tampon but easier.

And I too got yelled at for having an empty bladder. She said, "you're BONE DRY" in this disgusted voice. :(

wee_ramekin

@lesleygee @spanglepants I too have had a trans-vaginal ultrasound. The OB/GYN was trying to determine whether or not I had the cysts on my ovaries characteristic of poly-cystic ovarian syndrome.

I concur, the experience is not the most horrible thing in the world. It's not *comfortable*, though - even for those of us whose vaginas have made the acquaintance of more than a few penises or sex toys. There's not much that's comfortable or appealing about having a stranger shove a cold, plastic wand inside of you. I don't know about you ladies, but My Vaginald definitely clenched reflexively, even though she's accustomed to penetration.

In my case, however, I was undergoing a necessary medical procedure to confirm a condition that could endanger my health. (There isn't any other way to confirm ovarian cysts, that I'm aware of. I mean, unless one bursts.) In the case of a trans-vaginal ultrasound used before an abortion, there isn't any medical need for the procedure.

Why, then, are we penetrating a woman's body unnecessarily? She knows she's pregnant; there are other tests to confirm that. She also knows that she doesn't want the baby. She can make that decision without the ultrasound. The trans-vaginal ultrasound in this case becomes a form of unwanted and completely unnecessary penetration. Not to mention the psychological effect that you are being penetrated to - in the Senator's own words - attempt to make you change your mind. We've moved away from using uncomfortable medical procedure in the cases where it's necessary to requiring it in a situation where it is not medically relevant. We're using the procedure to shame women through an actual insertion into their bodies, and there's NO MEDICAL REASON FOR IT. Again, I don't know about you ladies, but that would make My Vaginald even less open (ahem) to being ultrasounded.

And I mean, let's not even get into the horrific psychological toll that this completely unnecessary procedure takes on women who have been victims of sexual violence in their past. Sheesh.

PS - I'm not attacking either of you. My main point was to talk about how while a trans-vaginal ultrasound isn't painful, it's not a comfortable procedure........aaaaaaaand then I got away from myself.

thebestjasmine

@lesleygee I will be the contrary opinion -- I've found the TV ultrasounds to be considerably more uncomfortable than a pap smear. The pap smears take like 30 seconds (for me, at least), but for the TV ultrasounds they have been in there for a while, and the body positioning has made it not pleasant at all. Not horrible, but I am reallly not a fan.

lesleygee

@thebestjasmine i'm beginning to think there must be something wrong my vagina that i didn't find the TV that uncomfortable. Ask a Dude, or a Queer Chick, can expect a letter on this soon. "Do dudes like it when your vagina is perfectly adapted to the transvaginal probe?"

spanglepants

@wee_ramekin I totally agree about it being unnecessary, cruel and generally wrong to make women go through it before an abortion is allowed. I just felt that the article might terrify people who do need to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound for a genuine medical reason, which is why I offered up my non-traumatic experience with it.

@thebestjasmine - yeah, it does take an insane amount of time, doesn't it? And yes: definitely not fun. But, for me, waaay less awful than my imagination had managed to convince me it would be!

thebestjasmine

@spanglepants See, I had no preconceived ideas about it, since the first time I got one I had no idea that an ultrasound would/could be anything like that until the (very very nice) tech started the explanation.

Slapfight

@lesleygee If your ladybits are weird, so are mine. I found the ultrasound more comfortable than the whole speculum deal.

17th Floor

@spanglepants ZOMG. Mine hurt like a biatch. It was technically how I lost my virginity. It will be a cold day in hell when anyone but my doctor dictates I get one again. YOU HEAR ME RICK PERRY. I will fight to the bitter end to undo this crap in Texas, including regular donations to Planned Parenthood.

lesleygee

@Slapfight vagina twins!

Slapfight

@lesleygee Vagina twins unite! We may need to write the comic book.

Mingus_Thurber

@wee_ramekin When I read that bit about the Senator wanting to make you change your mind by requiring you to have a vaginal ultrasound, I was taken straight back to Chicago, 1988, when I was harassed by a couple of teenaged boys who told me that all I needed was one good fuck to give up women. Ironic, since I'm straight.

Not ironic, in that this is state-sanctioned rape.

Ellie

So this is pretty minor in comparison but I had the first pap smear of my life yesterday, exciting! I had tried to have one before and it didn't work and hurt too much so it had to stop. But this time it really wasn't so bad (I have since had sex). I kept thinking about how weird it is to have something in there in a non sex context because it's sort of the same physical action.

MmeLibrarian

@spanglepants You know, I keep having the same thought whenever I hear this story discussed. I had one of these ultrasounds... 23 weeks ago and it was truly nbd (my husband was in the room! I didn't even have to take off my dress! My doctor made jokes about the Catholic hospital having to buy condoms in bulk for the wand!). That being said, I a) want to be pregnant, b) wanted to see some evidence that I was nauseated for a good reason, and, therefore, c) gladly consented to the whole thing. It didn't hurt, it took three minutes, no one commented on the state of my bladder - it was fine. But, again, I wanted it. The idea of having to experience one more invasive medical procedure when all one wants is to not be pregnant anymore is awful, esp. if it's being performed by a doctor who is doing it against his/her medical opinion.

As for actually seeing the embryo, I have friends who told me that they unexpectedly cried when they saw their embryo and heard the heartbeat, so I braced myself. Despite the fact that baby-to-be had positioned herself so that we could see all four of her developing limbs, her heart flickering away, and even a little wiggle at one point, it was more science class than an overwhelming mother/baby moment. I did look at the printed picture of the tiny blob a lot in the next few days, though.

keristars

@17th Floor HA! me, too!

Well, it's the 2nd way I technically lost it. The first way was when the gyno did surgery on me because without the surgery, there was no fucking way I'd get anything bigger than a straight pin up there. (PS: why can bodies be so weird? and thank goodness i live in a modern age where science could fix me.)

BUT the point is that the first thing going up your vagina when you're conscious being a TV probe? is super unpleasant. it hurt like hell and seemed ice-cold, even with the doc doing her best to make it as comfortable as possible, and she even tried to warm the stick up a bit first.

Though I guess if you're getting probed since you're pregnant, you've already had junk up your vagina, so it wouldn't be so traumatizing in that aspect - though that's really only something to be said for women who want to be pregnant and aren't going to be triggered by the ultrasound penetration.

spanglepants

@MmeLibrarian Right. I really feel like my post is being misinterpreted, even though I've repeated that I don't think it's right to force people to have it a trans-vaginal ultrasound under any circumstances. I just don't want people who do need to have the procedure to be scared off by only hearing negative experiences of it. It's possible to be outraged by the forcible insertion of probes into vaginas and also to think that, if consent *is* given, the procedure isn't completely terrible for everyone.

And yes: I'm sure it's different - like way worse different - if you haven't had penetrative sex before you have it done.

thebestjasmine

@spanglepants Well, there are many things that are inserted in your vagina that are just fine when it's consensual and incredibly unpleasant and violating when it's not. I mean, I don't think that it really matters that when someone had a medical procedure that was necessary and consented to that it wasn't a big deal to her -- I don't think that anyone has said that this is something that's terrible and should never be done, only that it should never be done for a non medically necessary reason. I've had a number of them, I would have them again (and will, actually, next month, because my doctor says so), and they weren't fun but not really a big deal. But it's not something that I would want to force on anyone, especially anyone who has any trauma with regard to that area.

Scandyhoovian

"‘So she sees that this is not just a clump of cells as she is told,’ he said. ‘She will see the shape of the infant. And hopefully, she will choose to keep the child.’"

Yes, even tiny zygotes are person-shaped and they actually swim around in there using arms and legs to propel themselves like microscopic Olympians racing for gold. "Implanting" is fancy doctor-speak for "clinging to your uterine wall with fingers and toes like a sloth in a tree."

atipofthehat

@Scandyhoovian

In fact, at these early stages they look less like people than bean sprouts do.

@serenityfound

@Scandyhoovian All the awards for this comment. Also, that image of a tiny person-shaped thing clinging to your uterine wall like a sloth is terrifying. TERRIFYING.

itmakesmewonder

@Scandyhoovian Everyone knows a fetus is just the inside-iest of a giant nesting-doll human being.

wharrgarbl

@Scandyhoovian Some of them really do appear to think their dicks shoot microbabies that only need a safe place to become real people in for nine months.

Faintly Macabre

@Scandyhoovian Oh my god, are zygotes sea monkeys? IS THAT WHERE THEY COME FROM??

laurel

@@serenityfound A while back, someone here posted a picture of a little plastic baby she'd dropped into someone's drink at a party. It looked like it was floating around, facing out, one palm on the glass. I'm picturing that guy.

MatildaGold

@Scandyhoovian I can't even make fun of this logic. Really, let us not be condescending enough to speak as if a woman choosing an abortion does not know that what is in her uterus, left to grow, would become an infant. Mandatory screenings of The Miracle of Life next? Mandatory study of Lennart Nilsson's A Child is Born? Because obviously THESE WOMEN JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT PREGNANCY MEANS, FELLAS. WE'LL TEACH THEM WITH DILDOSOUNDS.

Vera Knoop

@Scandyhoovian This is why I'm hoping for triplets, so I can get a nice pre-natal Esther Williams routine going.

[ETA because the universe loves irony: SO TOTALLY KIDDING.]

AniaGosia

@atipofthehat And, all embryonic mammals look more or less the same. Not that you might think you were having a turtle instead, but that thing that you see doesn't scream 'adorable human baby'.

EpWs

@Vera Knoop Nope, you've said it, it's out there. TRIPLETS FOR YOU.

robotpony

@AniaGosia I might be inclined to keep it if I thought at the end I would be getting a turtle.

Vera Knoop

@robotpony For the tabloid payout alone, it would be worth it.

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@MatildaGold YES THIS. Women are so emotionally unstable and easily swayed that seeing a black and white pulse-y thing on a screen while being unwillingly penetrated will make us suddenly think, "I love this thing inside me! I'm so glad this happened! I will protect what is quite obviously already a very tiny human WITH MY VERY LIFE."

Also, even more offensive (at least to me) is that these asshole neo-con Old White Men seem to think that women decide to get abortions with less thought than goes into planning our daily outfits. Like, "Wow, what a bummer. Oh well, time to flush that sucker out! Easy peasy!" I find abhorrent the assumptions that a) women have no internal thought process beyond "I do what I want and I don't care what has to happen for me to get my way;" b) the completely contradictory notion that all women inherently want/are only around to make babies; and c) abortions are our "easy way out," as if considering and ultimately HAVING an abortion is not "dealing with the consequences of being a slutty slutty slutface by having consensual adult sex sometimes" in and of itself.

beeline96

Beautiful piece. Thanks, Ester! I wish you and your little SUV-in-progress a safe, slightly more comfortable journey. Also it makes me feel better to know I'm not the only one who dreams about peeing. (I'm not pregnant, though, so this does not bode well for my future potential pregnancy dreams...)

Ester Bloom@facebook

@beeline96 Thank you!

atipofthehat

BTW, you are usually supposed to have a full bladder for this kind of ultrasound!

The Lady of Shalott

@atipofthehat I thought that you were supposed to have a full bladder for a regular ultrasound where the wand slides over the belly, because it gave a better picture? TV ultrasounds aren't particularly dependent on the bladder, right?

thebestjasmine

@The Lady of Shalott They are! I have had these ultrasounds a few times (for non pregnancy related reasons) and they always want a full bladder.

atipofthehat

@The Lady of Shalott

Think you're probably right -- though they sometimes do both in a single appointment? I guess you're allowed to pee after the external? Our OB/GYN had such a crummy old wand machine that I had no idea what she was seeing on the screen anyway.

major disaster

@thebestjasmine Yep, I have too. I was in the ER and they pumped me up so full of fluids beforehand that they told me my bladder was too full, and would I please empty it, but only a little. Ever try only going to the bathroom a little bit when your bladder is about to explode? Good times.

hallelujah

@atipofthehat Hmmm, I just had one of these, and my full bladder blocked the view of the little critter so I had to pee and come back. Maybe it depends on individual uteri?

Xanthophyllippa

@atipofthehat I had four different...er, "insertions" within one TV appointment. For the first two, the tech wanted my bladder full - so full that she made me drink 16 oz of water and then left me there with my feet up in the stirrups for 20 minutes. When she came back, I was crying from the pain on my bladder. Then she let me pee because she needed an empty bladder. Then she did the third insertion. Then I started crying from the pain on my bladder AGAIN. She let me pee. Then she did the fourth insertion. Each of these insertions involved, as Ester phrased it, feeling like someone was working a joystick in my cavities: twisting, firm pressing, pushing really hard to one side then moving it to the other... I hope she at least got high score.

New Hoarder

@atipofthehat When I had my TVU done I was actually just supposed to have a regular ultrasound, and so of course I had a mega-full bladder. The appointments were running over an hour late so I sat in the waiting room squirming while all of the other (much older) ladies who were having mammograms were like, "What's HER deal?"

Then when the tech couldn't see what she wanted to see and decided to give me the TVU, I had to pee three times. First time I went, sat down, and was like, "Nope." Back to the bathroom. Then the tech started to insert the magic wand and push and I said, "Uh-uh" again and went to the bathroom again. Then when she finally had the wand in and was shoving her elbows into my stomach (THAT shit HURT) to get a good look, I gave her a warning look and she sighed and said she couldn't see anything anyways so I popped up and went to the bathroom again. Good times.

The actual insertion didn't hurt, but with the tech shoving her elbow on top of my stomach combined with her other elbow IN me, yes, that hurt.

Daisy Razor

I was so, so underwhelmed by the first image of my little zygote. It looked like a squirmy lima bean. And the nurse practitioner was like, "There's your baby!" I was like, "On what planet is that a baby?"

I mean, I was pregnant very much on purpose but there were so many things at that point that could still have gone wrong, I felt like it would have been downright irresponsible to turn on the maternal faucet at eight weeks.

datalass

@Daisy Razor A coworker recently announced that she was 2 weeks (not a typo) pregnant. Because I'm firmly in the "don't count your chickens until they are hatched and have been accepted to the graduate school of their choice" camp, this causes me so much anxiety.

LeafySeaDragon

@datalass i announced preg #2 at 2 weeks because i was puking EVERYWHERE!!!!! downside to announcing early even if everything goes ok, people give you shit for being pregnant *forever*

iceberg

@datalass agh so much anxiety!

datalass

@iceberg I'm trying SO HARD not to be one of those 1950s movie husband, "Oh, goodness, dear, are you SURE you should be lifting that coffee spoon IN YOUR CONDITION?"

iceberg

oh man that thing was unpleasant. and I was so happy to be knocked up. just gave myself the major sads imagining a pregnant rape victim being further traumatized by having this forced on her. D :

laurel

D: indeed.

dj pomegranate

@iceberg True story: I found myself pregnant and HAD NEVER HAD SEX (apparently he had really energetic sperm? And I am super-fertile?) So yeah, getting the wand ultrasound...THE WORST. The worst.

I have been infuriated by this news story not only because it is ridiculous on every misogynist level, but also because there are people (people like me, rape victims...I can imagine many other plausible and realistic scenarios!) who will find this traumatizing and/or triggering. For a procedure with zero medical purpose, that is just unacceptable.

one cow.

@dj pomegranate AHHHH! This is my worst fear (not worst, but you know). So it IS possible?!?! I need to rethink everything as a current non-p-in-v-sexer.

MoxyCrimeFighter

@dj pomegranate What?! Wait, what?! Would it be too intrusive to ask for the prologue and epilogue to your OB/GYN visit? If so, I apologize; I am just insanely curious bout how that happened and turned out.

dj pomegranate

@MoxyCrimeFighter @one cow
Yeah, it is unfortunately totally possible and also terrible. Here is my story: we had broken up but were hanging out post-breakup. We, obvs, fooled around, but I said no to the PiV because it seemed way too risky and also not the way I wanted to experience that for the first time (with an ex that I absolutely would not date again!) 5-6 weeks later, felt a little nauseated, period was late. I went to the school clinic and surprise! Positive pregnancy test! Immediately broke down weeping and went to the OBGYN the next day, where they gave me a pregnancy test AND an TVU. It's a blur, but I do remember them telling me about the TVU beforehand, about how it was standard procedure to verify the pregnancy or something? Honestly, my memory is pretty fuzzy. I distinctly remember being very embarrassed when I said, "Soooo, I haven't actually ever put anything in there besides a tampon...?" And she was like, "Ooooohhhh. Um. I'll be gentle." It was not as painful as it was really humiliating and uncomfortable. I ended up scheduling an appt for an abortion two days later, again asking, "So, does it matter that I haven't had sex? Will it hurt? What DO I DO? WILL THIS MAKE ME INFERTILE?!" I miscarried the next day. They still had to go in and clear everything out post-miscarriage (technically, an abortion procedure...), which was surprisingly traumatic.

Further backstory: I grew up pretty religious-right-pro-life and to this day my family does not know about this. So that made it even more fun!

Moral of the story, lawmakers? Don't judge those women in abortion clinics. You really, really do not know their stories.

Edit to add: Now I have an IUD and I love it so, so much. Contraception FTW!

OxfordComma

@dj pomegranate : Poor love! I...just really want to give you a hug right now.

Megasus

@dj pomegranate D: How did it...? I thought it couldn't live outside the body for long?

D.@twitter

@Megan Patterson@facebook If hardy sperm reach a woman's vagina, they are still viable for up to three days. BEWARE.

dj pomegranate

@OxfordComma Hairpin hugs!
@Megan Patterson@facebook @D.@twitter Yup. 3 days + hardy sperm + fertile uterus. Sigh.

Megasus

@dj pomegranate That is my nightmare, I'm so sorry it happened to you!

MoxyCrimeFighter

@dj pomegranate Oh, my! Thank you so much for sharing that - I can't even imagine what that must have been like for you. And yes, absolutely - no judging until you know the facts!

dracula's ghost

"One man separated himself from the crowd and, paying me no attention, tossed a coffee cup into the waterfall of half-digested cereal coming out of me, and kept walking."

ULTIMATE NEW YORK

Megoon

@dracula's ghost Yesssssss.

Also, this has happened to me too (except I was hungover. THE SHAME).

fabel

@dracula's ghost I felt a tiny bit of guilt at this line because it seems like something I'd totally do.

Ester Bloom@facebook

@dracula's ghost Yeah, I have to say, part of me was glad it happened, because it did feel like the pinnacle of my almost-eight years living in this city.

redheaded&crazy

love the recent focus on this topic.

at the same time, the part of me where my period is 6 days late is going all - it's only 6 days - but it couldn't possibly - but what if - hyper activated right now.

but it couldn't possibly ...

redheaded&crazy

@redheaded&crazy first rule of late periods: as soon as you say it out loud, you will get it!

(.......)

dracula's ghost

@redheaded&crazy put on your most expensive, whitest pair of white pants. Works like a charm

atipofthehat

@redheaded&crazy

Can you squeeze your nipples without wincing?

redheaded&crazy

@atipofthehat I assume my answer should come in video format?

Faintly Macabre

@dracula's ghost Or make plans for a busy day, or get in a car for a 6-hour drive...

bocadelperro

@dracula's ghost I find that it starts right after I've opened the package for the EPT (thus making it un-returnable).

EpWs

@dracula's ghost Seconded! Also make sure you leave the house in said white pants with no tampon/pad/your choice of ladybusiness protection.

leastimportantperson

@redheaded&crazy Also if Seventeen is to be believed, strike up a conversation with your crush/arrange to have your crush walk by.

leastimportantperson

@leastimportantperson "Oh hey crush. I'm just trying to induce menstruation. What about you? What are you up to? How's your cycle? Jk jk. Seriously what's up?"

MatildaGold

@redheaded&crazy It's a full moon this week. Open all your blinds and have some orgasms. And then do the white pants thing, that sounds like genius.

redheaded&crazy

great suggestions all! it feels like they are working! I just opened an EPT while taking a 6 hour car ride with my crush while wearing white pants and no tampons in sight or reaching distance!

... in the light of the full moon

tortietabbie

@redheaded&crazy Even when mine's NOT late I get all obsessed with what my body is doing. "My boobs are sore...is this PMS or is this pregnant? I feel nauseous. Oh, god, NAUSEA?!" Because one time, when I was actually pregnant, I convinced myself it couldn't possibly be true because I felt like I was getting my period. Only, hey! Early stages of pregnancy feel like a period. Didn't cover that in sex ed, nope.

atipofthehat

@atipofthehat

forgot "in slow motion"

wee_ramekin

@redheaded&crazy Try this.

redheaded&crazy

@wee_ramekin Try it in slow motion? Weeree YOU PERV!

EpWs

@wee_ramekin (unrelated ps: we're talking about you over on the mini-pies thread!)

wee_ramekin

@redheaded&crazy Hee! Not sure why that didn't hyperlink! It should have read:

Try this.

wee_ramekin

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher THERE'S A MINI-PIES THREAD?!?!?!?!

redheaded&crazy

@wee_ramekin oh now that IS a good suggestion! and it segues perfectly with the plans for a slumber party/road trip! This needs to happen now y'all so I can "get back on track"!

This is my new username

@redheaded&crazy Hoo boy, i totally understand that feeling. My "periods" have been weird lately. As in I start bleeding before I am done my hormonal pills and done bleeding like 2 to 3 days into the placebo pills of my birth control. That seems very odd to me, but I am assuming the 3 negative pregnancy tests I took are not lying. I do seem to be having a hard time find a pill that works well for me, so it is likely that I maybe need to give in and go back to the doctor and get a prescription for a new type of BC.

kayjay

Ah yes. Throwing up in a subway garbage can during the first trimester. Oh boy I remember that like it was yesterday. Except mine happened in SF in the Mission district, and I always seemed to be walking to the train station just as the discount butcher shops were getting their morning carcass deliveries. GAG!! Thankfully, though, I never experienced a trans-vaginal. Sounds...awkward. But I did have an ultrasound, and that thing inside me didn't look anything like a baby.

kayjay

@kayjay And by "awkward", I mean "invasive and scary and horrible if you were being forced to have one before you could go get your safe abortion."

EpWs

@kayjay So one would assume you were not the type to put the ultrasound (with labels, natch) up as your facebook profile picture?

kayjay

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Even if Facebook or even Myspace (aka the abandoned amusement park of the Internets) had been around back then, hell to the no. I still have the ultrasound pictures, though. I'm not made of stone!

EpWs

@kayjay Hooray! And I am sure your daughter (?) (I seem to remember you having a daughter, but I might be wrong? Apologies if I am) appreciates that too.

kayjay

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I have an awesome ten year old daughter whom I attempt to humiliate with naked baby pictures on every available occasion, as is my right as someone who spent 24 hours in labor. She has seen the ultrasound pictures and her response was, "What am I looking at here?" or something to that effect, which I believe might be exactly what I told the person who did my ultrasound! Circle of life!

EpWs

@kayjay Love it, love everything about it.

Megasus

Oh my fucking life a man definitely invented that thing.

laurel

@Megan Patterson@facebook

Let's require all men to have a transrectal ultrasound before they can be treated for prostate cancer.

EpWs

@laurel There was a most excellent state representative (perhaps a state congresswoman?) in Virginia who submitted an addendum to their required TV ultrasound bill that would have required men to have a rectal exam and a cardiac stress test before they could get a scrip for Viagra. It was shot down (of course) but bless that woman, I want to send her all the presents.

AniaGosia

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Yes! I must find out who she is and thank her.

laurel

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher

That was awesome. But(t) seriously, I want them to have a dildo shoved up their asses before they can have medical treatment regardless of how personally invasive it feels. And if there's to be legislative debate about it, I want them to have to beg to be allowed to testify about their experiences in front of a hostile congressional committee.

laurel

I am super wound up after events of the past couple of weeks (and also since forever). I don't want this stuff to happen to anyone of any gender and it is happening to ladies and it's unthinkable that it could happen to men. I <3 my dudes. I hope that's obvious.

EpWs

I am picturing the wee-est of wee SUVs parked in your uterus. Best wishes to you and your babe-to-be, and I hope things stay safe and get much more comfortable very soon!

atipofthehat

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher

Yes!

And be sure that the SUV has an approved rear-facing safety seat.

Ester Bloom@facebook

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Thank you!!

OxfordComma

Please tell me that someone else ends up crying after *every* ob-gyn appointment?

olivebee

@OxfordComma You're not alone. See my post below!

dracula's ghost

@OxfordComma I cried after the ob-gyn appointment where she brightly said "So! We won't be seeing you for awhile then!" and I was like "What do you mean, you'll be seeing me next year as usual for my pelvic exam because I am a responsible woman person, right?" and she said "Oh no no no, once you turn 30 we don't need to do pelvic exams very often anymore [because your body is no longer useful to society / is withered and dead]" (I inferred that last part)

CRYING! SELFISH CRYING

OxfordComma

@dracula's ghost : Poor darling! :(

laurel

@dracula's ghost

I've never wanted to have children but when my worst gynecologist sat me down in his office next to a huge wall collage of pictures of every baby he'd ever delivered (seriously, hundreds of baby pictures six inches from my ear) to tell me that endometriosis had pretty much obliterated the option, I started shaking.

When I declined his insistence on a full hysterectomy he told me "you're just upset because you can't have children."

Seriously, fuck that guy.

sugar cubism

@laurel Fuck that guy! Seriously. I hate him.

OxfordComma

@laurel : Fuck that asshole!

What a douchebaggy thing to say to you!

Vera Knoop

@OxfordComma YUP. Sometimes dentist, too, even if it doesn't hurt.

OxfordComma

@Vera Knoop : You might be sensitive to Novacaine--it always makes me cry.

Now let's go salt a margarita glass with our collective tears.

Beericle

@dracula's ghost HOLD ON HOLD ON. After I turned ... 32? (maybe? around then anyhow) The gyno told me I had to come back 2Xs a year because my vag was getting old and it needed to be examined more often. I told him insurance only covered once a year, and he suggested I was being immature. So - uh which is it?

Vera Knoop

@OxfordComma No, it's definitely having to hold my mouth open while a man I don't know roots around in it with a gloved hand. No matter how nice they are about it, it's a challenge not to freak out.
It just speaks further to the point that this stuff isn't easy for everyone, and even if the TVU is NBD for some, it won't be for others, which is why mandating it is a really evil thing to do.

OxfordComma

@Vera Knoop : Well said, lady.

Believing that abortion is wrong does NOT give the state the right to stick a probe up in any woman's body.

every tomorrow@twitter

@Vera Knoop You know, I've had so many transvaginal ultrasounds that I've lost track because I had surgery for ovarian cysts which required 2-3 before the surgery and then I had to be rechecked constantly afterwards, and I think I pretty much give as little of a shit about them as it is humanly possible to give. Like, I just hop up on the table and am like OKAY LET'S GO THEN I NEED TO PEE.

But I still fucking hate them. I mean, who does not fucking hate having an ultrasound wand shoved up their hoo-ha and then MOOSHED AROUND? It's crappy! It's uncomfortable! It's embarrassing! (Especially when the poor male resident is supposed to be observing but no one will let him observe because they're embarrassed and you are also embarrassed but you say okay because you feel sorry for this poor fucker who is NEVER going to see any ultrasounds at this rate so you just hide under the giant blanket they brought you.)

My point is if the government tried to mandate that I have a not medically necessary TVU I would punch that government in the face, because no matter how chill you are about them, they still totally suck.

dracula's ghost

@Beericle Well I don't know! I thought, like you say, that it should be you have to go MORE often once you're withered and old (30? come on people seriously?). But then my doctor friend told me it has more to do with being 30 AND married/monogamous, because apparently you can only get lady-parts cancer from sexually-transmitted things like HPV? And so once you've been monogamous for like 10 years they kind of just say "oh you're fine"?

Even having this explained to me by a doctor, it still sounds really weird and old wivesy.

I'm going to opt for just continuing to get pelvic exams, probably.

iceberg

@OxfordComma Ugh yes HATE the speculum and th scrapey thing. Traumatized and clenchy always.

Beericle

@dracula's ghost Good point about the monogamy v multiple partners thing - although wouldn't protection-use play into this? I dunno. Just know it sucked to be told my 32 year old lady-parts were old, and that by never having children, I was much more likely to have 'difficulties'. Thanks.

(Come to think of it, this dude even told me I was getting old, and should hurry up and settle down and start having babies) How did this guy get to be a Dr. again?

OxfordComma

@iceberg : I can feel it being all grindy! And the clicking as the doctor opens it wider??? OH GOD WHY.

C.SanDiego

@iceberg At my last gyno appointment my doctor told me my cervix was "up around my ears" and "well-protected." I don't even know what that means, but it probably explained the tears running down my face as she scraped off parts of my body.

Man I hate the gyno.

batgirl

I had one of these ultrasounds once, but for the life of me I can't remember why. I was totally unprepared for it though. I had no idea what they were going to do to me. I was lying on the bed and the tech was asking me questions about my condom usage and I thought she was just making conversation/preparing to launch into a safe sex lecture. I did not realize she was asking me if I was allergic to latex because she was about to insert a giant wand into my vag!

I was surprised, but I remember it not being too uncomfortable and not at all painful. It is invasive though. Hey doctors? If you're sending your patients for one of these, you should probably give them a little warning as to what to expect.

kayjay

@batgirl I think I just threw up a little in my mouth for you. So fucking horrible and insensitive, to say the least. Not warning you that something is about to go inside your down there? And doing it without giving your consent? Sounds...vaguely familiar...I'm trying to think of that word...

EpWs

@batgirl I will say it again: ASK BEFORE YOU PUT SOMETHING INTO SOMEONE ELSE. I don't care who you are or what you're doing. There are no exceptions.

OxfordComma

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher : YES.

And I don't CARE how many vaginas you see every day--this one is mine, and you need to be considerate of the fact that you are, literally, in my personal, private territory!

ARGH.

Vera Knoop

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher This is a very good rule.

Beericle

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Yup. Ever get the finger up the butt routine? The first lady doctor that did that to me did it with NO warning. It is like, you know what the appt. is about, you are sorta ready to be 'probed' in your vag. But the finger up the butt was a TOTAL surprise. And not in a good way. A little warning next time folks.

EpWs

@Beericle Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat no I did not know that was a thing and now I never want to go back to my gyno again. You know, just in case. (My gyno is always really good about warning me about things, but GYAH.)

kayjay

@Beericle Someone who sticks their finger up the butthole without getting written consent first BETTER be rubbing my clit and buying me dinner, too. Possibly even scrubbing my toilet and doing my taxes. Maybe then it's okay.

Beericle

@kayjay Uh if someone would rub my clit, buy me dinner, scrub my toilet, and do my taxes (provided I didn't owe anything) I think I would GLADLY let them stick their finger up my butt. But maybe that is just me? Hell, I already got it on the sneak attack, at least this time I can order wine at dinner first.

CaptainSplashy

@batgirl My first TV ultrasound (I have a uterus that likes to shed ALL its lining in one go, which tends to freak doctors out and make them order TV ultrasounds at every opportunity) was with a super dodgy dude who used a very old-fashioned wand with the finger bit of a latex glove over it.

He didn't warn me it was going in, then STOPPED in the middle of the ultrasound, rested the handle of the wand - WHICH WAS STILL INSIDE ME - down on the table and left the room. So I had a large ultrasound wand hanging out of my downstairs business, making a dint in the front of my pelvis for a good 10 minutes. He didn't even explain where he went.

I was 16 at the time and didn't know that this was not OK. It took me two years to agree to do another one - which was fine, and done by a lovely woman who walked me through every step and restored my faith in ultrasound techs. Thanks, Ultrasound Technician Lady!

iceberg

@CaptainSplashy Ugh oh I am so sorry for 16yo you!!! Yay for lady medical people!

LilyMarlene

@CaptainSplashy Oh Christ. I had a doctor when I was about that age (and too young to know I had a right to complain about things that made me uncomfortable/unhappy) who left a speculum dangling out of me while he left to take a phone call. It's like, "That's a vagina, not a pencil cup/wall outlet/coat pocket". After he was gone for a few minutes, I expelled it onto the floor with one push and caused him the inconvenience of having to fetch another speculum, which he actually had the nerve to complain about! If that happened to me today, I'd pack my stuff and leave - but not before hurling the speculum at the doctor like a boomerang on the way out.

olivebee

Oh, god. I get all pukey-feeling and anxiety-ridden before going to the gyno because I can get very close to passing out at the thought (and action) of the little speculum thing going in. And since I just went yesterday and turned practically green while it happened, my kind and lovely doctor told me that I am not alone and many women have the same sorts of issues (phew). Since going to the gyno is VOLUNTARY and I do it for my own health, I cannot imagine being forced by the fucking government to have this done with not just a speculum but a giant wand. I would be utterly traumatized, and I imagine that, given what my doctor said, many other women would be, too.

lesleygee

@olivebee Not to discount your experience but potentially and hopefully to relieve you if a doctor ever recommends a transvaginal ultrasound: I can't stand the speculum and get nauseated and scared and clenchy thinking about it, but the transvaginal probe in my experience was MUCH less uncomfortable!

But maybe I have different speculum issues than you do, or my vagina is different or something, who knows? Hopefully no one will be forced to have this procedure who doesnt want to, for whatever reason.

OxfordComma

@olivebee : THANK YOU.

I would totally hold your hand during your next appointment if it would help.

...

I just feel like I should get over it, woman up, deal with it, somethingsomething, but it doesn't change the fact that I feel violated and gross and like a piece of meat every. single. time. I have an ob-gyn appointment.

The last one was a REAL winner:

I went to a new doc for a BREAST exam, because I found a suspicious lump (turned out to be fibrous breast tissue, phew), and I wanted to be responsible.

Went in to the office, and was told that the doctor had to do a vaginal exam as well.

Not only was I not in the correct head space for that, I hadn't shaved my legs, and I wasn't wearing something that was easy to get out of.

I asked the nurse if I could please skip it because that wasn't what I came in for, but she said no.

I should have left, right then.

But didn't.

Because breast lumps.

And fear of cancer.

The doctor was, I'm sure, polite.
But I was cold and crying, and the speculum FUCKING HURT, as it ALWAYS FUCKING DOES, and they didn't have a robe, so I had a piece of paper kind of wrapped around me, which, hey, let's add to your humiliation! You didn't need that dignity, didja?

I hate hate hate hate HATE the entire process.

I don't know you, your hands are cold, and NO I don't WANT to "scooch down further", and stop asking me to open my legs more. It makes me UNCOMFORTABLE.

...

Feelings.
Sooo many feelings.

I just don't know what to do about this.

Aside from never getting another exam in the history of ever.

OxfordComma

@lesleygee : That's good to know!

But I swear to God, if some doctor ever waves one of those near me, and I wasn't told about it beforehand? I will walk out.

lesleygee

@OxfordComma yeah that's messed up! Also, as I mentioned upthread, if they'll let you insert the wand yourself, it makes a big difference, physically and psychologically (at least i think it does). It doesn't like too much to ask doctors to be sensitive to such things, but...

Mingus_Thurber

@olivebee @OxfordComma: YOU GUYS ARE NEITHER CRAY-CRAY NOR WIMPY. There is a reason you get all green and woozy and horrible-feeling, and also have anxiety over having things inserted into your vagina, be they speculi or transvaginal u.s. wands. I learned this when a patient of mine at Planned P-hood ended up passing out during a pap test:

Some women have anatomy such that the vagal nerve is stimulated indirectly by having their cervixes, or even the upper third of their vaginal canal, manipulated. "Vagaling out" is casual-medical slang for passing out. A lot of women get really queasy or sweaty or cold during a pap test or insertion of whatever.

The reason it doesn't happen during sex has a lot to do with other competing stimuli and the amount of engorgement and so on (at least according to the midwife-NP I worked with).

SO. There's a biological reason that accompanies and reinforces the emotional angle (which is totally okay; dude, you don't always want somebody up in your stuff). If it happens to you on a regular basis, mention it to your practitioner. If they scoff, find another, less asinine practitioner.

OxfordComma

@Mingus_Thurber : Oh my God. You have no idea how much better that makes me feel--even if that's not necessarily my problem, knowing that there could be a biological reason behind my discomfort?

So encouraging.

olivebee

@Mingus_Thurber I second what OxfordComma just said! Thank you for saying this and thank you for making me feel not so abnormal and wimpy.

leastimportantperson

@Mingus_Thurber Dude, this is so good to know. I loved my old OBGYN (I have since moved), and I felt absoutely terrible about almost passing out on her! I was like, no you didn't do anything wrong! But also I am definitely going to faint. Sorry. I can't walk out of here. I'm really really sorry. But also I literally cannot stand up now.

Why are we not TOLD THIS. Why do we not KNOW THIS INFORMATION GOING IN. God I hate the world sometimes.

Mingus_Thurber

@leastimportantperson I feel incredibly lucky that I worked at PP as a relatively young (28 year old) woman. When I got my IUD inserted, I was unsurprised that I 1) wanted to pass out during because of the vagal nerve response and 2) wanted to pass out afterwards, but in a good way, because of endorphins.

I wish I could go back in time and brief the teenaged-me, who got HPV when it was just barely A Thing (honestly? I got chlamydia before it had a name), on what was about to happen to her. It would've been so much better, and so much easier for me to speak up about stuff like a speculum being too damned big, had I had my Old self as a big sister.

Gwdihw

It would be nice if doctors warned patients that the first few ultrasounds are internal and invasive. It seems as if they are so schooled in the routine that they forget that the newly pregnant have utterly no clue what is happening and going to happen in those first visits.

The heartbeat gave me pause, though. It was pretty nifty to see that.

Gwdihw

And, by the way, this article was excellent!

marigny

I had an abortion two weeks ago, at 7 weeks gestation. In my lovely Southern state, there were three options that "by law have to be read to the patient": the choice to not view the screen, the choice to view it, and the choice to view it and have a print out. I chose to view it out of sheer curiosity. It was very much just a collection of something, but not a fetus or anything human like. I did not have my Juno moment.

dj pomegranate

@marigny Thank you for sharing this.

squid v. whale

@marigny @dj pomegranate ditto. I heard that in KY there is still only one location to get an abortion...and you can bet there are protestors there daily.

EpWs

@squid v. whale Kentucky girl here...can't really research this (at work at the moment) but I will be checking it out as soon as I get home.
@marigny *hugs* And thank you.

kayjay

@marigny Also thanking you for posting this. Jokingly adding that clearly you were doing it all wrong, according to our friendly neighborhood GOP lawmakers, who no doubt have all of our best interests at heart.

marigny

@squid v. whale In my state there is a mandatory 24-hour waiting period, with counseling in the first visit and the actual procedure in the second visit. I had to take two days off work and lie to my boss about why I needed this time off since I wasn't sure how she would react. There are only 7 licensed providers in my state, which means women drive long distances to come to the clinic I went to. The protestors blocked my friend's car when she went to drop me off. It was surreal.

What I don't get is that this legislation implies that the woman getting the procedure is unaware of what is going on. "Oh! I see it now on the screen! My future child! Because before I didn't realize that I was knocked up." That I was so stupid I need a visual aid to coerce me otherwise. No, I was there and nothing would change my mind.

j. preposterice

@marigny "...Because before I didn't realize that I was knocked up." I do wonder what they [=crazy legislators] think we think it is.

A puppy?
An alien?
A hamburger? (I mean, I guess a hamburger is a clump of cells...)

MatildaGold

@marigny "What I don't get is that this legislation implies that the woman getting the procedure is unaware of what is going on. "Oh! I see it now on the screen! My future child! Because before I didn't realize that I was knocked up." That I was so stupid I need a visual aid to coerce me otherwise. No, I was there and nothing would change my mind."

THIS.

MatildaGold

@marigny and I'm really sorry you had to go through that whole schmozzle.

kayjay

@MatildaGold Yes, because women are too stupid to know what's going on in their uterii, so let us big burly men with this here vagina stick make it all clear for you. You're welcome.

Flackette

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Fellow Kentuckian here. I've heard that the clinic in Louisville is the only place that does surgical abortions. There is a branch clinic in Lexington, but I think maybe they only do medical abortions? In any event, I know there used to be a private practitioner in Lex who did abortions, but I haven't heard of him recently so maybe he left or quit. I know the Louisville clinic has protestors on the regular. Planned Parenthood in Kentucky will refer, but does not do abortions.

EpWs

@Flackette AAAAHHH, hello Kentucky 'Pinner! This makes four of us, time for a 'Pinup. Thanks for the information!

squid v. whale

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Yup, the Louisville clinic is the one I know of. I've known people who had to travel 5-6 hours from Eastern KY to get this perfectly legal and reasonable procedure.

reallykatie

@marigny @flackette @the everpresent wordsnatcher -- totally OT here but just wanted to say holla from another KY 'pinner!

and yeah -- i think that's right re: just the one in louisville. i love my state but that's just absurd.

marigny

@reallykatie I actually happen to be in NOLA. I knew that the anti-choice climate here was hostile, but I didn't know how crazy it all was until I had to seek out abortion services myself. I found out I was pregnant before Mardi Gras and the clinic was shutting down for a week, so I ha to wait 10 days before I could even get the counseling appointment and then an additional day before I could get the procedure. In a panic I considered driving to Baton Rouge, but I ran into the same problem there. After that the closest clinic was Shreveport (5 hour drive). I had no idea about waiting periods, or viewing of ultrasounds, or the major politics of abortion. I was scared because I was thrust into something mammoth and divisive when all I wanted to do concerned myself and my choice, not any of these issues or people or policies. The clinic I went to was amazing, professional, and efficient. The nurses were caring and nice and hel my hand during the actual procedure. I got up from the exam table an thanked each one of them.

EpWs

@reallykatie IT IS TIME FOR A PINUP. (ps: this is bluelightseven from tumblr, HI). It is also time for Kentucky to get some more abortion clinics up in this shiz.

Diana

@marigny

I had an abortion at 12ish weeks. I had a transvaginal ultrasound beforehand (I'm not sure why, but it was a Planned Parenthood clinic in CA so there was probably an actual reason). They asked if I wanted to see and I said sure, why not. I think there was a little part of me that thought, "if I can't bring myself to look at it, how can I bring myself to get rid of it". And then I saw like, a little lima bean and said "Are you fucking kidding me with this?" and sucked that little lima bean out. That wasn't a fucking baby. My mother's gallbladder was bigger and livelier than that, and nobody made a fuss when she got THAT taken out.

EpWs

@Flackette @reallykatie Yo, Kentucky people! We're plotting a Kentucky 'Pinup over on ye olde Friday Open Thread because I'm having issues with the Google Group. Head over there and we can get a meetup going!

squid v. whale

I've had to get a trans-vag ultrasound many times, but for ovarian cysts.

When I'm in pain from a cyst like that, the last thing I want inside me is a dildo with eyes. The morphine drip helps though.

LeafySeaDragon

imo the pregnancy is never real until you feel the baby move. regardless the legislation is just mean. :/

anachronistique

@LeafySeaDragon Quickening! Isn't that the Old Testament rule?

Ester Bloom@facebook

@anachronistique Actually, no! The Old Testament is silent on the subject of abortion and, in fact, implies that a baby doesn't count as a person until it is born. If a pregnant woman is pushed and miscarries, she and her husband are owed money to compensate for the loss of the fetus. If the loss of a fetus were considered murder -- if, that is, an unborn baby had personhood-status -- the punishment would be "a life for a life."

Here's the quote, from Exodus 21:22: "And should men quarrel and hit a pregnant woman, and she miscarries but there is no fatality, he shall surely be punished, when the woman's husband makes demands of him, and he shall give [restitution] according to the judges." http://www.chabad.org/parshah/torahreading.asp?AID=15564&p=2 (Thank you, 13 years of Jewish Day School.)

dokuchan

@Ester Bloom@facebook Yeah, apparently the soul enters the baby's body when it takes it's first breath, so it isn't a person until then, according to the OT.

dokuchan

@dokuchan My mom once took a class on Jewish Sex (she went on to teach the 10th grade Sunday School "Love, Sex & Marriage" class for years) and the dinner table discussions got really interesting there for a while.

anachronistique

@Ester Bloom@facebook I am so glad someone actually knew what they were talking about. Thank you for clearing it up! (I received no religious education from either the Jewish or the Catholic sides of my family, so I just sort of flail around a bit.)

Alter Kocker

@dokuchan The way I heard it, not until it gets accepted to medical school.

laurel

Every time I've had a TVU the tech has had me insert the wand myself and explained that it was considered too personally invasive to do it herself. So the technician won't do it but the great Commonwealth of Virginia will.

tortietabbie

@laurel ...Wow.

j. preposterice

I had to have a transvaginal ultrasound recently to check on the position of my IUD, and it was Not Comfortable, to put it mildly. I cannot imagine having one I didn't want because some asshole lawmakers think I'm not educated enough to decide on my own about terminating a pregnancy.

(Of course, I don't like ultrasounds in general, and flummoxed both practices I delivered children with by refusing extra ultrasounds. And certainly I didn't get transvaginals with them. I actually had to have an argument about how I was damn well not having a third ultrasound with my midwife with Child #1, and with Child #2 I only had one ultrasound. When they suggested a second and I said no, they never asked again. I'm sticking with that practice FOREVER.)

New Hoarder

I have my own twist on this tale: The Best Time I Went For An Abdominal Ultrasound to View My Non-Child That Was So Big It Was Blocking My Ovary So the Technician Had to Switch to Transvaginal But Also I Had My Period.

Surprise on both of us!

anachronistique

@New Hoarder The last time I had a TVU I also had my period, which wasn't an issue for what I was in for, and ended up explaining why I used a menstrual cup to the old-enough-to-be-my-mom tech. It was kind of awesome.

New Hoarder

@anachronistique Hehe, that does sound awesome!

Yeah, I figured being on my period while having a surprise TVU wasn't such an awful thing anyways. At least not for me. *shrug*

Maria

I had to get a TVU after they put in my IUD, and the technician actually handed it to me and said "here, put this in."
That's weird, right?

robotpony

@Maria Nope, sometimes the techs think this is less embarrassing if you do it, because they don't have to look at your lady bits to shove the wand up there, and you are "in control" of the scenario. Sort of the same as the female-empowerment gyn-nologist who asked me if I would like to insert my own speculum at my last pap smear.

robotpony

@robotpony as for the speculum experience, it made me feel like I was not the right kind of feminist lady because I'd rather not use a hand mirror to watch you collect a sample, Lady Gyn-nologist. Am I the only one who, although informed, would rather all that stuff remain a mystery?

Maria

@robotpony Well, then I guess that was nice of her. It just through me for a loop. Plus, she had been kind of snippy when I asked if I could see the screen ("NO, I need to see the screen."), so I didn't expect her intentions to be making me more comfortable.

thebestjasmine

@Maria Yeah, I think that's normal -- I've had a number of them, and they usually do that. In general they think it's easier and less violating for you, and will also tend to be less uncomfortable for you, since you'll know if you're sliding it in correctly.

Deb of last year@twitter

@Maria Same thing happened to me. My nurse lubed it up good then had me insert it myself, and only took over after I had it in and gave her the okay.

Xanthophyllippa

@Maria Mine let me see the screen! She also pointed out everything and explained it to me. I think partly she felt bad for me, but I think also she felt better when I said, through my tears, "medical imaging technology is really cool! I have a lot of students who work on things like this."

Decca

This was great!

Although the only way in which I can personally relate is when I was on the T one Saturday morning and so hungover that I vomited, kept it in my mouth as I departed the tram and spat it into a rubbish bin in Boston Common, as the cleanest of clean cut families strolled past me having a nice day in the park. :(

leastimportantperson

@Decca Kept it in your mouth. You are the bravest person I have ever not-met but replied to on a comment thread.

Decca

@leastimportantperson I was hardly going to throw up on the floor of the subway. I have some dignity. And I like to think I pulled off the "vomiting in a park bin at 11am" manoeuvre with a certain élan!

mangosara

@Decca the T!! a similar thing happened to me, except I was hungover and THEN went to Chinatown for dim sum and THEN on the way back vomited into an empty plastic grocery bag. but I did it so delicately that one of my companions thought that I had just sneezed.

Decca

@mangosara AMAZING. Let's be friends.

somethingobscure

Okay, so, I get that they're trying to discourage women from going through with abortions by showing them a picture of their embryo/fetus in the womb, BUT.

This kind of legislation is invasive and IMHO abusive to women. Why not just mandate regular abdominal ultrasounds? Why force a woman lay back and take a wand up their vag? It seems like it's about more than just the babies. It's about making women feel violated and scared. That, to me, is completely sickening.

MmeLibrarian

@somethingobscure I assume it's because an abdominal ultrasound can't really "see" anything early on in pregnancy (when most women have abortions), which is why women have transvaginal ultrasounds at early prenatal appointments.

The firm grounding of the above in both logic and scientific reasoning makes me doubt that this is the actual reason that these women-hating loons are pushing for the more invasive ultrasound.

Josephine Julia Scoville@facebook

Awesome, awesome, awesome post. I struggled with Infertility for years before being blessed to have a child, but I still 100% agree with women's rights (and agree that transvaginal ultrasounds are freaking crazy!). Congrats!

EpWs

@Josephine Julia Scoville@facebook I just want to come over here and say that I am so glad you got the babe you were hoping for! Firmly of the belief and hope that everyone who wants babies gets them and that everyone who doesn't want babies doesn't ever have to deal with the craziness that is mandated TVUs. (Or, you know, unwanted pregnancies in the first place. Birth control for everyone!)

Also I don't think that wanting/having babies negates support of women's rights AT ALL, you can totally do both! AND, bonus, raise a little one to be a strong proponent of women's rights as well!

billie_crusoe

So, my experience does not involve a TV ultrasound (though I have had one of those - the tech let me insert it and that made it SO much better), but it still makes me adamant about the TV rule / medical consent in general. Because some women are all "What's the big deal? They don't HURT," and the lack of pain doesn't make it Not A Big Deal.

Also, this is graphic. Sorry.

I had transvaginal surgery 2ish years ago. It wasn't the worst pain ever, but it sucked pretty hard. The nurse came in my second night post-surgery and told me I couldn't use my dilaudid anymore because I was going home tomorrow, so I needed to transition to oral meds that I could take at home. And then the Percocet he gave me made me WANT TO DIE. I scratched my skin raw. And finally fell asleep at 5 am.

AND THEN. At 6 he and another nurse came in to remove my dilaudid pump (I had FINALLY gotten my pain back under control but was trying not to use it too much, so I still hurt) and PULL DRY GAUZE OUT OF MY VAGINA. It hurt so. bad. because, duh, it was stuck to dried blood on my incision. If I had known that shit was coming, I would have given myself an extra hit of pain killers, but now that option was gone.

I have tried to remember clearly, but I honestly can't remember if they asked if it was OK for them to do all this. Maybe they did, and maybe I said yes. (I drew blood in a hospital for a while, and my trainers said NOT to ask for consent because if the patient said no, it would mess up our schedule. If they refused, we wouldn't do it, but we weren't to explicitly offer them the option. Fortunately, that job ended quickly.) But I feel like, in a setting like that, consent is really hard - I was drugged / in pain out of my head, and if I had known what was coming I would have said no. Except it's SO FUCKING HARD to say no when you're the patient, and you're not totally coherent. You can't walk, you need this nurse to do everything for you - it's scary to say no!

Was this a big deal? In the big picture, no. It hurt, but not for that long. I think the nurses were trying to get their shit done before shift change, and I don't think they had any bad intentions. They're rushed, I get that. But I still felt like I had been assaulted. It was hard for me to use that word at first because I don't want to minimize sexual assault, but that shit felt like assault, and it was a way bigger deal because it was my vag. And maybe I DID give consent, but I think that even if I did, it wasn't really freely given. I didn't FEEL like I had a choice.

So, maybe transvaginal ultrasounds AREN'T painful for some people. But the painfuless is, to me, irrelevant because it's really fucking traumatizing to have someone, even a medical professional, doing things to your genitals when you don't want it.

OxfordComma

@che : Agreed! And it is a tough situation for *both* parties, but the onus is still on the professional to be kind and compassionate, and fully recognize that your daily work is your patient's intimate business.

Ping

Thanks for this article. I have had many TV ultrasounds to monitor an ovarian cyst, and they are always painful and traumatizing. The problem is the insertion and removal, because of the bulb (?) on the tip of the wand; it's not so bad once it is in. I usually schedule mine in the afternoon and then go home early. I like the idea of inserting it myself; that idea had never ocurred to me and has never been offered.

hallu

@Ping That is awful! I have had I think 3 of them and they have always let me insert.

procrastinator

I'm five months pregnant. I've always been pro-choice, but also wondered if I'd feel differently once I saw my precious pulsating lima bean—I mean, embryo. Nope! I'm thrilled to be having this baby, but no one should have to go through pregnancy against her will. It's an exhausting and uncomfortable experience that goes on for almost a year and can mess up your body forever. Funny how anti-choice politicians—and the media—never acknowledge that. I thought I'd be glowing by now, not doubled over with round ligament pain.

Diana

@procrastinator

Nothing could have made me more secure in my decision to abort than morning sickness. "All this? For a lima bean I don't want? It gets worse? Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck that." Nothing like being reminded every minute of every day of the extreme physical toll pregnancy is taking on your body to make you want to end it as soon as possible.

t. rex arms

@procrastinator Agreed -- 6 months pregnant, and I wasn't sure if seeing the ultrasound images would change how I felt about abortion, but it didn't. It looked like an alien, and it still feels like an alien intruder is living inside me. (However, at least this is an intruder that I wanted. So, maybe not an intruder, but an invited guest who is still totally messing with my body?) And I feel you on that whole not glowing thing, plus add weird tingly hands from pregnancy-related carpal tunnel!

But hooray for babies, and hooray that we're both more than halfway through!

Maj
Maj

Nobody in Australia talks about trans-vaginal ultrasounds. I've had two ultrasounds for my pregnancy and they saw all they needed to see by sticking the thingymajiggy on the lower part of my belly.

I had morning sickness for 7 months. Being pregnant SUCKED ASS up until that ended. Now it's just a bit uncomfortable. Male politicians have no idea what it's like to be pregnant, how dare they presume to make decisions on women's behalf? Anti-choicers have much to be ashamed about.

Jenabeba

I also ended up having a transvaginial ultrasound thing and nobody warned me - I was expecting a normal, stuff-on-belly, ultrasound until the probe was waved about. A big shock!! For me, it was painful and traumatising, I was genuinely shaken and tearful afterwards - and mine was for a medical reason! It makes me crazy that states are making this mandatory for women who DO NOT NEED IT! We're bracing ourselves in the UK for someone (Nadine Dorries, I'm looking at you) to say 'hey, that's a good idea .....'

And as for the OBGYN stuff .... yep, makes me want to pass out too! In fact the last time I had to have it, I threw up over the poor doctor and then passed out. Apparently it's fairly common ... although the nurse may have told me that just to make me feel better ..!

spanglepants

@Jenabeba That's terrible! I'm in the UK, and when I got my appointment letter for the ultrasound, there was a fact-sheet attached. And I'm with you on Dorries-fear. I don't understand why anyone takes her seriously; it scares me that they do.

Jenabeba

Yeah, they referred to it as an Ultrasound all the way through the letter - I didn't even know these transvaginal ultrasound thingys even existed, so it didn't occur to me that it was anything other than the gel-on-the-belly one!

Re Dorries - unfortunately, there seem to be lots of MPs who support her ... and even though they made her (I think) drop the Bill re the counselling issue, I worry it's coming in via stealth ...

Ai
Ai

I just created an account (finally) so I could comment on this, so many feelings.

I am 29 weeks pregnant with identical twins, and since they share a placenta it is considered a high-risk pregnancy. I have been going to a high-risk OB specialist since week 8, every other week. And at every appointment I have to have a trans-vag ultrasound (to see cervix length) and on the belly one (to see fetuses). All the sonographers I’ve had have been really great, always explaining about the TV before and being very attentive to my comfort level. At week 24 my cervix up and dramatically shortened on me (actually called an incompetent cervix, sigh), so since then I have had to go in every week, and I am on bed rest until the end of the pregnancy, ideally 2 more months. But everyone is doing well thus far, so I feel extremely fortunate.

SO having been through maybe 15-20 TV ultrasounds at this point, for me they are not great but are basically tolerable. After insertion I don’t really notice it b/c I’m looking at sono and doing my yoga breathing so I don’t forget to breathe completely due to stress of checking on rogue cervix. The important distinctions I would make is that a. I do not have the ultra sensitive cervix that others have mentioned upthread and b. I want these babies very much and so mentally I am in a totally different place than a woman seeking a safe and legal abortion, and c. TV is not inserted very long just a few minutes. Each woman is different, and will react differently to a TV; just b/c for me it's tolerable doesn't mean it will be for another women. Still waiting for Republican lawmakers to let us know if women are people, though.

If I could do a TV ultrasound every other day at this point, I absolutely would, to keep an eye on my magically-disappearing cervix. So for me these TVs are amazing medical technology that may have prevented me from going into premature labor, if I want to get all dramatic about it. An example of ultrasounds being used appropriately to gain crucial medical information. But that’s what we mean about different women in different situations. I break out in hives thinking about women being forced to have a TV before having an abortion. Being pregnant (my first) has only affirmed my belief that women should decide if and when they will be pregnant, and should have easy access to safe abortions. As Dr. Tiller said, trust women. This contraception “debate” and the erosion of abortion rights are mind-boggling and I try not to follow them too closely so as not to increase my blood pressure and stress level while preggers.

Oh and the first time I saw an ultrasound is when we found out it was twins so… I did not feel maternal I felt gobsmacked, mind-boggled and terrified. And when I showed my mom the ultrasound afterwards, but without telling her it was twins, she asked if one of the blotches was “uterus detritus.” Because that’s what they look like at 7 weeks. And even now, I would say I still haven’t totally bonded with the critters b/c this has been a high-risk pregnancy and I am a pessimistic stressball… I keep waiting for the appointment where they tell me their hearts aren’t beating or they have no spines or they have twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, where one is sucking the nutrients away from the other with potentially fatal results for both (not to make light of such a terrible syndrome, but it sounds like some inter-planetary alien death ritual doesn’t it?).

Sorry this is a so long but when one has strong opinions and 2 months to kill…

j. preposterice

@Ai Good luck with your pregnancy!

Being pregnant with my first kid really strengthened my feelings on access to safe termination options; pregnancy is not easy to go through. My feelings were pretty strong to begin with, though: if my mother hadn't had access to safe termination options, she would have died when I was 15, leaving behind 7 children of which I was the eldest. So, you know, lawmakers trying to take away options are about my least favorite people in the world, because all I can think is "you would have KILLED MY MOMMY" when I look at them.

On a note that I hope makes you worry less? Those 7 kids include a set of identical twins, and they were born healthy at 37 weeks, and today both of them are happily married parents.

GeekSays

Thank you so much for this. It's an issue that took about two seconds to become completely mythologized and politically exploited, and it's so interesting to hear about the reality of it from someone who's actually been through it.

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