You're Not Having an Ultrasound?Erin Loechner
… and other reasons my midwife thinks I’m crazy.
So here’s the deal. I’d been seeing a midwife since the beginning of my pregnancy, and everything had been going swimmingly. She understood my general discomfort surrounding hospitals, unnecessary testing and respected my wishes for a birth plan that contained as few interventions as possible.
Or so I thought.
Until our 16 week appointment when she explained that she’d be administering our first ultrasound later that month. Ken and I were thrilled to find out the baby’s gender, so we were 100% on board. Until she went into medical mode and explained all of the things that could possibly be wrong with our baby; all of the things that might show up on the screen.
“Your baby could have three heart chambers instead of four.”
“It’s possible that your placenta will be ill-positioned.”
“He/she might have an under-developed spine.”
And then some.
We asked about the accuracy of the findings and explained that none of these complications would change our outcome: we would still do everything in our power to carry the baby to full-term and hope to be given the chance to raise him/her as a healthy child. We also asked that if anything alarming showed up on the screen, if it were at all possible that she not share the information with us. We both understand what stress does to the body, and growing another human in a fearful and anxious environment sounded worse than being aware of potential complications that were happening in the womb.
And that’s when she smirked. She smirked. I’ve never seen anything like it. She explained that she was medically responsible for sharing any and all information she discovered, noting that if we continued to take an avoidance strategy to receiving bad news, our kid would be seeing her in 18 years with a serious case of anxiety.
Ken and I were floored. Were we taking an avoidance strategy by declining an ultrasound that could send us into a downward spiral of additional testing that we didn’t even want? Yes, there is a case to be made for preparation. But until the baby is delivered and we confirm that yes, she does indeed have three eyes, we’re playing a game of “What if’s.” And I hate that game.
We did have an ultrasound the following week. But not with our midwife. With a friend in Los Angeles that confirmed the baby I was carrying was a beautiful girl – and nothing else. No diagnosis, no fears, no anxiety. She was a little girl, and we had the rest of our life to worry about the many, many “What if’s” to come.
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