Pregnant - Nursing - When they can't see it all in the ultrasound

Goddess Jessica
03-03-2011, 10:53 PM
I am posting this here in case another woman runs into this issue.

I went to my second ultrasound. My first was when I had amniocentesis and they knew because I was coming in very early for the amnio (~15 weeks) that they would want to see me again to "check the anatomy."

When I went for my first amnio, the tech spent a lot of time pushing on my stomach looking for anatomy features. She had me lay on my side, pull up my stomach (:o). I felt very uncomfortable during the procedure but I was also a little nervous about the amnio so I had a lot more tolerance. I remember the tech kept looking for the gender and I finally said, "I'm having an amnio. I am going to know beyond a shadow of a doubt in ten days. I don't care." The amnio went fine and they scheduled me for another ultrasound at week 22.

That second ultrasound nearly killed me. 90 minutes of pushing on someone's belly would be painful even if there wasn't a fetus inhabiting it. They brought in a second tech and then finally the MD to take turns pushing on my belly, trying to go through their checklist. Finally, the doctor said that they couldn't confirm the chambers of the heart and was recommending a echocardiogram and a third ultrasound to confirm the palate. I questioned her, "Who cares about the palate? What can be done before I deliver about a cleft palate?" She was vague, said it was probably nothing and said I should come back.

When I went to my OBGYN (who I love for her no nonsense approach) I found out a couple things.

1) There is a category called "Suboptimal" and a category called "abnormal." The chambers of the heart and the palate were listed under suboptimal, not abnormal. Simply meaning that they couldn't see them very well. Not that they saw them and something was wrong.

2) That not seeing these things was probably due to having to go through extra body fat to see the baby. When I asked the techs why this anatomy that can usually be seen during this week of pregnancy couldn't be seen, they didn't give me an answer which made me suspect that this was an abnormal issue instead of a perfectly normal problem when performing an ultrasound on an obese woman. Sheesh. Just give it to me straight, doc. I think I am aware that I've got a belly.

My OBGYN recommended I not go back for the third ultrasound (for the palate) and that I didn't "have to" go for the echocardiogram but if I wanted piece of mind, I could absolutely go.

I am just frustrated that the doctors at this "state-of-the-art" hospital couldn't figure out how to have a dialogue with their patient.

03-04-2011, 03:53 PM
That's ridiculous! There's a HUGE difference between something being abnormal and them just not being able to see it. :rolleyes: Sheesh. I'm glad you have a Dr that is straight with you and I hope she put your mind at ease.

90 minutes for an ultrasound is insane. I had ultrasounds done twice a week with my last one (I had some risk factors they were keeping an eye on) and it was 20 minutes at the most, and that was only because goober wasn't doing the practice breathing they needed to see sometimes so we had to wait and wake him up. It sounds like you got an incredibly incompetent ultrasound tech that had no idea what they were doing. I was bigger than you are during my second pregnancy and they didn't have to hurt me to see things for sure.

I'm sorry your experience was such a drag. :( Ultrasounds are supposed to be fun, exciting procedures, not something to be dreaded.

03-04-2011, 09:07 PM
glad it ended up being no big deal! but yea, doc needed better bedside manner! u/s techs never say anything for liability reasons...

Goddess Jessica
03-05-2011, 02:47 PM
@ Gale02 - Thank you. It was fun... the first 20 minutes of it anyway. ;)
@ socalfelicity - Absolutely, I totally get that. However, the MD reading the ultrasound images did the last 30 minutes and she was the one giving me my results.Siiigh! :)