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no heartbeat detected today--ultrasound tomorrow

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
I first went to see my midwife at 9 weeks pregnant. She could not detect a heartbeat with the doppler, but she told me not to worry. I was a little worried anyway, because with my first child I heard the heartbeat at 8 weeks with the doppler. Well, now I am 11 1/2 weeks along and I had another appointment. Again, she could not hear the heartbeat with the doppler. She took me to the ultrasound room but warned me that the machine she was using was not the best. She could still not find a heartbeat either externally or internally. She did see that my uterus tilts backward (no one mentioned this my first pregnancy) and said that could be the reason she can't get to the baby to find a heartbeat. She saw a shadow she believed to be the baby--she even thought she saw a head and a foot--but again the ultrasound machine is not a high quality one. She also did a full pelvic exam today. She was not going to do a pap smear, but once she was in there she saw a "lesion" she was concerned about. She showed my husband and we agreed to do the pap because of the lesion and because she was concerned. Besides not being able to find a heartbeat, I feel very pregnant. I have all the symptoms, and the midwife said my uterus looks to be 11 weeks along. She gave me a hug when I left and told me she thought I was fine--but of course how could she know? She did tell me too earlier in the appointment that she didn't want to give me false hope.
So, tomorrow I have an ultrasound on a high-quality machine with the doctor who my midwife works in cooperation with. I am so scared. Mostly, I just think tomorrow I am going to have to face the reality that something is wrong, or that there is no baby, or that the baby has died.
Has anyone on here had a difficult time finding a heartbeat on a baby this age? Apparently my mom had this problem with one of us, but she couldn't remember details like how far along she was, and that was 35 years ago. Seems technology has come a long, long way since then. I guess I'm trying to hold out a little hope that things might be okay, but other than my mom 35years ago, I have never heard of having such a hard time finding a heartbeat and then things end up being okay. Any thoughts or support is appreciated. I'm just feeling really down about all of this. Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 39
I have a friend who is due in September. Her doctor couldn't find a heartbeat with doppler at 12 weeks, but found one using ultrasound. She showed me the picture and the machine seemed like it was of decent/high quality.

My doctor said that he doesn't even attempt to find a heartbeat with doppler until after 12 weeks because too often it can't be detected and causes unnecessary stress. (During my last pregnancy, a different doctor began using the doppler around 10-ish weeks.)
post #3 of 39

Okay, I KNOW it isn't funny, but when I went in to see my midwife with the last pregnancy she couldn't find the HB on the first visit. I thought I was about 12 weeks, and she said my uterus was about right for that date.

So we went for the U/S and we found... TWO heartbeats. They were only measuring a little over 7 weeks, so my dates were off but that is why she couldn't find a HB.

Nine weeks is still really early. I was terrified when it happened to me, so I completely sympathize. But there is still lots of hope!
post #4 of 39
The doppler is much more reliable from 12+ weeks and your dates could be off.

This happened to me with my fourth pg and I was TERRIFIED! Same dance too...doppler, then outdated crummy in-office u/s machine and then referred to radiology for a "real" u/s. 72 hours later--they could not squeeze me in earlier. Things were fine and we found the baby easily with the good u/s.

Anyway, with my last pregnancy, this also happened but even later. The only difference was that the NP did not have an u/s. I was around 14 weeks based on my uterus, etc. (not 100% sure as I conceived during LAM) and she couldn't find anything with the doppler. I had an u/s the next day and they found the baby--and said I was about 14 weeks after all.

I do have a tipped uterus and also both times anterior placentas, which can make it more difficult too, I'm told.

Hang in there--sending good vibes!!!
post #5 of 39
it sure sounds like there is hope, if your uterus is tilted back that much that she couldn't really even find the sac etc.? with my 2nd pregnnacy i went in at 10 weeks 5 days and they couldn't find a HB and with a not great external u/s we could clearly see an empty 6week sac .. (there was no baby, or it had died very very early) with 2 of my other pregnancies we have not been able to hear the HB on doppler at 12ish weeks but i didn't have u/s with them.. (and this time, we could hear the HB with my 3mghz, but not with my midwife's 2mghz doppler) if you midwife thinks she saw something i think thats a good sign.. i would hold onto a bit of hope until you check things out with a better machine...
post #6 of 39
My midwife found my little guy just fine at my 11 week appointment, but then at my 15 weeks appointment, it took a loooooong time to find. We nearly gave up trying, and honestly, we just got lucky and heard about four heartbeats before we lost it again. We just as easily could have not found it at all. I was amazingly scared for that time we couldn't find him, so I can only imagine what you're going through.

As an interesting side note, it took until today's appointment (33 weeks) before my midwife was able to find him with the fetoscope. It seems like he just likes to hide, or it could be placenta placement.

My thoughts are with you!
post #7 of 39
I had a similar experience in my second pregnancy. At my 8 week appointment in pregnancy #2 we got no heartbeat (not unexpectedly). At 11 weeks I started spotting so I called my MW who immediately got me in for a doppler check to ease my mind. She spent at least five minutes trying to get the heartbeat with no luck. She made many attempts and I had broken down in tears and was sobbing. Just as she was about to send me for an ultrasound she made one last pass over my belly and we picked up the heartbeat! Needless to say, I was sobbing even harder after such a scare.

I would guess that your tipped uterus could be a contributing factor. And, just because it wasn't tipped before doesn't mean it isn't tipped now. (Great article in current issue of Mothering regarding this!)

In my first pregnancy I heard the HB at 9 weeks. In my current pregnancy we had no luck at my 9 week appointment. Hoping to hear something at 13 weeks. Your steady symptoms seem like a reassuring sign and I hope you have good news tomorrow.
post #8 of 39
It really seems to me like your midwife is overreacting, is she really new? For Ds, at 11 weeks, Dh and I went to the prenatal excited to hear the HB. Midwife couldn't find it, but said not worry, that it happens sometimes and that I had a retroverted (tipped back - some just say 'tipped') uterus. I think it was 13 weeks we found it, but it could have been later than that too, I don't recall. This time I had an appointment at about 11 weeks and the midwife looked for the HB with a doppler and could not find it. This wasn't my prenatal provider, just a one time visit to set up a scan I decided to do. I told her to stop looking because I have a retroverted uterus and it was hard to find so early with Ds too. She tried a little longer, then stopped. She wasn't at all concerned, just sort annoyed she wasn't finding it I think. A week later we had our ultra sound and the baby was alive and very wiggly with a good heart rate! It's really common with a tipped uterus to not find the heart rate that soon. It can take a lot longer than normal. Also, when we had our ultra sound (a nuchel translucency scan) it was hard to get the baby in view at times. the baby would slip off into this dark spot. We didn't end up getting the scan because of the retroverted uterus it made it impossible for her to get the right angle on the baby. I can't say for sure that your baby is okay, but I think if you still feel pregnant your chances are pretty high that everything is fine. I'm a little alarmed at your midwife though, seems very odd that she would overreact and worry you so much when she knows you have a retroverted uterus?
post #9 of 39
My midwife couldn't find the hb at 12 weeks with this pg. I also have a retroverted uterus and an anterior placenta. Praying that all is well with you and your baby.
post #10 of 39
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for your responses. You have helped calm me enough that I think I may actually have a decent night's sleep tonight. It has really helped knowing that others have been in similar situations and that the tipped uterus and all could be contributing to this whole thing.
Oh, for the poster who is concerned about my midwife--she really did not try to scare me. I am concerned and worried all on my own. She is not a new midwife and is quite experienced. She thinks it is a good idea to get the ultrasound--besides I want it. She tried for a VERY long time and several times both with the doppler and the low-grade ultrasound machine and got NOTHING, so yes there is some concern, but she was calm and tried to reassure me as much as possible of every reason why we might not be seeing/hearing anything. I think on my first post I did mention that she thought I was fine and gave me a hug, but it was me who is worried that things are not fine. My concern is partly because my first baby's heartbeat was found on the Doppler at 8 weeks--easily! I thought that would be the case for me again, and I didn't know until others responded that my experience this time around is not quite as abnormal as I may have thought. I am still concerned, but I feel less alone now and it has really helped to read all your comments and know others have been in similar situations and their babies were just fine. Thanks so much. I will try to post tomorrow either way--hopefully with good news.
post #11 of 39
I hope it goes well
post #12 of 39
Something similar happened to me with my 3rd ... I was 14 weeks and the OB couldn't find the HB and she should have been able to (with my others it was earlier than that). She was very concerned and sent me for an U/S ... they found the hb right away and said my placenta was on the outside which makes it hard to hear with the doppler.
post #13 of 39
I have a tilted uterus as well. There was some confusion at the dating ultrasound early on because of it. I didn't even try to hear the heartbeat with a doppler until 15 weeks. Even then, the doctor had a really hard time finding it. It took quite a while, so she had me put my hands under my bum to help tilt my uterus up more. When she finally found it she said it was a strong, normal heartrate, but very quiet, as if it was far away. I'm 18+4weeks, and babe is doing just fine. Kicking as I type. Sometimes I think these early attempts to hear heart tones and date pregnancies just end up in a lot of unnecessary stress. Best of luck to you.
post #14 of 39
I'm so sorry for the worry you are enduring. I know that must be tough..I must say I'd never make a mama wait a whole day for verification. I'm sorry.

Like some of the other mama's here, I have a very tilted uterus. In fact, vaginal u/s can barely even detect a sac early on, so abdominal u/s works better for me early! I always have to educate techs, AND if I am not a "repeat customer" for a pap smear, let them know they have to stand to get my high and posterior cervix.

Anyway, in ALL 7 of my pregnancies, (lost one near end of 1st trimester) the hb is never detectable early...never. Couple the tilted uterus with the fact I usually have anterior placentas, and there you go.

With my 3rd, my OB had trouble finding it at 15 weeks! A quick in office scan revealed a very health, on track babe. My last pregnancy I was nearly 12 weeks and the same deal. This time, we didn't find it at 11, (was NOT worried-by this point, I expect nothing on doppler before 13 or more) had an u/s that showed baby clearly in 13th week, and then found the h/b with a doppler at my midwife appt at 14 weeks.

So, I'll keep you in my prayers...but mostly for the stress you've been caused. I'm sure everything is 100% fine!

Blessings!
post #15 of 39
I didn't hear my baby's heartbeat until 14 weeks because my placenta was right in front (anterior). With my first pregnancy, my Dr. didn't even check until I was 12 weeks and she said even then, the chances arre 50-50 of hearing it.

Hope your U/S goes well today and you can relax
post #16 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Symbi View Post
Thanks everyone for your responses. You have helped calm me enough that I think I may actually have a decent night's sleep tonight. It has really helped knowing that others have been in similar situations and that the tipped uterus and all could be contributing to this whole thing.
Oh, for the poster who is concerned about my midwife--she really did not try to scare me. I am concerned and worried all on my own. She is not a new midwife and is quite experienced. She thinks it is a good idea to get the ultrasound--besides I want it. She tried for a VERY long time and several times both with the doppler and the low-grade ultrasound machine and got NOTHING, so yes there is some concern, but she was calm and tried to reassure me as much as possible of every reason why we might not be seeing/hearing anything. I think on my first post I did mention that she thought I was fine and gave me a hug, but it was me who is worried that things are not fine. My concern is partly because my first baby's heartbeat was found on the Doppler at 8 weeks--easily! I thought that would be the case for me again, and I didn't know until others responded that my experience this time around is not quite as abnormal as I may have thought. I am still concerned, but I feel less alone now and it has really helped to read all your comments and know others have been in similar situations and their babies were just fine. Thanks so much. I will try to post tomorrow either way--hopefully with good news.
I just felt she might have put your mind at ease more if after a couple minutes of trying she just said, "well, you have a tipped uterus, so we can try in a few weeks again and will probably hear it then." Instead, from your initial post, it sounded like she searched and searched and searched with the doppler, and then did an ultrasound. That is just not at all what I would expect from an experienced midwife, because even if she didn't say anything about it, those actions would really alarm any pregnant woman. Anyway, good luck, and I'm sure everything is fine.
post #17 of 39
Thread Starter 

Update

Not good news. There is no baby. Just a small group of cells that may have never formed right. If it was a baby, it died at 7 weeks, although my uterus is continuing to grow and is the right size for 11 1/2 weeks along. The dr. called it a missed miscarriage. My body still thinks it's pregnant, which is why I have all the symptoms. I am scheduled for a d and c tomorrow. I just want this over with. Thanks, everyone, for your responses. Perhaps if my midwife seemed concerned, it was for a good reason. I would not have wanted to wait another four weeks to find out this same news at my next checkup. I had a feeling things weren't right at 9 weeks. It is very sad for us, but I am relieved to have found out sooner rather than later. Thanks again for everyone's care and concern. I really do appreciate it and feel less alone for having shared on this board.
post #18 of 39
So sorry Symbi
post #19 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Symbi View Post
The dr. called it a missed miscarriage. My body still thinks it's pregnant, which is why I have all the symptoms.
I am so sorry to hear this, I went through the same thing 8 years ago... finding out at 13 weeks that the past 7 weeks there was no baby in there, just what remained...

It is a tough thing to go through and do NOT let anyone tell you you were less pregnant than someone else just because your baby did not form further... I had people try telling me that and to this day I still do not speak to them. Its just not true.
post #20 of 39
I'm so, so sorry.

I didn't post earlier because that's what happened with my first and I didn't want to stress you further. Baby stopped forming at 7wks, we didn't find out until 14wks when I started miscarrying.

Take care of yourself.

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