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#1 of 59 Old 11-15-2004, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have opened a thread here on mothering quite some time ago about my totally irrational but overwhelming feelings toward gyne exams and such.
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...ad.php?t=18920

I have seen2 highly recommened therapists since then, but I have not gonnen any better at all.

But now ... I just found out I am pregnant. I should be jumping up and down with joy, but I am not. My husband is much happier right now then I am.

My periods are extremely irregular and my last one was in July. I could be anywheer from 1 to 3 months pregnant. Of course, now I need an ultrasound to find out. The catch is, though, that I have not seen any mw or gyne for a number of years, I don't have naybody I am comfortable with. Now I have to go to somebody I have never seen before, get a pelvic and entire nine yards, then get an ulstrasound (possibly not by the same person) to figure out the dates. Yes, I know it is all for the baby, but NO - it is not making it one bit easier. I found out 2 days ago and I was just trying not to think about it, but today I started calling local docs and midwives and I just cannot do this. I am literally trembling, shaking and crying right now. And I am at work. I have no clue how I will be able to handle any of it. And I feel trapped, because I don't really have a choice (I might have a choice as far as a physical goes, but definitely not as far as ultrasound). What am I gonna do??? How will I get through this? And this, of course, is just the beginning.

Valeria
dd 05.17.2005
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#2 of 59 Old 11-15-2004, 04:00 PM
 
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I understand where you're coming from- I was terrified of gyn exams for years- the only thing that helped me was finding a female gyn who seemed nice and motherly- and taking me boyfriend with me to hold my hand. I have overcome my fears now. I would suggest finding a midwife in a small practice- they are generally much more concerned with talking to you and empathizing and I am 20 weeks along and have only had 1 internal exam- she just measures my belly and pushes on it and asks if I have had any problems- if not then no internal- and remember you can refuse any procedure you want such as a pap smear or anything. Midwives are really gentle as a whole too. Try to relax as much as possible- you will only have to get through one short exam and then no more until the very end. I would try hypnosis or trying different therapists too- and take lots of time everyday if you can to just relax and reassure yourself that you are strong and can get through things that challenge you- I am a psychology student and have found that in many cases- immersion therapy is the most effective in getting rid of phobias- once you have one exam- even if you are shaking and upset- it will get progressively better- IF you have a midwife/ OB who will talk you through it and go slow and gentle. And do have the father of the child be there with you or someone else who comforts you.

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#3 of 59 Old 11-15-2004, 04:01 PM
 
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Hey Val, I am copy/pasting this reply from the first board where you posted it, in case you did not see it. Another Momma posted there as well.
Aprilynne

Val-
Can you possibly find a MW who will let you skip the pelvic exam? Maybe even do it a few months down the road once the two of you have developed a trusting bond. Also, because due dates are just guesses anyways, there is no reason for them to give you a transvaginal ultrasound. An over the belly should be just fine. If that even bothers you, I have found that after the first trimester or so, most midwives can tell you within about a week or two when you are due based solely by feeling how big your uterus is from the outside. As long as you don't mind not having an exact date (like due dates are ever exact.) then you can go that route. If you are young, and not very concerned about you cancer risk at this time in you life, I really imagine you would be fine without a Pap smear, which I believe is the main point of getting a pelvic exam. The nice thing about pregnancy, in your case, is that it is nine months long. There are a lot of check-ups you can do that are not invasive at all, you can start with just blood pressure and urinalisis (sp?) and work up to tummy palpations and cervical check AFTER you have developed that bond with your midwife. My midwife is very strong in her belief that birth is very closely linked with how a woman feels about herself sexually and if I were as uncomfortable and nervous as you seem to be, she would bend over backwards to do what she could to make me comfortable with her and with myself and keep me that way all the way to the birth and beyond. I cannot imagine that she is different than many good midwives. You can find a way to get past this! You don't have to jump through all of the typical hoops. Perhaps you can make a list of what you feel you would be comfortable with and can take it to your midwife. Then she can give you a list of things that you can work on being comfortable with in the next 6-8 months. That way you have a goal to work on and don't have to be thrust in the midst of all of your fears right away. <hugs> I hope you can find a way to make this a loving and respectful process, not just for the baby, but also for yourself.
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#4 of 59 Old 11-15-2004, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveChild421
I understand where you're coming from- I was terrified of gyn exams for years- the only thing that helped me was finding a female gyn who seemed nice and motherly- and taking me boyfriend with me to hold my hand.
I used to go alone, butt hen I always took my husband with me since we got married. It didn't make a difference. ;( I seemed to become so centered on my own feelings nobody could really help me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveChild421
you will only have to get through one short exam and then no more until the very end.
for me it's not just the exams - I would not even want anybody but my husband to see me naked. I am afraid this will make me so stressed, I will not be able to have a normal labor.


Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveChild421
I am a psychology student and have found that in many cases- immersion therapy is the most effective in getting rid of phobias- once you have one exam- even if you are shaking and upset- it will get progressively better- IF you have a midwife/ OB who will talk you through it and go slow and gentle.
I can't say I have even been to someone I felt comfortable with. I used to always think that I will grow older and wiser or that I will just get used to getting them, but it never happened - it only got worse over time. It got so bad I have not seen anybody at all for 3 years now. I don't know what it would take for me to be able to do it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveChild421
And do have the father of the child be there with you or someone else who comforts you.
he always has, but that didn't make that much of a difference.

Valeria
dd 05.17.2005
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#5 of 59 Old 11-15-2004, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maprilynne
Can you possibly find a MW who will let you skip the pelvic exam? Maybe even do it a few months down the road once the two of you have developed a trusting bond.
don't know yet. I have to talk to more of them to find out. so far I have only managed to leave messages.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maprilynne
Also, because due dates are just guesses anyways, there is no reason for them to give you a transvaginal ultrasound. An over the belly should be just fine. If that even bothers you, I have found that after the first trimester or so, most midwives can tell you within about a week or two when you are due based solely by feeling how big your uterus is from the outside. As long as you don't mind not having an exact date (like due dates are ever exact.) then you can go that route.
I do need to have an pretty exact date. I have spoken to one of the local home birth midwives (she seems very nice, but will not travel as far as I live) and even she said that even though she usually does not recommend ultrasounds it could be very helpful in my case. as far as I know, by law they are required to turn me into a hospital if I am under 37 or over 42 weeks, so having good dates would be quite crucial to me having a successful home birth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maprilynne
If you are young, and not very concerned about you cancer risk at this time in you life, I really imagine you would be fine without a Pap smear, which I believe is the main point of getting a pelvic exam.
I will see if I can get out of it to begin with.

we don't have a huge choice of midwives here. and I seem to live quite far from most of them, so finding one who will be willing to travel to my home is gonna be tricky. only 1 of the local midwives seems to do ultrasound herself, but she is about an an hour and a half away. May be I will try to see her for at least an ultrasound and then take it from there. I have called 2 doctor-based home birth practices and they all said that I would have to get an exam first to confirm my pregnancy (wouldn't a pee in a cup be enough???) and only then they will schedule an ultrasound. But I want an ultrasound as soon as as I can get it because the further along I am the more chance of the dates being off, which is really not good in my case.

Valeria
dd 05.17.2005
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#6 of 59 Old 11-15-2004, 06:49 PM
 
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Have you looked into hypnotherapy to help you explore the roots of your feelings and to teach you relaxation/coping techniques? I think www.hypnobabies.com might be a great birthing program for you, but I think a hypnotherapist - one with experience in bodily fears/traumas - might be very beneficial.

I also think reading the book Birthing From Within might be very helpful for you. You could use some of the techniques in there - artwork, journalling - to explore some of your feelings.

Reading through your other thread, what about getting back in touch with the midwife who was friendly and helpful?

I hope you can find the help you need to get yourself unstuck. It sounds like you have powerful motivations to have a homebirth, but to get there you're going to need to jump through a couple of hoops that are scary for you. On the other hand, if you can get yourself onto the homebirth track with a midwife you trust, you can avoid a lot of the stuff you don't want, like routine vaginal exams, etc. that a regular OB/hospital birth might entail.

Congratulations on your pregnancy!

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#7 of 59 Old 11-15-2004, 07:02 PM
 
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One thing a lot of people forget at the doctor's office is that they are the patient and therefore the person who this is all happening to. If you do not want some kind of exam, just say "no" and don't worry too much about what the doctor/mid-wife thinks. If you refuse too many exams, the provider may worry about a good doctor/patient relationship, but your being comfortable should be important, too.

It is possible to do a belly u/s by just shifting some clothing. At some point, some more physical exams may be necessary, but you do have time to prepare. And starting early will give you an opportunity to build a relationship with your health care provider of choice.
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#8 of 59 Old 11-15-2004, 07:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quirky
Reading through your other thread, what about getting back in touch with the midwife who was friendly and helpful?
She was the first one I called this morning, but she lives too far and will not take me a s homebirth client. ;(

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quirky
It sounds like you have powerful motivations to have a homebirth, but to get there you're going to need to jump through a couple of hoops that are scary for you. On the other hand, if you can get yourself onto the homebirth track with a midwife you trust, you can avoid a lot of the stuff you don't want, like routine vaginal exams, etc. that a regular OB/hospital birth might entail.
exactly. having the same person I have spent my entire pregnancy to get comfortable with is a huge factor for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quirky
Congratulations on your pregnancy!
Thanks so much. Right now I feel so down about this stuff, that I don't even feel happy about being pg and that is scary to me.

Valeria
dd 05.17.2005
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#9 of 59 Old 11-15-2004, 07:08 PM
 
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Just FYI.....you *do* have a choice.
www.unassistedchildbirth.com
Also look into the cbirth yahoo group.
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#10 of 59 Old 11-15-2004, 07:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just FYI.....you *do* have a choice.
www.unassistedchildbirth.com
Also look into the cbirth yahoo group.
I don't feel comfortable enough to go unassisted and my husband will never agree to it either.

Valeria
dd 05.17.2005
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#11 of 59 Old 11-15-2004, 07:47 PM
 
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I don't feel comfortable enough to go unassisted and my husband will never agree to it either.
I felt the same way until I seriously looked into it and asked a ton of questions - it was a last-resort kind of thing at the time. We're now planning our second UC.
It *is* a choice, just like the other options presented. Only you can say which one will be the right one for you......but if you aren't comfortable with routine prenatal care options, and you aren't comfortable with no outside prenatal care, where does that leave you?
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#12 of 59 Old 11-15-2004, 08:19 PM
 
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Have you ever considered purchasing a speculum and trying it at home? Inserting the speculum is not hard. If you needed an examination, you could insert the speculum yourself. On that same thought, in a transvaginal exam with ultrasound, you usually insert the probe yourself, and you could certainly insist on it. Would these modifications put you more at ease?
You can guess a due date pretty acurately without a LMP or an ultrasound.
If you are very early, a blood test for HcG will tell you your dates.
If you are further along, when you can hear the heart with doppler is useful.
If you are even futher, the heart can be heard with the fetoscope.
If you are quite pregnant, the height of the fundus (how far the uterus is out of the pelvis) is another good dating measure.
It's not like you are really unsure. You are either 1, 2, or 3 months pregnant.
Each of those stages has distinct signs.
Personally, I think it would be easier to get what you need if you worked through some of your fears. (how's that for saying something stupid) But it's not impossible, and it's your provider's problem, not yours. If you've done what you can, you've done what you can and it's up to them to work with you. If they need a date, they'll have to find a way.

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#13 of 59 Old 11-16-2004, 03:17 AM
 
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I would suggest really talking to care providers before you go to one. things you can look at and do for yourself and help to narrow down when you are due-- like talk it over with DH and really figure out when you might have gotten pregnant, try to narrow down your dates. When exactly was the last period you can recall and when was the one before that? have you felt the baby move? mark that date on the calendar. when did you have a positive pregnancy test if you did one? while lying flat on your back move your hands down your belly till they touch something hard you are feeling for the fundus of your uterus and it should feel smooth and rounded and fairly firm. is it above your belly button or below, how far above your pubic bone? Usually 20 weeks pregnant is at the belly button
An ultrasound might be what your care provider recommends, the thing is that very early ultrasounds up to 10 weeks are fairly accurate usually no more than 3 days off. Later ultrasounds get more and more inaccurate later ones can be as far off as 4 weeks.
So can you have your blood pressure taken? can you do urine tests on yourself? how about blood tests? Is it just internal exams or getting naked or just a complete stranger invading you space? are there ways to mitigate the effects like keeping your clothes on, what about if you measure your own belly? i am just wondering how you can figure out how to help yourself and still feel safe.
I would highly recommend trying to get a homebirth midwife, because homebirth is a far more private experience and it is your home so you can have more say more power.
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#14 of 59 Old 11-16-2004, 03:44 AM
 
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My MW never ever checked me until I asked her to when I was dilated to a 7 and in labor. Never once during the pregnancy, not even at my first exam.

I don't have any advice for you during labor, but I will pray that you can find a MW that will respect your wishes and fears.
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#15 of 59 Old 11-16-2004, 04:03 AM
 
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This must be very hard to deal with. I was thinking though that if your last period was in July you might actually be 4 months pg (calendar months or almost 5 lunar months). My last period was also in July and I'm 19 weeks. It seems like you've gotten some great suggestions here. I hope something will work for you. Good luck.
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#16 of 59 Old 11-16-2004, 04:44 AM
 
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I feel the same as you do and avoid pelvics like the plague.

What you should know though, is that you do not need to have a pelvic exam during your pregnancy. Honestly, I don't think you need one at all, even during labour. Also, about the dates issue...Having two ultrasounds done during your second trimester allows your provider to date your pregnancy close enough. You have to have two though, because of legal reasons, one in the beginning of 2nd tri. and the other towards the end.

I had to deal with similar dating issues and did not know this at the time, but did a lot of research after being forced to induce for not having had that 2nd ultrasound to back up my intuition that my dates were wrong.


Having said all that, and currently researching Unassisted Childbirth myself, I really think you should look into doing this on your own.

I also want to second buying your own speculum and looking at your cervix/mucous/insides. I did this when I was in my late teens and really developed a more comfortable relationship with my body.

I hope you find some solution and peace to this.

-Bianca

Mother to one wild and crazy boy 12/29/2002.
Midwife, Homeschool Educator and Crafter.
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#17 of 59 Old 11-16-2004, 11:02 AM
 
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The reasons for a pelvic exam-- doesn't have to be in the first visit and maybe not the second. When a woman is pregnant then most likely she as had unprotected sex. There are several critters that should be ruled out if you have had unprotected sex , there are also critters that can be around that aren't true STDs but can cause pre-term labor or other complications. A pap smear does not look for critters it is a screening exam for abnormal cell changes of the endometrium and cervix. So having had a pap in the recent past is not enough, unless they also did STD testing and tested for yeast, BV and mycoplasma.
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#18 of 59 Old 11-16-2004, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mehndi mama
......but if you aren't comfortable with routine prenatal care options, and you aren't comfortable with no outside prenatal care, where does that leave you?
*lolin' & not lolin' at the same time* see the subject line.
I have never had a doc or a midwife I was really comfortable with. Now I am back to hoping I can find someone like that and may be that will be the first step to being helped.

Valeria
dd 05.17.2005
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#19 of 59 Old 11-16-2004, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Apricot, thanks for suggestions. I will probably refuse the exams no matter what at this stage and may be your suggestion on an ultrasound would help me out.

Valeria
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#20 of 59 Old 11-16-2004, 12:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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mwherbs, thanks so much! great thoughts. I know that the further along I am, the more inaccurate an ultrasound would be that's why I feel strongly that I need to get one ASAP. I am planning to homebirth. as you said, it is much more private and for me privacy will be crusial. but as far as I know the laws of teh state of IL, you cannot have a homebirth is you are under 37 or over 42 weeks. so I feel that getting my dates correct is very important to my homebirth plans.

I will keep looking for a mw I can connect with, but we don't have that many around here, so my choices are somewhat limited. but that process could also be long and because I feel I need an ultrasound ... you get the idea, right? would a vaginal one really be more accurate or can I get an abdominal ultrasound without sacrificing the degree of acuracy?

Valeria
dd 05.17.2005
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#21 of 59 Old 11-16-2004, 12:47 PM
 
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You *can* refuse internal vaginal exams. It's your body. You *can* refuse the ultrasound, too. How important is it to you to know how far along you are? Do you have any idea when you ovulated, or when your last menstrual cycle started? A pap is much more likely to come back with a false abnormal results during and immediately following pregnancy, and many doctors don't do them until at least six months post partum for that very reason, so I suggest you refuse that regardless!
(((HUGS)))) I know how it is to have "issues" with doctors. But I managed to find care providers that I trust, somehow. I think I just got lucky. Keep looking, you will find the right one for you. Maybe call some doulas, and in the process of interviewing them, ask if they know of any doctors or midwives who are more supportive of your wishes and needs.
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#22 of 59 Old 11-16-2004, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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wasabi, at 19 weeks my tummy would most likely have grown and I might even be feeling movements. I am not feeling anything like that, though. Just some tight feeling sometimes. Probably like the muscles stratching a bit. But the feeling is very gentle - not really uncomfortable at all. and I still fit all my pants. so I can't be that far along yet.

Valeria
dd 05.17.2005
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#23 of 59 Old 11-16-2004, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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bionicsquirrel, some really interesting info about the ultrasounds! thanks! I guess the catch would be to figure out when my second trimester starts.

Valeria
dd 05.17.2005
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#24 of 59 Old 11-16-2004, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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mwherbs, I have been in a monogamos relationship for 6 yeras and I have more then a 100% trust in my husband, so I don't have any reason to believe I have any STDs at all. Besides, if it is just a swab, can I do it myself?

Valeria
dd 05.17.2005
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#25 of 59 Old 11-16-2004, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stafl
You *can* refuse the ultrasound, too. How important is it to you to know how far along you are?
I feel it is really important for me, because I want to have a homebirth and by our state laws you can only deliver at home if you are 37-42 weeks. so having my dates off could through my plans for teh most private birth I can get off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stafl
Do you have any idea when you ovulated, or when your last menstrual cycle started?
I really have no clue. My periods have been irregular fr about 3 years. I could have them one in 3-6 months. So my last one was in the middle of July. I also have not been taking my temperatures, so I have no clue when I could have ovulated.

I will be refusing a PAP and an internal. For sure. Nobody can make me have it. I just hope I can find somebody I can trust and may be, just may be, some of my issues will go away. Thanks for support!

Valeria
dd 05.17.2005
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#26 of 59 Old 11-16-2004, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wanted to get a separate post in here to thank everybody for the support and suggestions.

I have really done my best to calm down today. I have not had even 1 positive thought about my pregnancy and the baby yesterday and this is not how I want tit to be. So this morning I started by saying to the baby that love it and want it. That got me on a good start for the day.

Valeria
dd 05.17.2005
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#27 of 59 Old 11-16-2004, 01:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by valeria_vi
wasabi, at 19 weeks my tummy would most likely have grown and I might even be feeling movements. I am not feeling anything like that, though. Just some tight feeling sometimes. Probably like the muscles stratching a bit. But the feeling is very gentle - not really uncomfortable at all. and I still fit all my pants. so I can't be that far along yet.
Actually I could still wear regular pants and wasn't feeling movements with my first at 19 weeks. If this is your first baby then it would not be uncommon to not be feeling movements. As for whether or not you should not be fitting in regular clothes that just depends on so much like are you carrying in your back, how tall are you, what your weight was like beforehand, what kind of clothes do you usually wear etc. Just a few months ago a friend of mine who had irregular periods broke down and took a pg test. She really had no idea how pg she might be but she had a range. The u/s showed her to be the most pg that was possible based on her LMP. I don't remember the exact week but I do know she was more than halfway through her pg before she knew. You might only be 3 months but if your last period was July I'm just saying you might consider that you became pg immediately afterwards.

I'm glad you're feeling so much better today.
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#28 of 59 Old 11-16-2004, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by wasabi
Actually I could still wear regular pants and wasn't feeling movements with my first at 19 weeks. If this is your first baby then it would not be uncommon to not be feeling movements.
see, then this confirms that trying to get a due date by when you first felt your baby move (add 22 weeks to that date) is qyute inacurate.

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Originally Posted by wasabi
As for whether or not you should not be fitting in regular clothes that just depends on so much like are you carrying in your back, how tall are you, what your weight was like beforehand, what kind of clothes do you usually wear etc.
I am about 5 feet 1 and have a really small frame. I weigh about 105 - 110lbs. and I mostly like clothes that fit my body tightly (but have stretch to them).

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I'm glad you're feeling so much better today.
thanks! I can't let myself be histerical. Not me for the baby and not for me either. And I am trying my best to stay on top of this.

Valeria
dd 05.17.2005
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#29 of 59 Old 11-16-2004, 02:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by valeria_vi
see, then this confirms that trying to get a due date by when you first felt your baby move (add 22 weeks to that date) is qyute inacurate.
I am about 5 feet 1 and have a really small frame. I weigh about 105 - 110lbs. and I mostly like clothes that fit my body tightly (but have stretch to them).
thanks! I can't let myself be histerical. Not me for the baby and not for me either. And I am trying my best to stay on top of this.
I actually very much agree with you. With both #3 and this pg I was feeling movement by 13 weeks. If I didn't know when I became pg that might lead me to believe I was further along than I am. Well you'll know soon enough around when you got pg so that will help clear up this confusion. I will say that I would try very hard to get midwives who are open about the fact that your EDD is very much going to be an estimate. I understand the need for a u/s but considering how far along you may be you might well be past the optimal time for dating a pg via u/s. You don't want them trying to induce you on your EDD when it could be off by several weeks. You did ask if a vaginal u/s would be more accurate and honestly it depends on how far along you are. If you're only 1 month they're almost definitely going to have to do a vaginal u/s to be able to see anything. If you are farther along then an abodominal u/s will do the job. I'm having my one u/s on Thursday at 19 weeks and I believe I don't have a transvaginal component at all. If so it would definitely be brief just to verify my cervix is still long and thick.

You're absolutely right you can't be hysterical. Getting into a positive mindset is going to be very important for you and your baby especially since you're wanting to have a homebirth.
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#30 of 59 Old 11-16-2004, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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yes, when I start interviweing the midwives, I'll see what they say about my edd. I have called a couple of hospital-based midwife practices and asked the receptionist about what a first prenatal visit involves. they did say "exam" among other things, but weren't stressing it as much as the other places I have called. so nay be it would be easier for me to refuse if I go there. but none of the do ultrasounds. they have to refer me to a hospital for that, so it seems no matter what - I would have no clue who I would get to do my ultrasound if in a case of transvaginal it couls throw me in for a loop. I got a thought on the ultrasound issue as I was reading your last reply - may be I should ask for an abdominal one and we'll see if we can get a good picture. if not - then I'll have to resort to transvaginal. at least this way I'd know there was no other option as far as the ultrasound goes.

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dd 05.17.2005
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