Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Maury Material

I can't recall whether or not I mentioned before that I'm an ultrasound tech and I'm too lazy to refer back to my prior lengthy posts to find out, but that is my bread and butter.  I've put in seven point five years as of about now and I must say it is definitely more interesting than I had originally thought it would be.  Going in I assumed it was all about babies.  Happy Mommies and scared Daddies watching an image of their love child being created from gel on a belly to black and white pixels on a screen.  He'd be holding her hand and they'd gaze into one anothers eyes searching for that tear of glory and joy that would gestate into a genetic compilation of his eyes, her smile and Grandpa Springer's nose.  Hearts would be floating above their heads.  Birds would chirp chirp in the background somewhere and  I would get to say "He has a really strong heartbeat". Then Ken and Barbie would take deep breaths in unison and slowly exhale in a cavalier manner.

I've experienced that twice maybe, sans the birds chirping. experiences with pregnancy ultrasounds are much more homely.  If there is a baby daddy (and I'm not one to judge, remember) he is usally texting or playing games on his phone looking up once at the screen to inquire if I can tell the gender yet.  The most common ultrasound I do is for the early pregnancy, say around six weeks so and if I can see it at all,  likely it's the size of a sesame seed and NO I can't yet tell you if it's the baby boy that you can finally, proudly wear.  More times than not there is a friend along who stands in for the BD or SO (significant other).  This usually represents an ambiguous situation in which the BM doesn't know who the BD is or maybe the BD doesn't believe he is the responsible party or maybe he just wasn't available for this particular emergency of cramping or spotting because he was out flaunting his meat.  Nonetheless, an ultrasound is completed. Often times with normal, healthy results.  Then the question I too often anticipate sheepishly emerges.  "So, can you tell me when I got pregnant?"  And guess what?  I can!  Well, roughly and within a four day window provided my measurements are truly as accurate as they can be.  I grab my LMP calculator wheel thingy and do my magic and deliver the estimated date of conception.  "Are you sure?"  Now that's not a fair question really.  Cause no, I'm not sure at all.  You are the one that had sex, afterall, not me.  If you want to sleep with 2 of 3 different men in a 4 day time frame of ovuation then you figure it out.  I can just provide the window.  "But I can't be because I had a period last month".  This is called an implantation bleed.  It likely was not a real period. Thus the entertainment begins and sometimes the questions persist.

How far along before I can get a DNA test?
What is the cutoff for having an abortion?
Is it possible I'm really not as far along as I'm measuring?

I remember this one time in particular where a white girl wheeled up to my office where I was doing her paperwork, all distraught over the spread in which the magic wheel claimed she conceived.  She wanted an exact date and I can't do that.  Ovulation starts around day fourteen and can last 4-5 days or more depending on ones cycle. And since I nor the wheel was there to experience your mittelshmerz (abdominal pain occurring between the menstrual periods and usually considered to be associated with ovulation) or your clear, jelly-like discharge also associated with ovulation, I can't help you anymore.  I'm sorry. You'll probably have to wait and get a DNA test after the baby is born.  "OH NO, I'll know once the baby comes out!" she says.  That's when I turn my head, bite my lip and cry silently.

I have even had the suspected baby Daddies follow me out of the room and basically corner me to ask when conception was.  It always throws the men off.  I will tell them they are 6 weeks and immediatly the man's own mental magic wheel starts turning.  " Uh uh that's not right.  We didn't have sex then..we'd broken up".  Then before I can explain how the dating system works, claws come out and voices shout and that's when I turn my head, bite my lip and cry silently.  Yes, I said you were six weeks but that counts the two weeks from the day you first got your period.  That means conception was around four weeks ago.  Confetti falls from the sky and I'm now the hero!  I love my job. 

Sometimes, albeit rare, I get to tell couples the gender because they are far enough along and can't wait to find out.  I have to confess I get anxious about having to tell them it's a girl.  Not because I don't trust my scanning, but because men get livid!  Not always, but most of the time.  And the BM gets upset as well because she knows the SO wants a boy, regardless if he has three somewhere already, he wants her boy now.  It's insane.  I've watched them walk out during the exam.  I've heard them argue in foreign languages, some of which I understood because I know the words for boy and girl.  I've seen expressions I don't care to remember.  Having had a baby girl I know that Daddies end up adoring their little ladies and I want to give them words of encouragement but don't.  I might tilt my head to the side and soften my eyes and smile as though to say "it's gonna be okay" but that's as far as I go.  Usually because I'm pissed as all hell and want to shoot the semen spreading megalomaniac.  Recently I had a girl come in alone, wreaking of that marijuana stuff, just wanting to know her baby was okay because she was being abused by the father.  They fight all the time, she informs me.  It wears me out this time.  I don't always want to know.  So I turn my head and bite my lip and cry silently.

1 comment:

  1. Wow.. I didnt know your job was that involved...I never thought people would ask such questions during an ultrasound, and such mixed ?'s ... wow.

    The things you learn. And I didnt know you could tell the date (within 4 days) probably cuz I never asked such questions when I was in the room having an ultrasound!

    It must be such a range of emotion with a variety of people. I dont think I could be as tactful as you are to some of them.