How to deal with empty scans?
“There are certain truths and experiences that have seized and shaped me, and it is this firm ground that speaks to me of what is authentic, and to which I can return … at every stage of this unpredictable human journey” — Kate Gross, Late Fragments
Over the course of my infertility journey, I’ve done over 60 vaginal ultrasounds. Richard likes to joke that everyone has seen my private parts, from Muslim Indian women to African young doctors to experienced French specialists. When he accompanied me to a few of them, it always felt odd for him to see me get naked in front of someone else (especially in France, in Kenya they give you a sheet to cover yourself a bit with). I was first really terrified of the idea, but barely notice it anymore.
What I hate however — besides the hundred of hours lost wasted in various waiting rooms — , is the suspense after the doctor has put in his penis-looking tool and before he says anything. 2 or 3 minutes of staring at the cracks in the ceiling. You are waiting to know if your follicles have developed well (how many?) if they’ve grown to the right size (what size? 8 mm? 12? 20?) and these are things that are not obvious to the lay eye.
Doctors often think you are interested, and regularly ask me to look at their little screen so I can see the inside of my uterus. I refuse. I find it too depressing. I think to myself I’ll take a look when there is finally something to see — a baby.
If you too are subjected to ultrasound overload, it can be helpful to learn about the basics of meditation. I downloaded the Headspace app (the free parts) and learned to focus on my breathing. I’d try to spend the time laying down on the doctor’s bed doing just that, or else praying in my head for good results.
If the results are not what you were hoping for (e.g. less follicles), strive to keep a positive attitude — you only need one for conception to happen, after all. Cry it out if needed but try to find other reasons to be grateful (some tips here), no matter how hard it is.
“Strive to be uncynical, to be a hope-giving force, to be a steward of substance. Choose to lift people up, not to lower them down — because it is a choice, always, and because in doing so you lift yourself up” -Maria Popova, author of Brain Pickings