As soon as I held that positive pregnancy test in my hot little hands, I scheduled an appointment with my doctor. I was excited, nervous, scared, and happy, all at once, and that first ultrasound was the culmination of those juxtaposing feelings. The problem? Well, it wasn't really the "normal" ultrasound I assumed I'd be having. Oh no, it was a transvaginal ultrasound. And believe me when I say there are more than a few things I wish I could've told my doctor during a transvaginal ultrasound, because it's not what I'd consider a "pleasant" experience.
A transvaginal ultrasound is exactly what it sounds like — an ultrasound performed using a lubricated probe that's inserted into your vagina and uses high-frequency sound waves to create a picture of an embryo (or whatever else is inside your uterus). It's often used to check for pelvic abnormalities, lower pelvic pain and/or bleeding, and cysts on the ovaries, but it's also used in the early weeks of gestation to confirm a pregnancy. At six weeks gestation, an embryo is only 5 - 9 mm long, so a transvaginal ultrasound is required to obtain a better image of the embryo and surrounding area, according to Advanced Women's Imaging.
When I walked into my doctor's office I had hoped I would've been far along enough to forego the transvaginal ultrasound entirely. Yeah, I wasn't. And since I've been required to sit through transvaginal ultrasounds before, especially when my polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) acts up, I knew what I was in for. So let's just say I had a few choice words for my doctor swirling around in my brain, and I sure as you-know-what wish I could've said them out loud.
"Can We Not?"
If there's absolutely any other exam or procedure we can do, short of waving a magic wand in front of my exposed vagina, can we just do that? Because, from where I'm laying — as the most vulnerable person in the room — I'm re-thinking this whole ultrasound thing.
There's a long list of things I'd rather do than sit through a vaginal ultrasound, so if there's anyway to bypass this part of the process... let's just do that.
"This Isn't A Game"
The jokes? Yeah, those aren't necessary. That odd look you're giving my partner, as if you're silently apologizing to him, not me?! What in the hell is that all about?
Be an adult about this situation, my dude. This isn't a game, this is a necessary medical procedure that I, apparently, can't talk myself out of. So get in, get out, and let's move on.
That's only fair, right? And since you're the medical professional I feel as though following your lead is the best way to proceed. So why not take one for team pregnancy and try this little ultrasound out for yourself, my newfound friend.
"I Hate You"
OK, so I didn't really hate my doctor, who was simply doing their job. After all, and since I had to tell myself the very same thing over and over again: the ultrasound was necessary. But in the moment, when I'm sitting there feeling uncomfortable and vulnerable and slightly embarrassed, I can't say the doctor was my favorite person in the world.
"So, Do You Want To Hear A Joke?'
OK, remember when I said I didn't want you to joke around? Well, this silence is getting uncomfortable, and I am feeling uncomfortable, and I'm sure a solid, well-timed "knock knock" joke would do us both wonders right now.
"Hurry The Hell Up, Dude!"
Look, it's not like I want you to be cavalier about the whole thing. By all means, take your time and make sure you're doing your job correctly. But do you really need to take a scenic tour around my womb? Is it necessary? Take the pictures, measure what you have to measure, then call it a day.
Of course, I know that even when a transvaginal ultrasound is annoying, it's necessary for a variety of reasons. Whether it's to detect the cysts that had overgrown on my right ovary, or hearing a fetal heartbeat for the very first time, they're not without merit. And, at the end of the day, they're nothing compared to the joy you feel when that pregnancy is confirmed and you realize your life is about to change... forever.