There are so many things you are told not to do in pregnancy. What not to eat, what not to drink, how not to exercise. Nowhere, however, have I seen what I think is one of the most important no-no’s listed:
Do not Google While Pregnant. Ever.
This sounds like a perfectly obvious statement. In fact, I have absolutely no trouble counseling others against the use of Google to research medical conditions. Rationally, I know that it is just a recipe for unneeded worry and concern. There is a direct correlation between the severity of the potential illness and the terrible stories and scary information Dr. Google spits up. You can easily diagnose yourself with any number of exotic disorders within 15 minutes.
But, to be frank, I suck at taking my own advice. So, when we scheduled our nuchal translucency test, I of course turned to Dr. Google for information. I had no idea what the hell the test was and I wanted to be as prepared as possible for the actual test so that I knew what was going on. In hindsight, I should have stuck with the nice, fluffy discussions on the non-technical pregnancy websites and left it at that. But, I was driven to find out As Much Information As Possible, including what happens when there is a bad result. Forewarned is forearmed, right?
Normally, GWP would be considered ill-advised, but not necessarily off limits. For me there is one little detail which makes it truly dangerous: I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (“OCD”) which means that when I have an obsessive thought , I have to compulsively Google to find information that allows me to be reassured and thus get rid of the thought. Of course, Dr. Google doesn’t always cooperate and provide me with non-technical, credible yet reassuring information, which then heightens my anxiety and the loop starts all over again. Ultimately, the only thing that can quell my anxiety is to see the little bugger in a scan or get other reassuring test results.
Since the nuchal test is seeking to find out the chances of the fetus having some pretty significant chromosomal problems, I was fit to be tied by the time I had exhausted Dr. Google. I had a lot of obsessive thoughts about the potential outcomes of the test and my compulsive Googling was getting me no reassuring answers. What was worse was that I had to wait until 4:30pm on Thursday to find anything out. Needless to say, Thursday was a long day.
We had to go a maternal fetal medicine specialist for the actual test since they had the more sensitive equipment than my OB. What our OB’s office lacked in baby stuff, this office more than made up for. Gliders in the waiting room, pictures of babies everywhere, large pregnant women everywhere. It would have been total sensory overload for me anyway, but as an infertile, I had to fight to urge to apologize to the receptionist for being an impostor (“I’m actually infertile, I just happen to be passing through”) and avert my gaze from the giant bellies around me. So, I was too busy taking in this new experience to dwell on why I was there. We were called back and in no time, I was on the table getting warm gel slathered over my lower abdomen.
And, yes, there was little bugger. Looking a lot less like a shrimp and more like a …. baby? Mr. X and I both must have uttered the word ‘surreal’ multiple times. Being the last ultrasound appointment for the day meant that the technician was looking forward to having a compliant fetus who would get into the position she wanted with minimal fuss. Ours was not that fetus. It was taking its sweet time, doing a little thumb sucking, doing a little wiggling, teasing her by almost getting into position and then saying, no, sorry, not comfy. All the while, the tech is smacking her gum which is one of my greater pet peeves in this world. So it was, tap, tap on the computer screen, smack, smack with the gum. She finally got the little bugger in the position that she wanted and zoomed in for the measurements. Mr. X and I were watching the gigantic flat screen tv that was projecting the images and getting mildly freaked out by how large everything (including the nuchal fold) seemed. One thing that didn’t freak us out was that the baby was still measuring on target with a heartbeat of 162.
She didn’t give us any information about the scan, but also didn’t appear to be overly concerned, especially if her gum smacking was a sign. She wiped me down and headed out, while we were left waiting in the room for the doctor. The doc came in and we had a rather long discussion about my previous history of miscarriage. When I informed him that both of our miscarriages were monosomies, he looked at me as if I had just spoken in Russian. He had never heard of anyone who actually had back-to-back monosomies. What can I say? I’m a medical anomaly. Finally, we got around to the measurements. Based upon the baby’s age as dated by the scan (13w1d – which was right on target as I was 13w1d on Thursday), the nuchal fold measurement of 2.2 was above the median but still well within the normal range. We were blessedly nicely below the Red Line of Doom. Of course, that is not the whole picture, which we will only get with the results of the blood test, but it was enough to allow me to breathe.
Needless to say, I did my GWP thing when I got home. But, it was all of 30 seconds and I was nicely reassured. I will need GWP rehab, I think.