Sunday, 19 February 2012

Wait, I Thought This Was Supposed To Reduce Our Stress?

I thought I had the perfect solution for some of our pregnancy anxiety. Boy was I wrong!!

Last week I wrote this post about our decision to get a home Doppler so we can listen to Frostina's heartbeat when we're feeling anxious. Having lost one baby in utero, our fear of this happening again is probably a million times higher than it should be. We both figured that once this little machine came then we could at least calm our fears a bit.

It arrived mid week and The Hubby enthusiastically ripped it out of the box and got things in working order. We knew it may be difficult for us to find her heartbeat at first since neither of us knew what we were doing. So I lowered my jeans and squirted the gel on my belly. Within about a minute we could both hear that wonderful sound not unlike a galloping horse,,, it was Frostina's little heartbeat. We both smiled and hugged and were happy.

Saturday morning arrived and The Hubby said that maybe we should listen again since we hadn't heard Frostina in a few days. We were getting ready to go out for the day so I said we could do it after I'd had my shower.

Now I should mention that I've been feeling a lot more movement lately. Frostina had a particularly active session late Friday night and I had even felt her squirming around early Saturday morning. So we weren't going to listen because we were worried, just because it seemed like a fun thing to do. Call it parental bonding if you like.

So I get out of the shower and we get everything ready to listen. We squirt the gel and turn on the Doppler. I move it around, and around, and around. Nothing.

The hubby assumes I'm doing it wrong and takes over. He tries, and tries, and tries. Nothing

I start to panic. I think he does too. Neither of us wants to admit it though. So we keep trying, and we start to argue about how to do it, or where to put the wand, or if we need more gel or not.

Now logically we know that we're probably just doing it wrong. After all, this is only the second time we've tried this machine. We have heard and read all the warnings about how it can be hard to find the heartbeat on your own. We know that professionals go to actual training to do this. We know that this exact scenario is why the professionals don't recommend using a doppler at home, because it can cause unnecessary fear. But knowing this in our logical minds does not help calm the rising panic we are both feeling.

I remind The Hubby that I've been feeling her move all last night and this morning. We try some more and have mixed results. We do hear a few fleeting beats every now and then, but can't get anything consistent. We take a break to get dressed and in that time I continue to feel Frostina kicking and rolling around. I try to assure The Hubby of this but I'm not sure if he believes me or not. Not that he thinks I'm lying,,,, but we both know that I'm not the best judge of these things.

We try one more time and get the same mixed results. I finally tell him that we need to stop and try again later. That I know she's fine because I can feel her moving. That she's still tiny and is probably just in a spot where we can't hear her. He agrees and then we both sit in silence for a while. The fear in the room is palpable yet neither of us say anything. He finally agrees to get on with our day and says he trusts me to tell him if I think we need to go to the hospital. Which I don't think is necessary because I know she's fine.

We get through the day and focus on other things. I continue to feel Frostina all day and let The Hubby know each time it happens. We get home in the evening and I figure all is fine. Then he asks if I'm ok. Which is Hubby code for "I'm not ok." So I ask him if he wants me to check again. He says I can if I want to which is Hubby code for "Please will you?"

So I lay on the couch and squirt a bunch of gel on my belly. Within seconds I hear that wonderful sound not unlike a galloping horse,,, it was Frostina's little heartbeat. I didn't get it for long before she shifted position and it was gone again. But it was there long enough for both of us to feel a huge sigh of relief. 

I continue to feel her moving around today. It's almost like she knows we were worried about her yesterday and she's trying to make her presence known. She's saying, "Don't believe I'm ok,,,, here's a kick for you. Didn't feel that one enough, here's another, and another." I didn't try the doppler today because I figure if I can feel her this well there's no sense repeating yesterday's drama.

The Hubby is no longer a fan of the Doppler. His actual words were a profanity laced rant but I'll try and clean it up to make them suitable for publication. He said that if this stupid machine was going to be so flipping hard to use then it wasn't worth the money we paid for it. He said that it was supposed to bring us peace, not stress. I reminded him that this was one of the reasons I hesitated in buying one in the first place.

Will we be throwing the Doppler away?? Probably not. We do appreciate the fact that it can be a useful tool when used properly. We know that we are just figuring things out and it will take practice and experience to get good at it. We know this, but that knowledge doesn't help when blind panic takes over.

Will we try using it again?? Probably, but not until she's a bit bigger and there aren't so many places in my belly where she can hide from the machine.

Will we use it "just for fun" again. No F'ing way!


  1. Ugh, I'm glad you found her heartbeat, even things in felt her Moving, I didn't pick up a Doppler in the end bc I just know I'd sit there with the gel in all day. :)

  2. Oh I feel for you.. I have used mine for a number of years.. the best advice I can offer is the following:
    1- Always use it while lying down (lots of people think they can use them standing- it just doesn't work as well that way.
    2- Keep the probe low- Below your belly button. Begin in the middle of your stomach and very slow tilt the wand left, then right- you actually don't have to move it much- it's more of an 'in place tilt'. Move the wand an inch or so and do the same thing if you still have trouble locating the HB.
    3- If you lie on on side before you use the doppler (causing her to shift to that side) and then lie back and use the doppler you may find it easier to locate her HB.
    Good luck mamma...

  3. Gads, exactly why they say not to try to use one, but how can we resist? I know that my hubby and I will definitely be buying one when we conceive again, despite all the warnings (and the number of BLMs I know who had scares just like yours).

  4. Feels like you just wrote my story out today. We bought the doppler and it has been no help. Just me spending lots of time listening to static and thumps. If it wasn't for baby kicks, I would be at the hospital everyday.

    So I have also decided we will put it away for a little while. Time and further growth then we can use the doppler as a nonstress tool.

  5. Don't give up on the doppler! I have no medical experience and my hubby is a neonatal dr and I have been using this since 11 weeks. Hubby is horrible at finding it (and he is the dr) and I can find it almost every time. Sometimes it takes a few seconds, sometimes several just have to be patient. I bought a more expensive one ($150) because I heard some of the cheaper ones could be harder to use....and it has been worth every penny to keep my sanity!

  6. My husband used to keep the doppler in his car so I wouldn't use it without him (and have a freakout session). I found the doppler to scare me a ton at first when I wasn't as far along, but it also managed to wake Benjamin up! I would put the speaker close to my belly and he'd inadvertently kick the thing or start moving. I could often hear the movement before the heartbeat. And still, I'd much rather feel movement than hear it on a doppler.

    They're wacky, those things. Nothing will really make you more sane, I've realized, but it might save you a trip to L&D on an occasion or two (or ten). Not justifying the purchase, but that's what it's meant for us. Now at nearly term, we don't use it anymore.

  7. What a stressful day... must have been musical to hear her heartbeat after all that concern :) xoxo

  8. Yeah, um, I probably should have warned you more about situations just like this. I found until about 22 weeks or so (for me) it was hard to find all the time. In both post-loss pregnancies. I got better at it the second time around, but the bloody thing did give us a fair few freak outs. I still think it saved our sanity more than it freaked us out though, so I'm still glad I had it and I still recommend them to other loss mums, if they think that's what they want.
    Hang in there.

  9. I would never buy one of those things. Both times I've been pregnant, the professionals have had a hard time picking up a heartbeat. For some reason my skin makes the sound filled with static (I was told in a very huffy fashion by one nurse that if I put lotions on my belly to prevent stretch marks that it would interfere with hearing the heartbeat, which I didn't do!). Every single time the nurses had to turn to a portable US to pick up the heartbeat. That was scary enough w/o trying it at home!

    If I were you, I would just not use it right after taking a shower. Your skin was probably all shiny shiny or something.

  10. I'm totally going to have to learn a lesson from this post. This is one of several posts I've read of frustration with the dopplers and though I have to admit I was thinking it was a great way of easing stress and bringing peace, with all the posts I've read recently it seems to do just the opposite. Glad to hear she is doing well and you guys are at peace.

  11. Ohhh my gosh how aweful to be so stressed like that. The package should come with a warning that it may cause more stress then it realives! I am glad she was moving and make her little presence known for your guys! :) Congrats!! I am stopping over on the hop from KdBuggie and am having a hop of my own too if you feel like doing two. Have a wonderful week!!

  12. I have to confess I've totally been second guessing my decision not to get a Doppler, but I KNOW my husband and I would find ourselves exactly where you guys are. I do feel the Deuce moving often, which is helpful, but then if I *don't* feel movement, I get nervous, even though I know that it's still really early for consistent kicks! I wish there were a foolproof sanity plan. I hope Frostina keeps kicking you frequently!

  13. I feel you...the Doppler is like a love-hate relationship - you either get reassurance or get stressed out using it. Can we live without it? I doubt it. I remember my OB reminded me that using the Doppler should just be for entertainment only, I wanted to give her a sarcastic laugh. For us, BLMs, it's not about entertainment, it's about peace of mind and knowing our babies' hearts are still beating. I hope Frostina keeps moving and growing to offset the Doppler's sometimes-stress-inducing performance.

  14. Oh I'm so sad for you. Stress is NOT fair. I think that when she's bigger, when you get to that point when the baby DOES start to slow down, just because there is less room in there, THAT's when it's going to bring you peace of mind rather than stress. Because by then, there's going to be noplace left to hide. Hang tight.

  15. Oh no! I'm sorry that the doppler ended up being stressful for you :( But like you said, your little one could have been hiding out in a spot that made it hard to hear. Don't give up hope though! It shouldn't be as stressful when Frostina is bigger.

  16. Your story is heartbreaking. Every baby loss story is. But I find it so hard when I read that the babies lived then passed away. I remember us laughing and being happy on the day of our last ultrasound too. I remember the look on the OB tech's face. I remember the look on my husband's face. I just want to give you a big hug. We lost our daughter Leia Sky at 35 weeks. I hated my dobler and will NOT use it again. Hate isn't a word I use lightly either. It was super stressful! Beautiful name btw! We are trying again and pray that when we have another daughter her middle name can be Leia. I really like your blog been reading for a while. Just thought I'd finally speak up. Please feel free visit mine

  17. this is a horrible story! Oh my word. Save the doppler for something easier, like making sure you still have arterial flow in your foot once it gets really swollen in a few months. :-)