Don’t believe the queers

Today, we had an ultrasound.

In Manitoba, the first ultrasound is normally booked for around 20 weeks, but we were booked for a dating ultrasound by our midwife. Dating ultrasounds normally happen between 12-15 weeks, but for whatever reason, we did not get a call until yesterday afternoon to book us in for first thing this morning.

As expected, we are 17 weeks.

Why did we need a dating ultrasound? We didn’t.

We were booked for an ultrasound by our midwife who was, apparently, unable to accurately calculate our date because we miscarried right before getting pregnant. Since the medical system counts from the first day of your last period, it wasn’t clear to our midwife when we would be due to give birth.

However, queer-trying is very specific. We knew exactly when we got pregnant because we inseminated one time. There is no other possibility.

While midwives are meant to be patient-centred, and empower folks to lead in their pregnancy and birthing experience, the fact that we are the first queer couple to work with our local midwives has presented challenges to our care. For many people, an early ultrasound might be seen as a bonus. It is an opportunity to get a clear image of the fetus, and to hear from a technician that everything is going well. For us, it was a bit of a bonus. We got to see the little in action! However, it was also a reminder that our pregnancy is “not normal,” and midwives and obstetrician don’t seem to know what to do with us.

In the examination, the technician remarked, “well, this is a good sized baby,” to which I replied, “that is because we are 17 weeks.” She asked me about the date of my last period, and when I had a positive pregnancy test. I told her the date of our insemination, and she asked if we got pregnant via IVF. When I told her that we had inseminated with donor sperm at home, she became quiet for a long time, and then later confirmed that we were 17 weeks pregnant. It took all of my willpower not to say “told ya so!”

Now that we are home and the excitement of seeing our little has worn off a tad, I am thinking a lot about this dating experience. What if our midwife had analyzed my very detailed fertility charting? What if she counted from the date of insemination?  What if, instead of spinning a pregnancy dating wheel or sending us for an ultrasound, our midwife (and the technician) believed us?

The ultrasound experience was soured by the fact that we were booked a day before the appointment, and the person who booked us did not enter our appointment into the system. I spent all morning drinking water (a full bladder is recommended) and then waited an extra half hour while administration and technicians loudly fought over who had made the mistake while I tried to hold my pee in the hallway. At one point, someone actually asked to see my phone to ensure that someone from the hospital had, in fact, called me.

When it was finally time, I was separated from my partner and they had to sit out in the waiting room while I stared at the ceiling, and apologized for the overbooking (which was obviously not my fault). At the end of the exam, the technician asked me what my husband’s name was, and invited Norse into the room. Really?!

In the end, we saw our little together for the first time, and got print-outs of pictures to take home. We have images of our little’s feet and a seriously creepy image of their face to put up on our fridge.




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