No pregnant woman should ever be required to drink a litre of water ever. Period.
For those of you unfamiliar with the preparation required for a first trimester ultrasound, I am here to enlighten you. First of all, you are required to be finished drinking a litre of water at least 1 hour before the ultrasound. Now, if these seems excessive then let me tell you it is. I was required to have 2 ultrasounds in my first trimester one, The dating one at 9 weeks and then a second at 13 weeks because there was a hemorrhage detected on the first one so some additional follow up was needed. (Side note – the hemorrhage was still there so I get to take it easy now).
From the first ultrasound I had, I couldn’t fully drink the recommended litre of water. I think I got about 3/4 of it, but I threw some of it up so who knows, but when I got there they said that I was “full enough” so I thought great. Coming up on the second ultrasound I remember didn’t need to drink the full amount but apparently those cups held more water than I thought they did. I was also able to keep it all down this time and by the time I arrived at the Ultrasound clinic my bladder was so full I literally had trouble walking. My husband thought I was over reacting but I really wasn’t. I was in physical pain from how full my bladder was, I still don’t know how I managed not to pee myself that morning.
As I made it up to the desk to register, all I could think of was how I just had to get through a little bit more time and then I could pee. Imagine my dismay when as the registration desk they informed me that earlier that day the power had been out for 1 hour and they were running behind on their appointments.
Much to the confused and annoyed looks of others waiting in the waiting room, I literally wailed out loud.
“WHAT! You’re kidding, My bladder is so full. I can’t manage, can I just go pee and have a trans-vaginal Ultrasound instead? That can be done empty right???” (You should probably read extreme desperation into this plea). Unfortunately, they didn’t want to offer my this olive branch, instead I was informed that I could go to the bathroom and let some of it out.
I don’t know what kind of super-trained bladders these women have but when your bladder is THAT full it is nearly impossible to only let out “some of it”. So I did what any desperate pregnant lady would do in this situation, I quietly said “screw you” and went pee. I tried to stop mid way through but didn’t and kept going for longer than I probably should.
As I return to the waiting room, I run into my husband who had missed this whole scenario play out as he was parking the car after letting me out at the door, such a sweetie. I explained my saga, while trying to replenish the lost fluids with a styrofoam cup of water from the office’s water cooler.
Thankfully, I get called into the ultrasound only 4 minutes later than my scheduled appointment and the ultrasound begins. Already, I am feeling extreme discomfort and from all the water I have been forced to drink. When the tech starts the ultrasound she says, “Oh my, you are really full! HOW WERE YOU EVEN SITTING THERE?!” So it was not my imagination, I really did drink too much.
Thankfully she tells me that she’ll just take a couple of pictures and then let me go “empty” (and there was much rejoicing in my mind, and possibly a few tears of joy). Of course, her and my definition of what a “couple” means apparently differs by a factor of about 20. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity of having the transducer pushed and prodded against my bladder I am allowed to go to the bathroom.
I come back and she continues with the ultrasound. Within 10 minutes she says, “Wow, you must be really hydrated, you’re bladder is almost full again.” Eventually my husband comes in and the fun part of the ultrasound happens where we get to watch our little baby move around and see that it does indeed have a brain, two arms, two legs, a spine, and a butt! Yea. All major body parts accounted for. It even moved it’s arms around.
The ultrasound ends and I run to the bathroom once again to pee. As we leave we find out that because of the power outage they are still waiting for systems to re-boot so they can’t actually give us any pictures of our ultrasound. I was a little disappointed but given how I almost lost the last ultrasound photo (it was forgotten in the bottom of a suitcase), and forgot to show it to people, I wasn’t too upset. I figured the baby looked healthy and they said they’d send it to our doctor any way.
My husband drives me to work and on the way I tell him I am really not feeling very well, all the water I had to drink is making me queasy and I think I am going to be sick. He asks if I want to go home. I stupidly tell him no, to drop me off at the office figuring it will pass.
I get to work and after about an hour of feeling terrible head to our cafeteria for some lunch. Unfortunately, the smells of the cafe do not agree with me and I begin noticeably gagging and heaving in the cafeteria. People staring at me. I start bolting to a bathroom while clutching my mouth and dry heaving, then in the middle of the hall I realize I can’t make it to a bathroom and start vomiting. I have nothing to catch it in so I try to hold it in my mouth but there is too much so I cup my hands and continue running. I make it to my desk and proceed to continue to be sick in my garbage pail (I realize I probably should tip the cleaning lady for that). When I think that it has passed and head to the bathroom to clean myself up. But it’s not done and I end up vomiting into a paper towel in my hands in the middle of my department again, on my way to a bathroom
People are staring at me. I am vomiting into my hands in the middle of an office crying.
When I finally make it to the bathroom I try to clean up as best I can but I have vomit all over my clothes. At this point I have to instant message my boss and ask if I can work for home for the remainder of the day because even though it is casual Friday vomiting on your clothes is pushing some sort of boundary. Thankfully she agreed.
I can honestly tell you that there is nothing that has happened to me that is more embarrassing than being seen running down the hall while vomiting on yourself and then explaining to your boss why you now have to go home after being in the office for only an hour. I remained so well hydrated that day that I ended up spending most of my day in the bathroom, and had to wake up 8 (YES, 8) times to pee throughout that night.
The only thing I can take comfort in at this point is knowing that my next ultrasound I’ll be further along and won’t have to drink the water.