A Home Doppler – My New Favorite Toy

Well, I finally did it. I broke down and got a fetal doppler so that we can listen to the little bean’s heartbeat any time we want. And let me tell you…I LOVE IT! Wow, talk about total peace of mind. I have been thinking about getting one for a few weeks now and have been keeping my eye on Craigslist and eBay, waiting patiently for the right one to come along. Then, after my last post, both Miss A and Kodye recommended the Sonoline B doppler. I read tons of reviews online and was pretty sure that was the one I’d buy if I came across it at the right price. Sure, I could have bought it brand new for around $55, but what can I say, I am uber cheap (remember, I am addicted to coupons and saving where I can) and I pretty much knew that one would pop up on Craigslist or eBay for a way better price. There were tons on eBay that had multiple bids on them, but I really wasn’t looking into getting into a bidding war, ones that eventually ends up driving up the price to way more than you initially planned to spend. So, I spent the majority of my time searching Craigslist, knowing that one would pop up eventually. Well, that “eventually” happened to be Friday. A post went up, and within 15 minutes, I was texting her about her Sonoline B Doppler for sale. She had it listed for $40 and it came with the gel, brand new batteries, and earbuds. She said that she had purchased it last year when she was pregnant with her son and only used it a few times early in the pregnancy. I thought $40 was still a little too high, being that I could get a brand new one for around $55, so I offered $30, and told her I could pick it up that day. She accepted, and a couple hours later, I was on my way to pick up my doppler. When I arrived, the woman was super sweet and asked me if I had used it before. I told her I hadn’t and she proceeded to show me how to use it. Looked easy enough. I asked her how soon she could hear the heartbeat with her son. She said around 9 weeks, so she was pretty confident that I would be able to find it at 10 1/2 weeks. We exchanged thanks and congratulations and I was on my way.

The seller was only a 10 minute drive from my home, so I should have been able to have enough restraint to wait until I got home to test it out, but man, that doppler was taunting me as it sat there patiently on the passenger seat. I knew I didn’t have enough willpower to make it all the way home before I took it for a test drive. So what did I do…what any normal woman who has been through as much as I have trying to have a baby, who finally finds out they are pregnant…I pulled over (without even making it off the Craigslister’s street), and tested out my new toy. I turned it on, reclined my seat, unzipped my pants (they pretty much remain unbuttoned these days (#hellobloat), put a dab of gel on my belly, and prayed that no one was watching me from an adjacent homes upstairs window. I wasn’t sure exactly how or where to find the heartbeat, but I just kept moving the doppler veeerrry slowly in small circles in the area that I thought he/she liked to hang out (based on past ultrasounds and pics). After about 15 minutes, I finally found what I thought was the heartbeat. It sounded like a heartbeat. It was rythmatic and had a “galloping horses” sound which I remembered from my past ultrasounds. But it seemed kinda slow. Not fast at all like I remembered. I looked at the screen and the heartbeat was registering, but  fluctuating between 90-100 bpm. Hmmm….at my last OB appt the heart rate was 180, so definitely lots slower. Then, of course, I started to worry. Why would the heartbeat only be at 90? That’s not good! Was the doppler broken? Did I just waste $30? Was I doing it totally wrong? Was it too early and I wouldn’t be able to pick up babies heart beat yet? Was that my heartbeat I was picking up? I decided to drive home and look up some videos on how to use the doppler. Maybe I wasn’t doing it right, or maybe that really wasn’t the heartbeat I found. I needed to be reminded exactly what it sounded like before I knew for sure. I was hoping and praying the entire drive home that this new toy would actually bring me peace of mind (which is why I bought one) instead of cause more anxiety and worry.

As soon as I got home, I started watching some YouTube videos and reading some descriptions on how to use my specific doppler properly. Wow, I love technology. Within a matter of 30 minutes, I learned that the sound I had been picking up was indeed a heartbeat, however, it was my heartbeat. There was a video where a woman showed the three different sounds you may hear when searching for the heartbeat. The first was your own heartbeat. And when she found hers, it came in at 90 bpm and sounded exactly like mine. She also found a kind of like wooshing wind-storm type sound which I had totally heard on the doppler as well. After some research, I learned that this could be the sound of the placenta carrying nutrients, blood, and oxygen to the baby, which can also pick up your own heartbeat in it too. So fascinating! Next, the woman found her babies heartbeat and showed what that sounded like. I was relieved and worried that it sounded totally different than what I had heard on the doppler. That meant I hadn’t heard the heartbeat yet. In the video, I remember her saying that when you find it, it is a totally different sound than anything else you will hear and much louder and faster than you think.

Knowing that I hadn’t heard the heartbeat yet was all the motivation I needed to give it another try. However, this go-around, I told myself that if I didn’t hear it, I wouldn’t get all worked up and freak out over it (yeah right, easier said than done). It really could still be just too early. However, I learned some good tips and tricks while doing my research online, so I was a little more prepared this time. Some of the tips I learned was to lay in a totally reclined position, have an empty bladder, prop a pillow under your bum, and start out really low. At this point, the uterus is still so small that it is tucked underneath the pelvic bone, so they recommended starting just above your pubic bone. I also learned that the place that I heard my own heartbeat and “whooshing” sound, was probably very near where baby was as well. If this was indeed the sound of the placenta, I would find the heartbeat not too far to  he left or right of that. I remembered where I heard my own heartbeat, so I started there. It was just above my pubic bone to the left of my belly button. After a minute, I found this sound again, knowledgeable this time about what it was that I was hearing. It came in again at 90 bpm. I slowly started moving the doppler around that area, taking time to add some more gel when things were starting to get dry. I continued this for about 20 minutes, just moving in slow circles, stopping every once in a while to completely take the doppler off, re-position myself, and then try again. Then, after what seemed like forever, and right as I was about to give up…I heard it. It was the most beautiful sound ever!!! It totally sounded like galloping horses and was faster and clearer than anything else I had heard yet. And although I lost it after only a couple minutes, it was long enough to know that it was a healthy heartbeat (coming in anywhere from 165-170), it was indeed babies heartbeat, and just enough time to call Scott upstairs so that he could hear too. We were smiling from ear to ear. Best sound ever!!! I am loving my new doppler and already got to hear the hearbeat today too. Plus, this time, it only took me a few minutes to find! I am one happy mamma!!!

Baby B Heartbeat

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9 thoughts on “A Home Doppler – My New Favorite Toy

  1. Oh Kara I have tears in my eyes ! Im SOOOOOOOOOO beyond excited that our little bean is growing strong ! Im sitting here listening to worship music praising God for this beautiful miracle. = )

  2. Very cool that you can hear the heartbeat anytime now! How reassuring! Glad to hear things are going well for you?

    How did the New Chapter prenatals end up working out for you?

  3. Oh I’m so glad you got it! I loved mine! It will for sure help your mind relax. I hope you’re still feeling good! Sooo close to the second trimester! 🙂

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