Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Two Weeks From Hell

*Originally Written on 8/7*

I knew that our first prenatal appointment was early...right at 8 weeks. I didn't care, since I just needed to get in to get a Zofran prescription. (The nausea...I had forgotten how terrible it is...)

But  since it was early, it was too early to hear the heartbeat, but the midwife offered to do an ultrasound on a little portable machine they had. Sure, we said! Might as well! I wanted Michael to have one reason for leaving work for the appointment other than to hear me recite my health history.

She had some trouble with the machine. Michael helped her turn it on. She moved the wand over my belly and looked. And looked. And zoomed in, and continued looking. Her demeanor, which had been lively and animated, was getting more and more somber. And my heart was sinking.

"How far along do you think you are?"
"Eight weeks."
"Your uterus is measuring at 5 weeks. Any chance you're five weeks?"

I knew that I wasn't five weeks, and I knew what that meant. If my uterus was a five-weeks size, it meant the baby stopped progressing at 5 weeks. The midwife reminded me that she was not a fully-trained ultrasound technician, and that we needed to come back in two weeks to have another ultrasound to confirm anything. I knew what that meant too.

Then she told me the things that could happen in the next few days. The cramping, the bleeding, that I should go to the emergency room if it happened. I waited until she'd left the room to start crying. Michael was a lot stronger than I was.

I can't begin to tell you what that two weeks was like.

It was hell, waiting for time to pass. Not knowing if I was pregnant or not, fearing every little twinge of sensation in my torso. Feeling in my soul that I was pregnant, but knowing that I was tricking myself, allowing my hopes to cloud reason. I still had all the lovely side effects of pregnancy, the nausea, the fatigue, other less appetizing ones. I imagined the future ultrasound over and over. Sometimes with a positive result, sometimes with a negative.

We looked on the internet. Michael read some bad stuff, and told me not to look. I did anyway. I found some more encouraging sites, including one titled "Early Ultrasounds: Don't Let Them Scare You!" I allowed it to get my hopes up, then later chastised myself for it. I would catch myself saying, "Hold on, hold on in there," to my baby, the baby that might not even be there.

We had the love and support of the families, who were endlessly reassuring and positive and steady, which was exactly what we needed.

On the day of the follow-up ultrasound, Michael and I waited in the waiting room like a pair of poor souls waiting for the executioner. When they called my name, my heart jumped into my throat. They were running behind and had me jump right up onto the table. I was in the big, fancy ultrasound room this time, and didn't want to waste time asking the tech if she knew the backstory.

She made Michael stay over on the chairs by the door because to stand near me was to have him over near her desk. Michael and I gave each other one last look while she put the warm gel on my belly and took out the wand.

Immediately we saw the dark sac, and in it a glowing white something. Michael and I looked at each other with wide, wild eyes.

"Well, it looks like your baby is on its side," Trish the Tech said.

And then the unabashed, uncontrollable sobbing happened.

"Oh my goodness!" Trish said. "Okay, okay, you can go over and stand by her! My goodness, I didn't realize you'd be so emotional!"

We just cried and cried.

"Well, I do like to see happy tears!" Trish said awkwardly while she handed out tissues.

I quickly apologized and told her what had happened, about our last ultrasound and the two weeks of hell since. She was pretty indignant on our behalf, and annoyed that the midwife hadn't immediately sent us over for a confirmation on the day that we'd been unable to find BabyShock in the first place.

But after that, we just looked and looked and looked at our little wiggler. The baby squirmed around like I do when I'm trying to get comfortable in bed. We could make out the little legs, the little arms. She measured my uterus and found I was a little over 11 weeks long.

I don't think I need to tell you the relief and joy and weightlessness we felt after seeing and hearing the news. So that was the happy close to a chapter of our pregnancy that could have ended much differently. Our baby! Our baby was okay, and healthy and wiggling!

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