Tuesday, 26 November 2013

"I'm sorry, I can't find a heartbeat."

Getting pregnant for the first time was an amazing feeling. Even though it was planned, I still felt like I was in shock for a couple of days afterwards. I took a pregnancy test a couple of days before my period was due, waiting the regulation three minutes with bated breath, and not daring to look and see what was happening. I took a deep breath, looked at the test, and found two bring pink lines! There was no doubt I was pregnant! I couldn't believe how strong that line was and I hadn't even missed my period yet! In retrospect, that should have been my first indication that something wasn't right.

I spent 9 weeks walking around blissfully pregnant. I only told a few people including my parents who thrilled. Knowing that I had a tiny little secret growing inside of me was a wonderful feeling and I never had any problems during  my pregnancy. No pain, no bleeding, and no morning sickness. I felt really lucky, but also a little concerned.

"Surely I should feel something," I thought. After all, I had to take low-dose birth control because the high amount of estrogen in The Pill had made me sick in the past.

A friend of mine who was six months pregnant at the time assured me that she had not had any morning sickness her entire pregnancy and told me that I was probably one of the lucky ones. That reassured me a little.

A few days before my first ultrasound, I went to a baby shower for that friend. I remember being excited that in a few months, I would be celebrating my own baby shower. I couldn't wait! I had had boy and girl names picked out already, having chosen them carefully several years ago in anticipation of one day having a baby.

The day of the scan came - two days before my 4th wedding anniversary, and I anxiously sat in the waiting room with my husband. After asking what seemed like a million questions, it was time to see our baby for the first time.

The Nurse Practitioner squeezed out a blob of cold blue gel and began to move the ultrasound back and forth over my stomach. For what seemed like an eternity, she moved the ultrasound around, left and right, the same concentrated look on her face never changing. Then she handed me a tissue to wipe off the gel.

"Let me try the transvaginal ultrasound. That one can usually pick up more."

She kept the screen turned away from me, maintaining a poker face that I have now come to associate with bad news. After trying some different angles with the ultrasound wand, she said those words that no pregnant woman ever wants to hear: "I'm sorry, I can't find a heartbeat. It looks like the baby stopped growing at 7 weeks."

She must have been an expert at delivering bad news to mothers-to-be because she didn't flinch. I suppose it was just another day at the office for her. When you see these things all the time, I would imagine you start to become numb to other people's pain. You have to in order to effectively do your job, but it is a moment that will haunt me for the rest of my life.

She told me what my options were - wait to see if I miscarried naturally, take a dose of cytotec (misoprostol), or go in for a D&C. I said that I wanted to wait a few days to see if nature took its course. The nurse sent me on my way with an order to go and get a blood test to measure my hCG levels. It would be the first of many blood tests that I would get over the following months.

Walking out of the hospital, I felt like my world had shattered. Minutes ago I had been anxiously waiting to see the tiny flicker of my baby's heartbeat; a baby that was going to change our lives and the start of our new family. Now, all those hopes and wishes had been extinguished along with my baby's life. All that I had left of this dream was an ultrasound of the baby who was never meant to be.

No comments:

Post a Comment