Another visit to the doctor. I’m 12 weeks pregnant. I’m not sure what’s on the agenda for today other than checking my vitals and a brief chat with my doctor. I’m right. They do a quick weigh-in as I avoid eye contact with the scale. Blood pressure. Urine sample. No blood work today so I’ll just wait on my doc.
He doesn’t have much to say except that even though they thought my high potassium levels would drop, it seems that number increased. Too bad they still don’t know what’s causing it. So we’ll just keep an eye on it. We talk about my 20-week ultrasound, Thanksgiving plans, and birthing classes. He tells me that after talking to my cardiologist and neurologist, nothing has changed and we are still just going to treat me like a heart patient. Sounds good to me.
I thought I was headed out the door when he said, “Let’s get a quick listen to baby’s heartbeat.” Perfect! Another chance to hear my baby and tangibly known he or she is there and healthy. I lay down on the table and he began moving the doppler across my abdomen. You could hear rustling as he tried to locate the baby, but no heartbeat. He tried for a few minutes with no success. With each passing moment, my heart sank further and further into my chest.
“A little ambitious to hear the heartbeat at 12 weeks I suppose. I’m going to do a quick ultrasound,” he said as he quickly left the room.
What he didn’t know is that I had easily heard my baby’s heartbeat at my last appointment 3 weeks ago. In that cold, sterile room, lying alone on the table, the worst floods my mind. My nausea had gone away a few days ago. It was so easy to hear it before. This can’t be normal.
I’m going to be that woman.
The one who walks in pregnant and walks out heartbroken, confused, shocked and alone. I’m sure he was gone just a few moments, but it seemed like an eternity. He returned wheeling in a small ultrasound machine. I didn’t even flinch at the chill of the gel. He left the monitor turned toward him, out of my sight. I wanted to tell him to turn it towards me, but the words didn’t come out.
After holding my breath for I don’t know how long, he turned the monitor towards me and I saw two long legs kicking wildly. “Here’s your baby’s heartbeat,” he says confidently. Overwhelmed with relief, my fear and grief were immediately replaced with joy as he showed me hands, the profile… every angle he could. I’m not sure what he was saying to me, I was staring in awe at how my little bean was now a mini-human, wiggling around inside me. Praise God!
I left my doctor’s office that day a little more in love with my baby, but I couldn’t help but think of my friends that have experienced that same agonizing wait with a much different result. Although I know the anxiety of their waiting, I cannot imagine the sorrow, the agony of their loss. The pain in each step to the car. How their eyes are so flooded with tears that they can’t see to drive so they just sit with their head in their hands, mourning, alone in a parking lot. I spoke to my friend that has had this moment more than once. As she told me her story I wanted to just hug her and cry as no mother should have to endure such a loss. The pain is unimaginable.
If you have ever been that woman, I’m giving you a virtual hug right now and praying for your heart.
We may never know why God allows such loss or if we will one day experience it, but I pray that no matter how difficult it may seem, we continue to trust in his unfailing love and perfect will.
Originally written on November 20, 2013.