I went in for a dating ultrasound yesterday because, without boring you with tmi details, we weren’t entirely sure when I conceived.
The ultrasound technician was a chirpy young thing who addressed me as “mom”. As always, she made PH wait outside while she did the scan. As she ran the probe over my belly, she asked me why I was there.
“Hmm, I do think your dates are a little off, it seems pretty small,” she said. “Have you ever had a vaginal ultrasound?”
“Well, you did a great job of filling your bladder but I’m going to ask you to go empty it, because I need it completely empty for the vaginal scan. Just let me take what measurements I can here, and then I’ll ask you to run to the bathroom,” she said cheerily.
She clicked away while she asked me questions – date of my last period, how sure I was about that, etc.
Then the questions began to get weird.
“And you had a positive pregnancy test?”
“And what was that? Urine?”
“Yes, a stick at home. I took it the same day my period didn’t arrive and it went positive right away…”
“And have you had any cramping?”
“…A tiny bit, a few weeks ago, but no spotting.”
“Okay, Mom, you can go empty your bladder, and then we’ll do the vaginal scan,” she said cheerfully.
So I went pee. But on my way back, I sought out Perfect Husband in the waiting room and told him that I was scared, because she was asking weird questions.
“Am I allowed in NOW?” he asked, squeezing my hand.
So I went back in, and she had me take my pants off and stick a wand up my hoo-ha.
“Now, this won’t hurt you or the baby,” she assured me.
She spent good ten minutes wiggling the wand around and clicking measurements on the screen, which was pointed away from me. I love how they hide the results of your own frigging scan from you. It’s my body isn’t it?
When she was done she told me that I could clean up and get dressed, and she would go and fetch “Dad”.
She ushered him into the room a moment later, and told us that she would be right back.
It’s at that point that you start trying to talk yourself out of paranoia.
After all, we had had a scare about the baby in our last pregnancy. Having read Marley and Me makes you more aware of what can go wrong in a seemingly healthy pregnancy.
But on the other hand, why did she ask if I had had a positive pregnancy test? She was clearly measuring SOMETHING on the screen, so there must be something in there. What a weird question.
“If there is something wrong, I would hope they wouldn’t just put us in here and leave us hanging with no warning,” PH said. “If she was that cheerful at me and there is something wrong…”
“She probably isn’t allowed to tell us anything. She probably has to hunt down some doctor to say “yep, that’s a dead baby,”" I said.
But we were still dealing in hypotheticals. I have anxiety. I live in these hypothetical scenarios where terrible things happen.
I’m not used to them actually happening.
So when she returned, still chirpy, with a radiologist in a white coat, my heart sank but I still didn’t really believe he was going to tell us terrible news.
He would tell us the baby might have Down Syndrome. He was going to say that the baby was due on Christmas Day instead of the 4th. He was going to tell us it was quadruplets. He wasn’t going to tell us that…
“So, I’ve reviewed the scans and unfortunately, the embryo is not living,” he said calmly and briskly.
“Oh.” I said in a small voice.
We proceeded to nod calmly while he told us that these things happen, that it probably happened a while ago, and it is usually due to a chromosomal abnormality. The embryo looked a little malformed, a bit unusual, so that was probably why…
“In what way?” I asked.
“What’s different about it? It’s okay, I understand the big words.”
He looked uncertain. “There’s not really much to tell you, it’s very small, only about the size of a peanut. There just seems to be some cystic processes going on. Anyway, I’ve called your midwife, but unfortunately I had to leave a message…”
His cell phone rang. “Ah, that’s probably here now. I’ll be back in a moment.”
And he left.
PH held out his arms to me, and I began to cry.
The radiologist came in a few minutes later and we sat up and wiped our eyes and nodded some more as he told us that the midwife was making up a referral to BC Women’s hospital where we could go to discuss our options, which would likely involve either taking drugs to miscarry at home or having a D&C. He said she was going to call me. He told us to take our time and to leave when we were ready. He said he was sorry for our loss.
We dried our eyes and left immediately. The midwife called and told me that it was called a missed miscarriage, that the people at the Women’s hospital would go over the options in detail, that she had sent a referral and we would probably hear back from them the next day. She told me that it wasn’t my fault. PH squeezed my hand as if to say “LISTEN TO HER”.
We had to pick up Owl from daycare right away. We took him right to our friends and neighbours’ house and asked them to take him for an hour. Then we went inside, and cried, and made phone calls.
My Christmas Baby is gone, but my body still thinks it’s pregnant. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been going through nausea and exhaustion to build a placenta for a lump of tissue that isn’t going to use it.
It’s hard to accept that no one will ever wear the little newborn sized Baby’s First Christmas outfit that I picked up at a swap meet a few weeks ago.
It’s worse to think that I can’t even get pregnant again until I get the remains removed, because my body doesn’t want to let go.
I can’t blame it though.
We’re having some trouble letting go as it is.