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.
I am so sorry you are going through this.
What an awful experience. I am so sorry that you won’t have your Christmas baby. Thinking of you and PH and owl tonight.
Nicki Hunt said:
This is so sad, really very sorry that you have lost your baby, thinking of you, PH & Owl, & sending you love & Hugs xx
F chirpy ultrasound techs indeed. I’m so sorry.
I’m sorry, I know that the ultrasound offices seem to make it worse by making you wait. Although I’ve had a ton of ultrasounds (at least 10 so far) and I’ve always been able to see the screen. Having been there myself, there are no perfect words. It’s hard not to get burned a little (I hide pregnancies until 4-5 months from family members, whereas that wasn’t the case before). I hope you have a quick recovery, whichever way you go. If you go the D and C route, do yourself a favor and take it easy. It is so easy to over-do it, and it is surgery. Grief just plain sucks.
It seems the be the rule around here. This was my third and we haven never been allowed to see the screen or have a partner in the room until after all the measuring stuff is done. Then they turn the screen and invite PH in and do the cute baby stuff. Or not, in this case. I hate it. It’s my body And I think it’s wrong to hide it from me.
My thoughts are with you. I`m sorry for your loss and for having that experience.
Hi, I'm Natalie. said:
Oh gosh, I’m so sorry.
Oh, I’m so sorry for your loss. So sad. My thoughts to you and PH. (Not Owl, but only because I’m guessing he’s in blissful ignorance.)
Oh, totally. He still thinks there is a baby in my belly (which is still technically true) but he thinks all women have babies in their belly.
I don’t even know what to say. I’m so sorry for your loss. That sounds so… over-used but it’s the truth. Thank you for sharing your story though. I found out that 9 out of 10 pregnancies end in miscarriage (most don’t even know they were pregnant) but that still leaves a lot of women who generally suffer the loss in silence which gives other women the feeling that they’re alone in that experience if they miscarry which is so far from the truth. Hugs and love from far away.
There is a huge taboo around the miscarriage, and that has been making me angry the last 24 hours or so. Expect a post on that soon.
Grace Goldragon said:
I’m so sorry, Carol.
I am so so sorry for you loss. Devastating. You are so strong. PH really is perfect. You are all in my thoughts.
He has been fabulous through this, and I am impressed, because we deal with emotions very different ways – I need to talk about it, and he needs to not talk about it. But he holds me, and feels angry with me, and just leaves the room every time someone calls me to talk about it.
Oh, Carol. I am so sorry.
Oh, honey, I am soooooooo sorry. I literally said, “Oh, dear” out loud when I got to the part with the radiologist giving you the news. It is a complete bitch that med schools emphasize all the science/math classes and attract people who are just not good at dealing with emotion.
I am so, so sorry. Honestly. Truly. Be well. Hug Owl.
I will give him this – he wasn’t insensitive. He was just… Matter of fact. Maybe he learned a long time ago that beating around the bush didn’t make people feel any better about it…
*Sigh* I suppose there’s something to be said for that — for not leaving a door open for people to hear what they want to hear, rather than what’s true. I’m just really, *really* glad PH was there with you when you got the news. In a perfect world, he would have been allowed in the whole time, but at least he was with you when you met the radiologist.
Can you imagine if I had gone alone? I almost did, because we weren’t sure there would be time to pick up PH and get to the scan on time (there wasn’t we were late but OH MY GOD I am glad I took the risk).
So sorry. I do find it odd that they wouldn’t let your husband in with you during the scan. Take the time you need to do some healing. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.
It seems to be the policy in BC. We have had ultrasounds at three different places and all of them kept the screen turned away and the husband out of the room until all measurements were made. It sucks.
It’s not a policy in BC, you just have crappy luck with ultrasound places. Mister was allowed in to see both of mine
Really? Right away? Because we had one done in Coquitlam, one at RCH, and one in PoCo and they all had the same rule – not til measuring is done!
There are no words …. I feel your pain. I’m sending you and your family love and strength. 😦
Oh, I kept hoping your worrying was for nothing while I was reading this. I’m so sorry, Carol. Hugs and healing to you and PH.
I’m so, so sorry, Carol. I miscarried at 8 weeks, and it is the worst feeling ever. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Sending you lots of love and hugs and keeping you in my thoughts.
According to the woman at the Early Pregnancy Assessment Clinic, who looked at the report she was sent and told me what the radiologist DIDN’T, my baby died at 8 weeks, too. My body just hasn’t noticed yet. I’m sorry you’ve been through this. It sucks.
Oh no! I’m so, so sorry for you. 😦 All the best. xx
Oh, no. I was in denial reading this, but dammit, it was true. I’m so, so sorry for your loss. Don’t let anyone make you feel it isn’t a real loss, because it is. Take time to grieve and heal. Be gentle with yourself.
I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I was excited for you, and now so sad. Lots of hugs.
So sorry to hear this. Thinking of your family.
I’m very sorry to hear this news. Take good care, mama.
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So, so sorry. Thinking of you and PH xx
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