I’ve heard there’s a moment where the world freezes for a second- all of your optimistic thoughts and hopes flee- and you clearly see the reality of your fears coming to life.
I remember that appointment so clearly. I kissed my kids and husband goodbye, drove uneventfully to the office, and checked in. I rolled my eyes at the vacation reality TV show that was on in the waiting room. I smiled through my weigh-in, blood pressure check, and urine sampling.
I didn’t know. How could I?
The nurse took me to a room where she pulled out the doppler. She squeezed the jelly onto my stomach and started to search for a heartbeat. After a little while of searching, she attributed her failure to her own incompetence and went for the provider.
I still wasn’t worried. I still had no clue.
The provider then came in, spent some time searching for a heartbeat, and then told me that they were going to send me in for an ultrasound “just for kicks and giggles.”
This was when I started to worry. I texted my husband on the way to the ultrasound room, asking for prayers.
I still wonder how it took me so long to realize that something was wrong, but then I had been through scares before with my other two pregnancies. I had learned to not panic through things like this.
My sense of foreboding deepened when I got to the ultrasound room. The tech, who had seen me many times through my previous twin pregnancy and had done my initial and anatomy scan for this pregnancy, was unusually quiet.
The ultrasound screen, where I usually watched what she was seeing, was blank. I knew that was not good. Tears started to stream down my face as once again jelly was smeared all over my belly with a medical instrument.
She suddenly stood up, said “I’ll be right back,” and dashed out of the room.
And there it was. No more positive thinking or naive dismissal. I knew.
I started sobbing, crying in a new way.
After that, it’s a blur. A different provider came with the first one in tow, telling me that there was no heartbeat, it looked recent, and there was no sign of what had gone wrong. She firmly told me that it was not my fault, that there was nothing I could have done, and asked me if we had a name for him. I decided for sure in that moment that his name was Joseph Roger Grant, a name we had tossed around but hadn’t been firm about.
I hope to draw this story at some point, but that feels like reliving it in a different way, and I’m not sure I’m ready for that. This is the moment I relive in my mind, the one I toss around and still wonder about. I still think, “Was that really me? How did I live through that moment? Is there some way I could have changed the outcome?”
But… it was me. And I lived through that moment. And I don’t think there’s anything I could have done.