Friday, February 8, 2008

Grace Indeed

The fog of "morning" sickness is starting to lift. Food is actually starting to appear appetizing. I'm so grateful to be feeling like a human being again, but, surprisingly to those who have listened to me bemoan my constant nausea, this isn't at the top of my list of things to be thankful for. In fact, I don't think I would even be that upset if I was still feeling miserable at this point...

Last Friday, Hubby and I visited the doctor for a prenatal checkup, and to get some antibiotics for his sinus infection. This was the first visit during which the doctor would be able to listen for the baby's heartbeat on the doppler (a listening device with an amplifier so everyone in the room can hear the heartbeat). I was a bit nervous about the appointment but I kept assuring myself that everything would be fine because we had just seen the baby's heartbeat on the ultrasound a couple of weeks earlier. My doctor moved the doppler around on my belly for what seemed like five or ten minutes. There was a lot of static, and the slow whoosh of my own pulse. The baby's heartrate can be up to 170 beats per minute at this stage, so I knew it wasn't the baby's heartbeat. The doctor turned off the machine, and I think all three of us sighed at that moment. It's unusual at this point not to be able to hear the baby's heartbeat, he explained. It's also unusual to have seen the baby's heartbeat at eleven weeks and then for something to go awry after that point. So it was impossible to know either way. Free unsolicited advice to everyone: if you have an appointment to find out something significant, i.e. hearing your baby's heartbeat to ensure that he or she is still here, don't make that appointment for the last hour of a Friday afternoon. Apparently radiologists don't do weekends, so we had to wait until Monday afternoon to have an ultrasound.

How do I describe the weekend in between that Friday afternoon and Monday afternoon? I think I felt most of the ugly emotions possible, interspersed with brief, strange moments of pure hope and assurance that everything would be okay. Even my dreams at night were filled with such vacillations.

I kept wishing for a fast forward button a la Adam Sandler in the movie Click. When the moment finally came for me to lie down on the ultrasound table at the hospital, it had somehow arrived too quickly and I was reluctant to hear the finality of bad news. I started crying as soon as the technician asked how I was doing, and simply said "anxious" in a warbly little voice. She looked sympathetic and apologetically said "I know you're anxious but I won't be able to tell you anything until after I've taken all of the pictures and talked to the doctor." I nodded, and barely a minute later she whispered out of the corner of her mouth "There's a heartbeat, don't worry!" Such relief is hard to put into words. A few minutes later, my husband was allowed to come into the room, and she gave him the good news too. The whole time I was laying there, I kept wondering what the technician's name was. That seemed like such a weird, random thing to wonder about during such an emotional experience, so I tried to push it out of my mind. She wasn't wearing a name tag, so there was no nonchalant way to find out. I had decided not to ask her, but I found the words exiting my mouth anyways as I exited the room. "Grace," she replied.

Grace, indeed.

Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope
Because of the LORD's great love
we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:21-23
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