Saturday, October 23, 2010

Somewhere inside me... this precious baby.  In a precarious situation.  When you are pregnant, every ache and pain makes you wonder:  is everything okay?  Is this normal?  Especially if you have already experienced a miscarriage or two.  I knew something was wrong at 6 weeks while at church one Sunday.  I assumed that I was having a miscarriage, even though my previous two experiences were nothing like this.  The triage nurse at the ER ran through a series of questions, including "Did this start after having [relations] with your husband?"  Me: "No, I was at church.  So, no."  Giggle.  You have to find some humour in those moments, even if you're already crying.  After an informal ultrasound in the ER failed to locate any baby, I was sent home to wait for a more detailed ultrasound the next morning.  I cried a lot, and we told some close friends and our families that this pregnancy was almost certainly over.
Thankfully, I was seen by a much more tactful ultrasound technician than the woman who had seen me  during my previous pregnancy.  She had taken one look at my stomach before splattering the ultrasound goo on me and said "Wow, I can see this is not your first child from all your stretch marks!"  The new ultrasound tech was very quiet and methodical.  He explained that he wasn't able to see sufficiently because my bladder was not full enough.  I suppose the two litres of water had not travelled that far yet.  He informed me that he would have to use a different kind of attachment to get a better, more direct look, if you catch my drift.  Grief is often served up with a side of mortification.  In my mind this procedure confirmed that the baby was gone, because that was the procedure during my miscarriages.  He brought another technician in the room, and after about ten minutes of mostly silence, peppered with the occasional comment about hospital renovations or the weather, he turned the screen toward me and pointed to it.  "Here is the gestational sac," and I was expecting to hear next "and, as you can see, there is no baby in it," or "the baby is not developed to the point where we would expect to see at this point."  Except that he was pointing to something and said "Here you can see your baby and this is the heart, beating nice and strong."
Me: "WHAT?  You mean there is a heartbeat?"
Ultrasound tech: "Yes, right here," pointing again.
That's when I began sob, complete with the ugly cry.  They were both quite surprised at my reaction, and the other technician, a middle-aged woman with a tired and kindly-looking face, touched my shoulder and asked if I was okay.  As soon as they were finished, I stumbled around the hospital, which is currently in a crazy state of renovations and only has haphazard hand-scrawled signs to tell you where to go, trying to find a pay phone to call my husband (all while the 2 liters of liquid decided to descend).
The ER doctor explained that I have a subchorionic hemorrhage, which means that part of the baby's placenta is bleeding.  I had several more similar episodes that week, followed by ER visits.  On one of those visits, the ER doctor tried to prepare me that I had most likely miscarried again, after he failed to see any sign of a baby on the ultrasound.  Once again, the more detailed ultrasound the next day showed a flashy little heartbeat.
My symptoms had disappeared from about 7 weeks until week 12, the day of my first scheduled prenatal appointment.  I zipped back to the hosptial, and was fortunate to see that the baby was well on the ER ultrasound.  The detailed ultrasound the next day showed that the bleeding is still present, which brings me to the present of this story.
So, now, we wait.  We are waiting for more information and a referral to a specialist.  And pray.  We're praying for this little one to grow and develop, and for the hemorrhage to stop.  We've seen miracles, and I'm looking for another one!
And, we gaze at the little smiling face in the ultrasound photograph.
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