“Hold Your Breath”
On July 14th we waited (im)patiently to be taken back for our first ultrasound. It’s a weird feeling waiting for confirmation that a life is forming inside you when from the outside everything appears to be the same as it was yesterday. The whole experience was surreal. On the one hand, I wanted to shout the news from the rooftop while at the same time I was flipping back to the picture of the pregnancy test on my phone, trying to convince myself this was real.
That day the ultrasound tech handed us pictures of our ‘little punkiepoo’ as she named our baby, while delivering the news that sent my mind racing. ‘The baby is measuring 6 weeks.’ She and the doctor agreed that everything looked fine, they saw all the right things, it was just early. Probably my cycle was irregular and my fertility app had misreported date of conception. No need to panic, they said. I smiled, but deep down I felt that they were wrong. We should be 7 weeks and 5 days. I was sure of it.
I guess that is the blessing and the curse of technology. It provides information, but at times that information gives an illusion of control over the uncontrollable. With app in hand, I walked in the doctors office with an expectation of what the exam should entail, what I should see on the ultrasound, and what should happen next. When none of these things fell into place, it sent me into a tailspin. For the next week I struggled to engage. It was hard to be patient with people and even harder to be patient with the 7 days between us and the next ultrasound. I felt so isolated and like I needed to qualify every statement about the baby with ‘if all goes well.’ Something in me already knew it wouldn’t.
July 21st finally arrived and we headed back to the OB. Matt and I huddled in the same waiting room watching James Corden’s Carpool karaoke with Michelle Obama (It’s seriously worth the view). Totally normal, right? I was trying so hard to distract from what I hoped were just irrational fears. Back in the exam room, we strained to make something of the ultrasound. ‘It looks bigger!’ Matt offered. The tech was silent. She kept searching, measuring, typing. Then she asked me to hold my breath. She was looking for a heart beat where there was none. She just shook her head and told us how sorry she was.
I thought I was prepared for the news; I was expecting it. We were taken back to see the doctor for more information. She drew the short straw that day. Confirming a miscarriage for a family you’ve never met is not something I envy. She just kept saying that it was such a bummer. When the tears started flowing, there was no stopping them. I watched Matt as the news sank in. He had been trying so hard all week to reassure me. He so wanted this appointment to disprove my suspicions.
Bummer felt like the wrong word. It was such an understatement. I had been reading all week that it was a ‘good sign’ that ‘at least I could get pregnant’ even if I did miscarry. The truth that I had spouted to my mom in the pool earlier that week somehow became less helpful in the doctor’s office that day. In that moment I didn’t want a future baby or a good prognosis, I wanted this baby that I had lost.