July 23, 2018 – This was the due date for my fourth child.
The day finally arrived and here I was, lying on a bed as the ultrasound technician prepared to scan me.
Then, she began asking the questions.
These were routine questions, asked of most any child-bearing woman by medical professionals. I was no stranger to these questions and before December of last year, I had answered them with pride and no hesitations.
“How many pregnancies have you had?”
I wanted to be quick and answer three, like I’ve always had.
“How many were live births?” She asked.
My usual answer has always been “all of them“.
Please let the questions stop. Please.
“What happened to the other one?” She asked, matter of factly.
This was the hardest question to answer. And not because I’m still reeling over the loss which happened nearly 7 months earlier. Time heals most wounds and I had been doing better each day with coming to terms with our loss. But today was the day I was supposed to be holding my baby in my arms, or at least close to doing so.
“Uh,” I hesitated. “I had a miscarriage.” The answer barely left my throat.
I turned my attention over to the screen as she typed the number 1 into the box labeled “AB” which I assume stood for abortion, the clinical term for miscarriage.
She then proceeded to scan my empty uterus, as my doctor had ordered, to see if everything was all right in there – a visit completely unrelated to my loss.
It brought back painful memories of the last scan I had done in December.
I was 10 weeks along. This was the visit I had waited for since finding out we were going to have another baby. This was the day I was to go in for blood work, including the one that determines the sex of the baby.
“There’s no heartbeat. I’m so sorry,” she said. I turned my gaze toward my Ob/Gyn. Her eyes red, as if she was fighting back tears, as she uttered those devastating words to me.
“I’m so sorry.”
I looked over at the screen. What was supposed to be a little bean with a steady, but fast flicker, floated around lifelessly.
From the moment a woman sees that pink line on the pregnancy test, she starts building dreams, formulates plans, has aspirations and hope for her and her baby’s future, as I had. All of that was taken away from me in a matter of minutes, with one image of a lifeless baby on the ultrasound screen. I had weeks to build those dreams and in an instant it was gone, along with my baby.
According to the measurements taken by the doctor, the baby passed at 8 weeks. For two weeks, I had been a vessel for a lifeless fetus and I didn’t know it. It pained me to think that for those last two weeks I had believed I was carrying life inside me when in fact it had already ended.
My doctor gave me the options of how I wanted to end the pregnancy, considering my body hadn’t expelled the fetus on its own.
After careful consideration, my husband and I opted for the surgery.
And again, like that day of my last scan in December, I lied on my back on the bed on what was supposed to be my due date, fighting back tears.