It’s raining. Good. Let’s set the mood for the rest of the day, shall we? My sister tries to comfort me on the ride there. We pull in at the same time Kyle does.
As we walk into the clinic, an old man grabs Kyle’s arm. “Let me ask you a question.” “OK,” Kyle replies. “What do you call a bear with no teeth?”
…. Is this real life? Kyle asks him to repeat his question.”What do you call a bear with no teeth?”
…. We stand there like dumbstruck idiots. “I don’t know,” Kyle says.
…. “A gummy bear. Now pass it on.”
We’re in a hurry to get upstairs. We’re only 30 minutes early. We walk away from the old man with grins on our faces. He lightened our hearts as we walked up the stairs to get the bad news we expected to hear. I turn around and tell Jennifer and Kyle, “You know that was an angel, don’t you?” That’s the only way I can explain it.
I have the emptiest feeling in my heart. We sit and wait and wait and wait. Can we just get this over with? I’m tormented! (Or so I thought… it would only get worse.)
Finally Tanya the ultrasound tech calls me back. I ask if Jennifer can come, she says yes. I get undressed. I’m shaking. Either we see our healthy baby and I’m just overreacting or something is wrong and we’re about to find out. I don’t want to be right. I know something is wrong. I feel it.
She puts the wand in. I see my baby.
I can’t see the heart flutter. I immediately know. But maybe I’m wrong. My tiny baby is supposed to be the size of a lemon. He’s the same size as before. He is floating in his little sack. She measures. She doesn’t say anything. I hold my breath. She presses my belly, she moves the wand. I can’t see the heart flutter. Maybe it’s the angle. Maybe I’m wrong. She tries to hear the heartbeat. The line is black. She tries again. It’s black. My eyes well up. Maybe I’m wrong through. Another test to check blood flow. Nothing. Maybe I’m wrong though. We are silent. I look away from the screen and stare at the ceiling for a moment. My eyes tear up again. But I don’t want to look away. I want to see my baby.
Then, without any of the “Look, here’s your baby’s head, here is the foot, here is the heartbeat…” she tells me that I can sit up and get dressed. No photos this time. They don’t give you photos of your dead baby. She said that the doctor will discuss “this” with us.
I get up. I get dressed. I walk out of the room. I make it halfway down the hallway. I start to sob. Kyle holds me and covers me with his jacket. A magical nurse appears with tissues. My sister hugs us. She says “I’m sorry Tink… I’m sorry.”
I pull myself together and we head out to the waiting room.
We are silent for a moment.
No one has confirmed anything yet. I point out the obvious:
1) No heart flutter.
2) No heart beat.
3) No growth.
4) The baby is at the top, not nestled in the bottom.
5) No photos.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the machine is messed up. Maybe my baby is ok.
An eternity later, the nurse calls us back. They don’t weigh me.
They don’t ask for urine. They don’t ask me to undress. They don’t take my blood pressure.
We look at each other and wait. I don’t want Dr. Gubbels to come. I am upset for Tanya because she had to see my dead baby. I am upset because Dr. Gubbels has to talk to me about my dead baby.
He walks in. He sits. He looks at me.
“Did you notice anything about the ultrasound?”
I give him my list. He says, to my horror, that I am right.
We talk for a while. Well, he talks, I listen and Kyle asks questions.
He tells us that 1 in 3 pregnancies ends in miscarriage. Kyle didn’t know this. I knew, but didn’t tell him for fear that he’d never let me leave the house while pregnant.
We discuss options.
1) Do nothing. My body will naturally take care of this.
2) D&C. They cut up my baby and suck it out. No thank you.
3) Medication. One set of pills to thin the cervix. Afterwords, another set to stop the bleeding. and hydrocodone for the pain.
I don’t want to decide. I cry because I don’t want to think about this. An hour later, we leave with prescriptions that we don’t have to use if we don’t want to and instructions that I couldn’t remember.