The day of our 8 week ultrasound was cold and sunny with a thick layer of snow on the ground. Even though it had stopped snowing, my husband’s place of work was closed for the day. I can’t tell you how grateful I was because, two weeks before, we thought he would be going back to work the day after we got back from California.
If he had gone back to work, we would have had to wait a little longer for the 8 week ultrasound. I would have had to wait longer for my worry to ease a little. I was terrified there wouldn’t actually be a baby in there, terrified I had just been wanting it badly enough that pregnancy symptoms had manifested.
But this ultrasound was important not just to me, but to my doctor. Because of the miscarriage, he couldn’t accurately pinpoint a due date, which is based on the last menstrual cycle. I hadn’t had a menstrual cycle in 2.5 months; just a miscarriage. He needed the ultrasound to measure how far along I was so we would have a due date.
My stomach was in knots. Today I would find out if I was crazy or if I was actually carrying a baby. And, if the latter, I would find out if my baby was viable. I had spent the past two weeks, with no school work to distract me, worried and terrified. I had been doing everything with caution. I had also been doing everything only half believing I was pregnant. Today I would find out for sure. It was oddly scary.
I’d had an ultrasound done when I miscarried. I knew what to expect. The first time had been a little awkward with shades of worry and devastation. This time around, I was a little more comfortable and a lot more prepared. I didn’t like the idea of having to do another transvaginal ultrasound, but the result would either put my mind at ease or devastate me, so I was prepared for the discomfort.
I stared at the walls and the ceiling. My husband stared at the screen. The tech was mostly silent. I was dimly aware of her and my husband exchanging a few words, but didn’t pay attention. I was just waiting for the end of the ordeal, when I could find out for sure.
It felt like it took forever. It took far longer than the first time. I hoped that meant it was good news.
“Yup, there’s a baby in there.”
Huge sigh of relief.
There was a baby, a tiny little thing measuring where he should be. For the first time, the tech smiled and turned the screen around. For the first time, I turned my head and saw not just her, but my tiny little baby.
It was there. The little head. The little body. The baby was plain as day.
But there was still one more question.
The heartbeat. Did my baby have a heartbeat? It was the only way to know for sure if my baby lived or had just died.
The tech touched something and a whooshing noise filled the room. It was strange. Weird. It was quick and bizarre. But it sounded like a heartbeat. Sort of. Actually, that first time I ever heard it, I was confused. I had no idea what that noise was.
The tech assured us the baby was measuring where he should be and the heart rate was perfect. She also gave us our estimated due date: mid-August.
For the first time, I breathed a sigh of relief. I stared at that screen for as long as I could, the evidence I was pregnant with a real live baby that would breathe in just over 7 months.