February - The First Week

You can read about January here.

* * *

I see my doctor the morning after the ill-fated ultrasound. She tells me it's likely a blighted ovum and agrees with the radiologist that I should have another ultrasound in a week. I ask what my options are and she says that I have to let my body miscarry naturally. That intervention won't be a possibility until I've gone a month without miscarrying. This is insane to me. If I had chosen to terminate the pregnancy, I would have access to a D&C but because the pregnancy terminated itself, I have to walk around like a ticking time bomb, waiting for my body to expel the dead baby bits. Naturally.

* * *

One week later, I'm back lying on a table at the ultrasound clinic with another impossibly young and beautiful ultrasound tech sliding the wand across my abdomen. I wonder if beauty and youth are prerequisites for working at this private clinic, if they're something used to exude comfort and peace like the art hanging on the walls and the elaborate dimming light systems and the real linens instead of paper on the exam tables.

My tech has seen my report from the previous week. She doesn't ask me to clarify my dates. I expect her to tell me there is no fetal pole, that my doctor is correct and we're dealing with a blighted ovum. She doesn't attempt small talk, which I appreciate. The room is silent apart from her tapping on the keyboard. And then, without warning, she hits a button and there is a loud whoosh and the room is filled with the sound of a heartbeat.

My heartbeat. But I don't know that until the tech realizes I'm clueless and apologizes.

She shuts the screen off - never a good sign - and tells me to get dressed while she consults with the doctor.

I feel prepared for what she's going to tell me. Apart from the momentary high when I heard the (my) heartbeat, I've been fairly realistic about the whole situation. Being 100% sure about my dates, and having a GP who doesn't tiptoe around the tough stuff when I ask her to give it to me straight, I know there should have been a heartbeat or at least something recognizable as an embryo on the previous week's ultrasound. I'm not expecting any miracles.  

The tech doesn't make eye contact as she tells me that I don't have a viable pregnancy. She says it in such a rush "there are no signs of viability but there is something growing in your uterus and it has active blood flow and we don't know what it is. You need to see your doctor." that I don't react. I can't react. I sit there, stupidly, while she waits for me to process, until I manage to choke out "I had cancer." My throat is so tight it comes out in a squeak and I can't take a full breath and the tech is ill-equipped to deal with me and all my feelings that are spilling out my eyes.

I call my sister from the parking lot and hyperventilate. We make a plan: tomorrow I will see my doctor and demand a D&C.