A few weeks ago I found out I was pregnant. I admit I wasn’t entirely thrilled at first, having hated being pregnant the first time around. But I slowly came around to the idea, and started getting really excited about adding another little blob to our family.
On Friday I went to the midwife’s office, and everything looked normal. Because I wasn’t exactly sure how far along I was, we scheduled an ultrasound to date the pregnancy. On Wednesday I popped into the hospital for a quick ultrasound. Forty-five minutes later we were still waiting for the “result” from the radiologist, which was a red flag to me, but I shrugged it off as paranoia. Then I got a call from my midwife, who let me know our fetus had no heartbeat.
In that moment I felt like the world ended. I went straight into denial. Surely it was a mistake, since the fetus was measuring right where we thought it would. I cried and cursed and begged the radiologist to admit that this fell within some sort of margin of error, and that everything was actually OK. At only 8 weeks along, they must have just missed the tiny heartbeat. There was no way it wasn’t there. I knew in my heart they were right, but I held on to every shred of denial I could.
I asked if I could see for myself, and the radiologist obliged. Back up on the ultrasound table, I could see our little proto-human, with its big head and lizard-like tail. The tech showed us where she looks for heart movement, and I recalled how on my 6 week ultrasound with Bitmap we watched her little heart beat furiously. Fetusaurus just had a black dot. She pulled up an overlay which showed blood flow, and my body lit up like a blue and red Christmas tree. Fetusaurus remained an island of grey on the screen, sitting serenely among the hustle and bustle of my insides. In that moment I acknowledged the truth: Fetusaurus was not going to grow into Baby #2.
I did a lot of crying that day, and have a lot of crying yet to do. But I’m also starting to get some perspective. Tragic as it is, these things happen. At this stage, we have no reason to believe I won’t be able to carry another child to term. We didn’t have to jump through any medical hoops to get pregnant, and my first pregnancy was totally normal (if unpleasant).
My friends have rallied around me and I feel truly blessed to have such a wonderful support network. Many of them are pregnant as well, and due around the same time I was. I thought I might feel some resentment towards their pregnancies, but it turns out I’m just happy to have some good news to contrast mine.
A friend of mine told me her mother had eight miscarriages before she was born. Eight. I can’t even imagine how one goes through that, but her mother maintains “I knew it was you every time.” The idea of a persistent soul trying to find a viable vessel is comforting to me. And makes about as much sense as any other religious explanation. So while it may not be Christian canon, I’ve adopted it for myself.
Baby #2 will have to wait a little longer to meet us, but I know it will eventually. I’ve learned over the years that families grow in a huge variety of ways. Some of them happen the old fashioned way, some require the help of medical intervention, and some are made through legal declarations. But as I wade through my haze of grief I know that this is a setback on the road to growing our family, not the end.