If this is your first time here – read this first.
Shock. How does one go from grief to elation in 10 seconds? Well the words, “We have a heartbeat” might get you there.
Kevin and the kids were waiting in the car. The appointment had, in my mind, been a formality. It was supposed to confirm what I thought I knew, what I thought that doctor had already told me. I was supposed to walk out to the car, silently nod my head to Kevin and slip into the front seat for the quiet ride home. That scene had frankly played itself out so many times, three to be exact, I couldn’t picture it being another way. Well that was not to be, this time.
Back in the ultrasound room, the doctor strode in and looked expectantly at the Tech. She smiled up at him and I practically shouted over her, “That other doctor was wrong!” One of the benefits of working in a hospital is that I get to know a lot of doctors. While I love my regular OBGYN, the doctor standing in front of me runs a close second. He is former Chief of Staff for the hospital and he is one of the nicest men I know. He had explained to me earlier this week that his wife had also experienced three miscarriages. He knew the pain in my voice and written on my face with unfortunately familiarity. When he realized the news was good he bounded across the room, gave me a hug and promptly stated, “This just made my weekend.” He had no idea how much more so that was true for me.
We walked out into the hallway and discussed what the next steps would look like for me. First though, he said something that made me chuckle, ” That other doctor was dead wrong and I couldn’t be happier that he was.” Considering the other man is his business partner, that meant a lot. I knew he genuinely was happy to experience this outcome with me. Like a good doctor should, he had reviewed my chart and knew all about what I shall refer to as “The Great Lovenox Debate of 2009.” Without hesitation he told me to start the shots, saying it wasn’t worth questioning myself if something went wrong later. I had about a month’s supply at home leftover from my pregnancy with Joshua, so I nodded in complicity. I will say that at this point, my heart spoke quietly to me, assuring me the shots would not make the difference with this pregnancy. I did not pay much attention to the tiny prodding from my soul and instead bounded to the car to share the good news with Kevin.
When he saw the smile on my face he immediately offered the inevitable “I told you so!” To know Kevin is to know that he is an eternal optimist. He doesn’t play connect the negative dots in his mind like I do, he doesn’t analyze every shred of evidence trying to decipher the correct outcome. He genuinely believes good things will happen. This is something I love about him and also something that makes me want to strangle him at times. I guess marriage is like that. The car ride home was filled with what I will call, “tentative joy”. We both understood that I was only 6 weeks along and that most of my losses had occurred in the 10 week range, one even as late as 14 weeks. Our hearts knew that this was good news, for now.
That night I got out the Lovenox and it took about 10 minutes to get the courage to give myself the shot. Damn, I forgot how much that hurt. By the time I reached the end with Joshua, I was so used to the twice daily encounter with a sharp object, I would have told anyone within earshot that it didn’t hurt at all. I was lying. Or at least I was just temporarily confused about the definition of pain. Or maybe when you are 9 months pregnant, pain is relative because in the near future a giant baby is going to come out of you but only after you experience hours of crushing pain. Yes, that must be it. I heard the tiny voice again when I was disposing of the needle, the one that told me the shots were not necessary. I didn’t listen.
My doctor came back from vacation and promptly began “clandestine ultrasound sessions.” She didn’t want me to be charged for the “quick peeks” as she called them, so we would meet after hours and she would fumble around with the machine until we got a clear picture of my little bean. FYI -most doctors have no idea how to use those machines and it is kind of funny to watch them try to do it because they aren’t used to not knowing how to do something. After a few clandestine meetings, I found myself calming down a bit about the outcome of the pregnancy. It helped that I was feeling so completely awfull.
I had been sick with all but my first pregnancy, the one that ended at 14 weeks. I was more sick with my successful pregnancies than the ones that ended in miscarriage, however, even with Isaac and Joshua I was not so sick that I couldn’t function. This pregnancy was proving to be a difficult one. I could barely make it through the day and by 6:30 each evening I was on the bed moaning in discomfort. I didn’t do much throwing up, but I spent roughly 16 hours a day feeling like I was going to at any moment. In some ways, this nausea comforted my heart about the outcome of the pregnancy. However, once you have lost babies the only thing that really helps is hearing that little heartbeat on a regular basis or feeling the baby move around you like a glorious little silverfish swimming in your belly.
At my 10 week “quick peek” with my doctor I found myself almost as nervous as I was during my very first ultrasound. This had been the stage where I had gazed one time too many at the little gummy bear shape of my baby and failed to see a beating heart. The anticipation and near consuming negativity were beating like tandem drums in my head. I was far enough along that my waist was starting to thicken and I had very nearly settled on the reality that this pregnancy might actually produce, dare I say it, a baby. When she loaded my bloated tummy with warm gel she was chatting about something inane, so much less on the line in the next 30 seconds for her than for me. The first glance stopped my heart, there was the “gummy bear” but I couldn’t see the heartbeat, I physically felt her suck in her breathe, preparing for the ugly part of her job.
Just then, little Gummy waved.
Here is what he/she looked like:
This ultrasound calmed my anxious heart in ways words cannot express. I left the appointment and headed home for the day, feeling much more assured things were on the right track. The next day I was off to Target to get my Lovenox prescription filled. For those of you who have never had to deal with Lovenox, let me tell you it is not something that insurance companies like. Before insurance the drug costs about $1100 a month. My last insurance was amazing and after convincing them that I in fact needed it, all I paid was a $20 co-pay. This is what I was expecting this time.
When the clerk smiled and said “that will be $238.60″ I almost fell over, this was for a 1 month supply! Since we moved last year, things have been really tight financially. A couple of years ago I wouldn’t have blinked at that amount but on this day, my jaw dropped open and my mind went into full panic mode. I told the clerk that I needed to think about it and I would come back.
I stumbled out of the store, telling myself that I didn’t know what to do but I did.
Part 3 tomorrow!Read More