Two years ago at this time I was in the emergency room. Again. Only it wasn’t supposed to happen this time. It was supposed to be our time. We were supposed to hear the cries of our first born in 7 1/2 months. We were supposed to be able to look into the eyes of our newborn baby and feel everything you’re supposed to feel. We were supposed to be able to hold our baby, count all her little toes and fingers, and bring her home this time. So why are we here? Again?
As we drove that familiar drive to the hospital something did feel different this time than the others. For some reason I felt maybe it will be okay. Maybe things will work out. For whatever reason, I don’t think this hospital visit will end like the others. I kept this silent because we’d been down this road a few times now, and I didn’t want my husband holding on to any hope that wouldn’t be real. Instead we drove in silence feeling the all too familiar panic, fright, and sorrow.
Lying in that room, in that bed, in that gown again feeling desperate to find some hope and strength. Knowing this feeling all too well. The guilt sets in. What did I do wrong, what should I have done differently, I can’t believe my husband and family have to go through all the devastation again. The selfishness sets in. How can I go through this again, how do I get past this this time when it was supposed to be safe, how do we move forward, how do we not give up hope, how do I tell people what happened? Again.
Tests were run, blood was drawn, things were being monitored. It’s been over an hour. Why can’t I just get an answer? Will my baby be okay?
“We’re going to take you for an ultrasound now. But just to assure you. We almost never hear a heartbeat this early,” says the stranger with some sadness already in her eyes.
I know this speech. I’ve heard it a few times. I’ve been to the ultrasound with no heartbeat. And the one two weeks later. I’ve been to the ultrasound with nothing to be seen growing. I’ve been to the ultrasound where something is there, but growth is not happening. Will this be the same? Do I still have hope that this time will be different? I feel like I’ve already made a bond with this baby. Please don’t take her from me. Please. Not Again.
The hallway was stark white, endless, and cold. So cold. The wheel was squeaking and music was playing yet everything was silent. The nurse and I had no conversation. Why? Did she know? Was she afraid of what we’d see? Or what we wouldn’t see? Or what we wouldn’t hear? Was she preparing what she was going to say to me? We reached the end of the hall and entered a room. It was small, cluttered, dark, and colder than the hallways. It was so dark in there. The glow of the screen seemed to be the only light. The screen that would tell me how the rest of my journey would go. As she was preparing for the ultrasound I wanted to ask her to stop.
I don’t want to do this. I’m not ready to hear what you’re about to tell me. I want to hold on to this one for just one more day. Just one more day. I love this baby. We’ve already bonded. I don’t know how, but we did. I’m not ready to say good-bye. Please stop. But I didn’t ask.
It was so quiet except for my heart beating. Faster and faster. Louder and louder. Swirling wind and stampeding horses. It was loud, it was strong, it was happy. It was not my heartbeat that I was hearing. It was my baby’s heartbeat, and I was hearing it for the first time. “And that. Is your baby’s strong heartbeat,” says the now smiling stranger with relief and happiness in her eyes while giving my hand a gentle squeeze.
I cannot put the feeling into words. There aren’t any. That moment was a moment where time stood still. That feeling will never be forgotten. Miracles do happen.
The nurse wheeled me back to the room where my husband was waiting. The hall didn’t seem so long anymore. Or so cold. I will have more than just today with her. I’m going to have a lot more days with her. The only thing better than that moment was seeing my husband’s face when I was able to tell him that “I heard the heartbeat! I heard our baby’s heartbeat!”
Sometimes we’re taken down paths that we have no answers as to why. Sometimes we may find out the answers and sometimes we don’t. All I know is, if I didn’t go down the path I did, I wouldn’t be rocking Ava to sleep every night. And that is a journey I couldn’t live without.