My doctor had told me I could bring Bobby to the ultrasound if I wanted to, but since I was so early there wasn't a whole lot to see (other than his wife getting probed by a dildo...). I decided I wanted him there. He's always up for getting out of work, and gets a ridiculous amount of paid time off specifically designated for doctor visits and such. It wasn't so much that I wanted him to “see” the baby, since it’s barely a fuzzy blob at this point, I wanted him there in case I didn’t see anything.
So many times during the last few weeks, I imagined this appointment. The tech getting everything ready, condoming and lubing the wand, inserting it...and silence. She’d look at me with raised eyebrows. Ask me what the heck I was doing there, there was absolutely nothing inside of me. Not even a blip on the screen, and certainly not a baby. Couldn’t I read a pregnancy test right?!
Or more likely, she’d find that fuzzy blob, but it would be too small. No heartbeat. It was there, but it wasn’t alive. I wanted Bobby there in case I had to hear that news. I had specifically scheduled the appointment for a day with no volleyball games or practice because I wasn’t sure I could be a decent coach after hearing that news.
As I walked into the clinic, I realized I didn’t actually know where I was supposed to go. I wasn’t seeing my doctor, so I didn’t know if I would still go the Family Practice/OBGYN section. I was born with a hole in my heart, so I had ultrasounds growing up to make sure it was closing properly...but that was always done downstairs in Radiology. Is that where they ultrasounded (not a verb? who knows) babies too? Or just hearts?
We walked upstairs to the OBGYN section. I told the receptionist I had an appointment for an ultrasound, but I wasn’t sure I was in the right place.
She got this sweet, motherly look on her face, “Are you pregnant?”
In the past, I had only ever answered that question with a guffaw. I was certainly NOT pregnant! I paused, and smiled, a little embarrassed, and nodded.
“Then you’re in the right place.” She smiled kindly and took the rest of my information. It was crazy! People actually believed that I was pregnant. I wasn’t just making this up!
The tech brought Bobby and me back to a tiny room, gave me a sheet for my legs, told me to empty my bladder and strip from the waist down, and left. I obeyed, though everything felt strange. Like Bobby was joining me for my annual pap smear or something (which he likes to call “pap schmear,” as in the stuff you put on bagels. The guy’s a little weird). It didn’t feel like we were really doing this...I mean, we don’t do things like this! This is not our life!
Bobby kept reminding me, “No matter what, we’re going to be fine. We’re still a team.” Obviously meaning, even if there’s no heartbeat, I won’t hate you for not being pregnant. Since the room was so small, he was behind me on a chair, and I was on the table, which took up 70% of the room. I couldn’t see him at all and he could only see the top of my head and my knees up in stirrups—not my face. The screen was mounted on the wall near the ceiling. I focused completely on that.
The tech was great. She was young and nice and adept with the dildo cam. Immediately after she put it in, she focused the screen. “This is the yolk sac right here,” she said, indicating with an arrow on the screen. “And this is the egg sac.” These were basically meaningless to me, they just looked like blobs, but I was relieved to see there was at least something in there, and I hadn’t just wasted her time. “And this tiny little dot right here is your baby.”
I’m pretty sure I exhaled a breath I’d been holding the last two years. There was a baby. A baby!? Inside of me. It seemed like a mistake. I wasn’t sure how, but maybe I was actually looking at the transmission of some neighboring transvaginal ultrasound. “And this little flicker right here? That’s baby’s heartbeat.” It had a heartbeat. It was alive. I tried to act like a sane person and not like I was shocked it had a heartbeat. The tech had obviously expected everything to be fine, and I was a maniac who was waiting for someone to tell me this had all been a joke.
The heartbeat was 115 bpm (Bobby keeps saying 115 miles per hour...), and I asked if that was good. She said, “Yes, that’s very good.” Anyone know? I’m trying not to excessively Google it.
She took tons of measurements and photos and poked around at my ovaries. She seemed satisfied with it, and told me my doctor will call me eventually and go over it with me. When she was done, she handed me a strip of photos with the word “BABY” and an arrow pointing to a fuzzy blob that looks like a tiny dinosaur.
Dr. G. told me at my last appointment that a heartbeat is a huge milestone. That a “significant number” of miscarriages were pregnancies that never got off the ground—something abnormal with either the sperm or egg and never created a decent embryo and never got to the point of having a heartbeat. Once it had a heartbeat, the chances of miscarriage dropped “exponentially.” Now, these aren’t really numbers, and I didn’t ask for real statistics, but I guess it helped a little, and made some sense (except I hadn’t seen a heartbeat yet, so I was terrified of not seeing one). And I’m sure these statistics do absolutely nothing to comfort those who have had a miscarriage after seeing a heartbeat, because while “exponentially” fewer, they still exist. And I can only imagine how much that sucks.
So...we passed the heartbeat milestone. What now? I haven’t gained any weight, but the bloating is unreal. I’m sure I haven’t gained because I’m not eating enough. All I can handle are simple carbs, which I know are terrible. Fruit and vegetables are out of the question. Meat is so gross right now. I’m mostly subsisting on waffles, pop tarts and Ramen noodles. Hello, college diet! I still haven’t actually thrown up yet, but I’m still nauseated all the time. The pooping is now mostly under control (thank goodness). Also I’m drinking a gallon of water a day. I’m so thirsty and so tired. I’m sleeping through the night really well, which means I pee for like 3 straight minutes every morning. At least I haven’t wet the bed!
I’m ready to be done being sick and I’m ready to tell people so they can give me a break for being sick. Bobby’s been awesome, and totally enabling my laziness. He’s doing most of the cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and letting me lie on the couch and be a bloated whale. It totally makes up for “schmear” and 115 mph heartbeat.