Apr 14, 2011

The longest hour of my entire life

Yesterday, 9:31 a.m.
I was sitting on the exam table in my OB's office, waiting on the nurse to come in and check me out at my 9:15 a.m. 16-week visit. I was 12 pages into a David Baldacci book I received two Christmases ago but hadn't yet gotten around to starting.
9:36 a.m.
Nurse Deann walked in with the Doppler and got down to business, spreading the lotion on my tummy to listen to the baby's heartbeat.
9:39 a.m.
Deann heard plenty of MY heartbeat but wasn't able to hear the baby's, no matter how long she listened or how firmly she pushed the Doppler around my midsection. She said brightly, "No worries! We'll just have Dr. S do it when he comes in. Give him a few minutes and he'll be with you." I responded, "I'm not freaked out … this happened to me several times before with the other pregnancies."
9:42 a.m.
I was back to reading again, not worried, just waiting on the doctor to come in.
9:47 a.m.
Dr. S came in and set me up again for the Doppler. Round and round and round he went. I was slightly more nervous when he got no results, just because it's unusual for two people to be unable to hear that distinct, faster whooshing over my own heartbeat.
9:50 a.m.
I asked, "Can we set up an ultrasound just to be sure everything's okay?" He said, "That's exactly what we'll do. Just sit tight while I go set up the room."
9:58 a.m.
He came back and got me, and we walked around the corner to the ultrasound room, which they really don't use anymore because there's a whole separate office that does them now, one floor below his office. However, he'd turned the machine on and gotten it ready so that we could have some peace of mind without the hassle of setting up with the office downstairs.
10 a.m.
He opted for the transvaginal ultrasound so that he could get really close to the baby, as opposed to the external kind where they smear the lotion on your tummy and get a view from the top. Deann was in there with us, and it was silent for a few minutes. The monitor wasn't turned toward me, but I craned my head to see it. I saw no movement, nothing that looked like a baby at all. You could have heard a pin drop.
10:05 a.m.
Dr. S said, "See, here's your bladder, here are some intestines. Here's your uterus, and I don't … SEE anything in there."
B   O   O   M   .
10:06 a.m.
Dr. S: "Have you had any bleeding, cramping or contractions?"
Me: "No. Nothing like that at all."
Silence, silence and more silence while he looked, probed, did everything he could to find evidence that the little person I've been praying for all this time was still there.

To his credit, he didn't placate me by saying something like, "Everything's fine. It's going to be okay." He kept it real. He knew that everything might NOT be okay.
Dr. S: "This is just so strange … we saw the healthy baby at 12 weeks and we heard a strong heartbeat two weeks ago."
Me: "Is it possible that even with all of that, that it could just be … gone? Like, could it have somehow reabsorbed into my body without me having any signs of miscarriage or anything?"
Dr. S: "It doesn't happen frequently, especially at this stage in a pregnancy, but yes, it's possible. I just don't see a baby there."
Deann reached out and held my hand.
10:13 a.m.
Dr. S said, "I'm not going to be the final word on this. Deann, call down to high-risk and get their ultrasound tech up here. Katherine, we're going to take another look. Give us a few minutes to get it set up with the tech from downstairs."

I prayed and I prayed and I prayed. I didn't do any bargaining with God; I just prayed that he would show us the baby, that the baby was safe. I wasn't willing to give up yet.
10:15 a.m.
Deann couldn't get them on the phone, so she ran down the stairs, explained our situation, and as soon as the tech finished the patients she was working on, she came back up. Meanwhile, Dr. S stayed with me, God bless him.

My mind was filled with 3,000 thoughts. "The boys are going to be devastated. How can we tell them we lost the baby? My sister will be so sad. We're just going to be a family of five. We'll still fit in a booth with a chair at one end. Instead of moving Jake in with Nicholas and Nathaniel to his own room, we'll leave things as they are. I'm going to sell my maternity clothes and all the boys' old clothes. Will I have to have a D&C? How will I go back to work today? I'm not going back to work for the rest of the week."
It went on and on and on without ceasing, equal parts out-of-control stream of consciousness and purposeful prayer, until the door opened again.
10:29 a.m.
The high-risk ultrasound tech arrived and set me up transvaginally again. And again, you could have heard a pin drop in the room. Now we had Dr. S, Deann, a nurse I'd never met before, the high-risk tech, and me. Crowded room, all of us hoping for good news. The tech's lips were clamped shut as she began, and her face was stoic.
10:31 a.m.
The ultrasound tech said, "I see some movement."
"I see a heartbeat."
"It looks good."
Deann squeezed my hand tightly, tears flowing. For the first time since this horrid little adventure began, I felt tears sliding down my own face, into my hair and onto the exam table.
I cocked my finger and thumb at Dr. S like a gun and said loudly, "YOU'RE FIRED!" (I was kidding. Mostly.)
The tech said, "It's pushed really far to one side of the uterus, which is probably why you couldn't find it or hear the heartbeat before, but it looks great. Look at it moving!"
"AWWW. It's waving at you!"
And sure enough, the baby had raised its right hand, turned it straight at the camera, and was waving it slowly side to side.
"I might have been hard to find, Mama, but here I am! Here I am! I am still here."
10:41 a.m.
Dr. S walked me down the hall to the checkout desk, hand on my shoulder, two fingers on his own neck and said, "Shew. I think my pulse is finally starting to slow down."
I said, "I'm happy for both of us. I'm happy I'm leaving with good news, and I'm happy you didn't have to tell me bad news. Let's call it a good day."
10:54 a.m.
I sat in the Chick-fil-A drive-through and ordered a chocolate milkshake before 11:00 BECAUSE I DESERVED IT.


Tamar SB said...

Oh Katherine! You made my heart drop but I am so glad you had a very very happy ending! This baby is already showing the boys that he/she is already really good at hide and seek! Hope you're heart beat is back to normal and that you enjoyed that milk-shake - you deserved it!!!


Jenny said...

SO happy everything is okay! What a nightmare!

Mandy's Memories said...

Katherine, that had to be a horrible experience! Praise God the baby is ok :)

Maureen said...

So relieved for you. I'm 16 weeks tomorrow, so just reading this has my blood pressure up. I think you deserved that milkshake and more!

Rachel said...

Oh my goodness. You had me in tears. I don't know how you kept yourself together. I'm soo thankful that everything is good! Next time drink a shake for me too!

Catie said...

Oh man. What a morning for you. Glad everything turned out good.

Martha said...

Katherine - how stressful! I know exactly what you were feeling.. .my husband had this EXACT same experience when I was pregnant with my daughter. And I mean EXACTLY - even down to my daughter rolling over on the ultrasound screen, stretching like she had been asleep and didn't understand what the fuss was all about and then waving at us as if she suddenly realized that we were there and she was happy to see us. It was amazing. Stressful and awful but amazing. I'm so relieved that you had a wonderfully happy ending too.

Carry Grace said...

Oh my goodness. I just glad you and baby are both well. We had some scares like that, so I can relate. It's not fun.

I'm glad you enjoyed your milkshake. Maybe next time you'll have to get the milkshake before to wake him/her up before the appt.

Robin said...

Oh my goodness Katherine! My heart was racing 90-to-nothing while reading this! SO THANKFUL your little peanut is OK!

3XMom said...

oh my gosh - I am so sorry you went through that! Glad everything was ok.

Megan said...

Oh my goodness! I was sitting here in total shock and I kept repeating, "Jesus, let it be good news. Let her say that everything is okay!"

Whew! God is good. You definitely deserved that milkshake! Its amazing that I feel like I need one after just reading about your ordeal. Eeek!

RLR said...

I was in tears for you! Glad that everything is ok - whew!

Sewconsult said...

Oh, dear, I hope that your next appointment goes a whole lot calmer that that one. I can only imagine how your mind and heart were racing. I will put in an extra "Katherine prayer" for you. I think you needed more that milkshake. You needed a big ol' bear hug and I hope you got it!


Erin said...

Oh, thank goodness! So glad you got good news. Oh, and a milkshake. You definitely deserved a milkshake.

I had something similar happen when I was 13 weeks after seeing a normal, healthy baby at 12 weeks. Only in my case the u/s tech came in and found twins. Are you kidding me, Dr. Happy Hands? You couldn't even find one? And then someone else came in and found TWO? You're definitely fired. ;-)

Wade's World said...

I'm so crying right now! I was so worried for you reading that. Thank God things were okay!

And you totally deserved that milkshake!

Wanda Wilkinson said...

I sat here reading your blog & literally got sick to my stomach,but I realized about 1/2 through that if something had happened you would not have been writing it on your blog. Glad to know baby & mama are ok.

go back & get a milk shake everyday..you deserve it.

Hope nausea is much better. I spent the afternoon last Wednesday with Patrice & Jonah..I love them so much...take care & stay calm

Love ya

Katie said...

Holy moly! Praise Jesus that everything is ok. I think you deserve a chocolate milkshake every day from here on out!

Melissa said...

I am so glad that everything is okay. I was afraid to keep reading but I kept hoping that there was going to be good news at the end! You are right - you definitely deserved a milkshake and an large order of fries too!

brightleigh said...

OMG Katherine! I found myself praying, praying, praying for you as I read this. I am so sorry you had to endure such a stressful time! I am so very thankful that the baby is okay and that you're okay. I am sending up prayers for you and baby to have a less stressful time from here on out.

Plain Chicken said...

OMG - you deserved 2 milkshakes for that! So glad everything is OK!!

bethjosh said...

so thankful... I was reading faster and faster to get to the end...

Amanda said...

OMGOSH! I was literally crying in class! Thank goodness everything is ok! I am so happy for you :-)

Rachel said...

Oh. My. Goodness!!! I can't imagine!!! You deserve a chocolate milkshake every day for a week!!!

trishandwade said...

Oh my goodness....just cried reading this. I know those feelings you were experiencing all too well, but I'm so glad this one had a happy ending. Glad that baby and mama are doing well.

By the way, as of tomorrow, I'm 14 weeks pregnant. :)

Katherine @ Grass Stains said...

I responded personally to everyone who has an e-mail address on their Google profile ... I so appreciate everyone's concern and thoughts for me! This was definitely the most nerve-wracking thing that's ever happened to me, and I'm just glad it ended happily. You guys are the best!

Green Door Girl said...

Katherine - OMIGOSH - I just read this! I am so glad you said something. I definitely hope that three weeks from now he/she cooperates. Maybe "she" is just modest and didn't want anyone seeing her! :) I am so so glad that everything is fine and you held it together much much better than I would. Huge virtual hugs! I think the shake was TOTALLY warranted!

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