Several weeks prior to our appointment, the scene from Marley and Me when John and Jennifer Grogan attend their first ultrasound appointment kept appearing in my head. The one when Jennifer Aniston's character, Jennifer, says, "Is there anything in there?", after minutes of silence pass as the ultrasound technician conducts the ultrasound with a concerned look on her face. Although that scene haunted my mind, I chose to dismiss it - choosing in that moment not dwell on fear and instead turn my deepest fears and worries over to my Creator through prayer. I had even mentioned this image to a few friends and my husband prior to ultrasound, but their encouraging and supportive words eased my mind.
Nevertheless, although I was so incredibly excited, fear still lingered within my heart as I entered the door to my doctor's office. I felt a certain nervous excitement, which made me even more thankful that my husband by my side. We had only been sitting down for about five minutes before the nurse called my name. We headed to the room where the ultrasound would be conducted. After updating some medical history and getting my blood pressure checked, the nurse assured us that the doctor would be in shortly.
As our doctor entered the room, my nervous excitement momentarily increased..."This is it", I thought to myself. She introduced herself and I introduced my husband. Then without hesitation she motioned me to come over to the bed so we could begin the ultrasound. She got the machine ready and put the warm ointment on my belly and began moving the wand back and forth. I looked at the screen for a few seconds then choose to look at my husband instead because my full fledged fear of what may or may not be seen momentarily overwhelmed me.
"There's your baby", the doctor said after what seemed to be ten to fifteen minutes, although it was probably only five in reality. I looked longingly with some peace. Although to be honest, I had no idea what I was supposed to be looking at, everything seemed jumbled and unclear. She continued to move the wand back and forth and I watched her as her eyebrows communicated that she was concentrating intensely, searching for something that should be found.
Again, my fear overcame me and I choose to look in the opposite direction. Eventually after a long silence, she said, "I cannot find your baby's heartbeat so I'm going to send you to the hospital for another ultrasound. Their technology is better than ours and there are times when they can find it when I can't." I choked back my tears momentarily, but as soon as she left the room I looked at my husband and they began to flow freely. I am certain that he could see the fear plastered on my face.
In my mind I thought, "This is my worst fear coming to life." My husband attempted to encourage me by sharing that he thought he saw movement on the screen where the heartbeat was supposed to be. I attempted to receive his words, but all I could think was, "Oh no...This is exactly what I feared would happen." Although my heart was full of a million emotions and my mind was afflicted by fear, I began praying asking for God to help us.
As we traveled the short trip to the hospital, I sent one text message to my best friend asking for prayer. Fogginess began to descend upon me as we walked through the hospital hallways. After lines and paperwork, we finally made our way to the radiology area. Shortly after we sat down, my phone rang. It was my dad. I began sobbing as I told him that we were at the hospital and struggled through my tears to repeat the words that the doctor had said.
Soon after, my name was called and my husband and I made our way back to the room where they conducted ultrasounds. The technician explained that she would not be able to give us any information while we were there today, but that we were to report to our doctor's office afterwards to hear the results. We shook our heads in acknowledgement and agreement.
I found myself yet again having the warm ointment squirted onto my belly. They took picture after picture and I attempted to wait patiently. But by now my bladder was so full, it was aching. I closed my eyes in an attempt to escape my present reality, and began talking to God about our present circumstances with short, repetitive statements. I do not remember everything we talked about in that moment, but I do remember saying, "If this is really happening, I know You'll help us get through this." And although I meant it with all my heart, deep down I hoped that by some miracle our baby would have heartbeat.
After both types of ultrasounds, traditional and transvaginal, we made our way out to the hospital parking lot. As we were walking to our car, I said to my husband, "Can we just go home instead of going back to the doctor's office?" It was a rhetorical question, but that's really what my heart wanted. I did not want to go back to the doctor's office to hear what I thought was coming. I wanted to avoid that conversation with all that was in me. Plus, I was already so exhausted emotionally and physically, I did not feel like I could even survive the conversation.
After submitting to reality, we headed to my doctor's office, checked in at the front desk, and waited in the lobby for what seemed like an eternity. It was one of the longest moments in my life. My husband checked Facebook and I played Bubble Breaker on my phone in an attempt to not think about what felt like impending news. Finally, my name was called and although I did not want to hear what I thought was coming, I really wanted to know what the results were.
After we entered the room, the doctor came in and began speaking aloud my worst nightmare, "The hospital confirmed what I thought to be true, your baby does not have a heartbeat." She then proceeded to say many more things that I tried to listen to wide-eyed in a feeble attempt to hold back the tears. After she finished, she walked out to get something. I looked at my husband and lost it, yet again. He came over and stood by me as I leaned my head on his leg sobbing.
After we left, I felt simultaneously numb and sad beyond belief, and so incredibly exhausted. I had never experienced something so heartbreaking before. I had never experienced my worst nightmare actually come to life. Yes, I had experienced painful things before and had fears and worries come to life, but never my worst nightmare. My heart was broken. Yet my heart clung to the prayer I had spoken earlier, the promise that God would take care of us even in the midst of this.