The Beginning

On Thursday, I was tired and didn’t feel great, so I went to bed without my normal house clean up.  I don’t think my not feeling well was anything related, just that we’d had a big party that day and I was tired.

On Friday morning, I woke up at 6:00 in the morning when Matt went to work, like I’ve been doing lately.  I tried to go back to sleep for a while, then I flipped on the television and got my doppler out.  I hadn’t checked with the doppler for a while, about a week, and I was getting concerned that I hadn’t felt movement for a while.  (I felt the first movement at about thirteen and a half weeks, but it was never consistent, so it wasn’t something that I could count on yet.)

Normally, it takes me about thirty seconds to find a heartbeat with my doppler.  This time, I tried and then tried again.  I put it away for a few minutes and I turned on to my side for a while in the hopes that would help.  Then I tried again.  Then I took a shower.  Maybe standing up would help?  Then Elizabeth got up, I put her in the bed with me, turned on a movie for her, and tried one last time.  Then I called the doctor’s office.

They said that oh-it’s-too-early-for-a-home-device-and-too-early-for-movement-etc-etc-reassuring-things, but of course I could come in and they’d have a nurse confirm a heart tone for me.  But they close at noon on Friday, so I’d better be in before then.

Ha.  We left ten minutes later.

I went downstairs and looked at the giant mess.  In my head, I specifically said “now this is why you clean every night.”  Because I knew I wasn’t coming back.

I sent Matt a quick email because I knew he wasn’t at work, he had gone in early and then left for a doctor’s appointment.  He called me a few minutes later and said that he got out of his appointment early and he wasn’t too far away, he’d meet me there.

I packed Elizabeth a snack for breakfast and loaded her in the car.  My doctor’s office is in the same building as the hospital and only four minutes away from my house.  I signed in, putting “heartbeat check” on the line for Doctor You Are Seeing.

I waited about a half an hour, while Elizabeth played with her toys and ate a little of her snack.  Matt walked in the door about one minute before they called me back.

I explained to the nurse again why I was there.  The hardest part is explaining that I have an actual doppler at home.  They don’t seem to understand it is exactly the same kind of equipment that they are holding in their hand at the moment.

The first nurse tried, but only managed to pick up my heartbeat and placenta sounds.  She went and got a different nurse.  I explained again that I have a real doppler, the earliest I’ve found a heartbeat with it is eleven weeks, and yes, I’ve found one with this baby before this.  And no, it isn’t one of those cheap machines that is basically a stethoscope and only works from twenty weeks on.  This nurse told me that my kid didn’t like her because it was hiding from her and she’d go see if the doctor wanted to try or if they’d just move us across the hall to the ultrasound machine.  She came back a minute later and moved us.

The technician came in with the first nurse and they decided I was far enough along for the abdominal ultrasound.  They brought up the picture, both on their screen and the big screen mounted on the wall.

And it was still- so still.

I looked at Matt and shook my head.

The tech’s face got very blank.  She looked and looked and looked and then finally said, “I am not seeing any cardiac activity, I am going to go get the doctor.”  The doctor came in almost immediately and apologized and they ultrasounded some more, trying to see if there was anything to see. There were several pockets of fluid around the placenta, but since the baby measured about a week behind, we don’t know if they were there first and were the cause, or if they developed after.

We talked about what we could do.  We had three options.  Wait.  Induce.  Or D&C.  Waiting sounded like torture to me and to Matt and also carried with it lots of risks of bleeding out at home and such problems.  D&C also carried some problems because of how far along I was and how things were situated.  I had pretty good risks of bleeding too much and of uterine scarring which would cause us more problems with any future pregnancies and increase our risks of bad things happening in the future.  Induction was the most involved, but the safest health-wise.  And we preferred that it offered us the opportunity for some closure.

We then had to decide when to induce.  Since it was Friday, it was best to either do it immediately, or wait over the weekend.  It was helpful that Matt was already there and that since the weekend was coming up, he could be there the whole time without having to take too much time off work and he’d be able to use the time off that he did get for when we got home.  (Which he did.)  We decided to do it then.  Neither of us wanted to go home and just sit there, knowing.  We walked over to the hospital side of the building with paperwork and sat in the waiting room.  We debated which friend to call to pick up Elizabeth, based on what was going on with each of them (one had a sick kid and one had a broken foot and a scheduled birthday party- they ended up getting together with each other and taking turns).  Matt and Elizabeth came up with me to the room (they gave me the best room in the hospital) and waited for a little while.  Eventually, we got tired of Elizabeth pushing all the buttons in the room, including the nurse call button, over and over, and Matt took her home to get stuff and get her to someone else.

I was started on medicine and twenty minutes later, my water broke.