My whole fifth pregnancy had been normal and healthy. I had an early ultrasound at about 6 weeks that showed a healthy heartbeat and baby. Two more ultrasounds followed, one at about 11 weeks and one at 15 weeks. Our little one was active and fun to watch on the screen, and I was feeling good with minimal morning sickness.
Before bedtime on the night before my routine 20 week ultrasound, I decided to get out my home Doppler and listen to the baby. I had done this several times, but hadn’t in at least a couple weeks because all pregnancy worry had pretty much disappeared now that I was well into my second trimester. My four older children were up on my bed with me, and we found the heartbeat right away like usual, beating in the 150s. We talked about how excited we were for the next morning, June 8, to find out if we were having a girl or a boy.
Monday morning. The ultrasound tech called us back, and asked all the fun questions about our family and baby plans as she got me ready for the scan. She looked at the placenta first. I remember thinking to myself, wow she is really taking her time to look at the placenta. She moved on to the baby’s bladder and then brain. She started asking me questions. Do I feel baby move a lot? When was my last prenatal appointment? When was I supposed to see my doctor again? I started to feel heat rushing through me and my body tingle, as these questions had a concerned tone to them. Suddenly she pulled off the ultrasound probe, and told me to use the bathroom quick and then we would finish up the ultrasound. I felt so weird. Something didn’t feel right. I came back to the room and she wasn’t in there. I said to my husband, “I feel like something is wrong. Why do I feel like something is wrong?” Joe said, “So do I.”
The door opened and the tech came in with a doctor. I said, “Something’s wrong.” And they both nodded slowly the doctor saying, “Yes, we think so.” She started up the ultrasound again. This time she went straight to the baby’s heart and zoomed in on it. She turned on the sound, and I saw the white line running flat on the bottom of the screen. We listened. No sound of a beating heart. She moved and got another angle of the baby’s heart and again, we saw no movement and no tones.
The doctor started talking, but I interrupted, “I JUST heard the baby last night at home.” I kept asking, “Is this for real? Is this really real?” and I was told, yes, this really is real and happening. They had already contacted my doctor and she was expecting me when we made our way over to the clinic. I felt like they were talking to someone else. Did this really just happen? Is this really me laying on this bed? This can’t be me they are talking to. I felt so disconnected from reality right then.
The doctor stepped out and just the tech was in there with us. She wanted to take more pictures for us, if we were ok with it. I still was in shock. Really, this couldn’t be true. The heart will be beating now when we see it again. But it was not. We saw again, the stillness of the heart. No movements from the baby’s little legs and arms. We wanted to know if it was a boy or girl, and we saw he was a boy. Before leaving for the clinic to see my doctor, we sat in the empty room. Joe prayed. I couldn’t talk with the tears. How could my baby have died just like that? He was just alive.