We were 4 days away from being induced. We were at 37 weeks! Today was our last appointment before we were going to meet our baby! I woke up to our dog Penny’s head resting on my belly. It was so sweet, I felt like her and the baby were going to be fast friends. After getting ourselves together, Mitch and I headed to the specialty clinic in Edina for our last growth ultrasound. Walking into the building, we met my nurse Julie who greeted us with a hug and smile, and I told her, “this will be our last time seeing you!” In the waiting room, my favorite sonographer Karen called my name and we headed back to the room.
As Karen put the ultrasound gel on my belly, I joked with her, reminding that we didn't know the baby's gender, saying “We've made it this far, don't screw it up now!” Baby showed up on the big tv screen in front of us and Deep down I knew what was wrong right away. Karen quickly measured my fluid pockets and then put the doppler on baby's heart – there was no sound, just a straight line of static. She said “there's something concerning, I have to get the doctor” and left the room. Mitch asked “what's wrong?” and I calmly said “there's no heartbeat,” not wanting to believe it. A minute later the doctor came in, as he put the wand on my belly he said, “Your baby doesn't have a heartbeat, I'm sorry” and left the room. I just started shaking, crying. Mitch stood up to hold me. I want to say we cried together, but that doesn't even begin to describe the deep pain we felt and shared in this moment. Karen snuck back in the room with tear stained eyes and wrapped us in hugs, as did Julie our nurse with blood shot eyes; they both had been crying in the hallway.
Things I remember hearing:
“I'm so sorry” “We don't know why this happened” “I could still see the structure of the baby's heart”
These wonderful ladies let us know we could leave whenever we were ready. I remember saying, “I don't want to leave this room because then it becomes real.” Eventually, we found the courage to put one foot in front of the other to walk out of the clinic. Walking out into the bright hot sun felt cruel. The sun felt too happy. Eventually we made the long, long drive home. At home, Penny went nuts when we walked in the house, I could sense her worry. In my closet, I stared at my hospital bag and my clothes, wondering what the hell to even pack to go to the hospital to deliver my dead baby. I took the nursing bras and tank tops out that now obviously wouldn't be needed. I took my clementine swaddle out of the diaper bag I had started packing for the hospital. None of the baby clothing I had seemed right to bring with, and I wasn't going to need my pump or anything else, since our baby wasn't going to be born alive. I remember looking around our house in just a daze.
Arriving at the hospital, Mitch parked. How I managed to get out of that car and walk into that hospital is beyond me. I remember thinking as we walked through the front doors, in tears, “Claire said the only happy reason you go to the hospital is to have a baby.” How angry I was at that thought. We took the elevator up to floor 3, familiar to us as we had been up to Labor & Delivery 3 times in the past week for extra monitoring, due to my high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia). Tiffani, the charge nurse came to get us and escorted us back to Birthing Room 6 – in the corner at the end of the hall. Tiffani let us know we could leave and come back, or just think about everything for a bit. We both didn't want to put off the inevitable. Eventually my doctor (Dr McPadden) came in and gave us hugs and we talked through everything. I just sat there with my eyes shut, numb, wishing I could wake up from this bad dream. I felt like I was going to get sick, getting more and more anxious for everything that was to come.