1.07.2013

Empty Ultrasound


With my new hormone prescription, I begin a monthly injection of a drug that essentially shuts-down my lady parts, as well as an order for a pelvic ultrasound the following morning. 
Like a normal person, I associate ultrasounds with pregnancy.  

My first pelvic ultrasound took place 6 weeks after I learned I was pregnant with my son; it was a standard check on the viability and health of the pregnancy - and it was one of the most joyous days of my life.
We had been trying to get pregnant for several months, approaching a year, and we’re starting to get consumed with fears and yearning. I was extremely happy when that home pregnancy test was finally positive, but I was also nervous and set my eyes upon the first ultrasound, where they check for the heartbeat, as the real indictor of what was to come. (If a heartbeat develops on schedule, the chances of miscarrying decrease drastically.)

I couldn’t wait to see that tiny little heart pulsing on the monitor and was in a state of pure euphoria when it did. The memories of that joyous day are clear: what my little gummy bear looked like bouncing around in there, what I was wearing, how big Bobby smiled, the flavors of celebratory ice cream we ordered at the ice cream parlor afterward. It was beautiful; it was happiness.
The second such ultrasound of my uterus took place on week 2 of my second round of chemotherapy, under considerably less pleasant circumstances. After 4 days of unnaturally heavy bleeding, I was a deathly anemic cancer patient being checked for fibroids or other abnormalities that might explain my extreme reaction in response to the chemo’s alteration of my hormones.   

My mother and I sat in the waiting room amongst a slew of pregnant women and tried not to be cut by the sadness of my visit in contrast with theirs. This was a demon I had already faced - many times. 
My husband and I had just begun trying for our second child when my health took a dive and began the process of uprooting our life plans. Every medical center I have entered over the last 8 months has had an OB-GYN office within. It’s been cruel. 

I have jealously watched an unhealthy number of adorably pregnant women walk down hallways or enter elevators on the way to their check-ups. “That is why I should be here,” I think. Every time I look up from my little nightmare and upon a round belly, I am tormented with longing. I want to slump down in a ball and scream, “Give me what she has!”
So, as it was, I was far ahead of my mother in coming to terms with that unpleasant contrast on this morning. Nonetheless, nothing prepared me for the torment I was about to endure upon getting the ultrasound.

I entered the little room and climbed onto the table, just as I remembered doing for my previous such visit. The technician, the doctor, and a third woman in scrubs all peered at their computer monitor at my side and discussed what they were seeing in my insides.
My head turned to the opposite direction, where a second monitor was set-up for patient viewing. I was curious to take a peek in there too, maybe attempt to follow their conversation. (Creative measures are necessary in withstanding the dullness of medical appointments.)

When my gaze hit the screen, a stab of sadness sliced into me so completely I stopped breathing. There it was, that same round sack, the inside of my uterus, in black and white, up on the screen. But it was empty. Painfully empty; no gummy bear bouncing around, no tiny pulsing heart. No joy.
I had to look away.

My heart is breaking.

6 comments:

  1. This made me think of all the women who miscarry and have to see their lifeless baby in that spot. very, very, sad

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  2. I'm brought to tears with every entry. To hear the details of what you went through and not just the facts breaks my heart.

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  3. It is a bit of a terrible read right now, isn't it Steph? Well, doesn't it just make the joy that is around the corner so much more amazing?

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  4. I'm so sorry for what I have just read, Jennifer. Sadness filled my heart when I read that your second attempt to have a child wasn't successful. With your current situation, I'm sure that it would have made everything a bit lighter and have another reason to look forward to. It is unfortunate, but things happen and perhaps, it still isn't the right time to have another baby. Don't lose hope, everything will get better soon!

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  5. Thank you so much Willow. And you are so right! This was a very difficult season in my life, but turns beautiful and the amazing story of my second child is coming. Everything does get better!

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