“Baby is there….but there is no heartbeat.”
I held my breath and squeezed Matt’s hand tighter. My entire being sunk. I felt Matt’s hand tighten. She removed the ultrasound wand and apologized that she needed to call in an ultrasound specialist to confirm her findings. Tears started rolling down our faces. I stifled my cries.
Less than a minute later the specialist came to the room and confirmed what the midwife had said.
“I am so sorry,” the specialist said as she left. Our midwife said they would all step outside so I could change and would be back in a few minutes to talk through what’s next with us. When everyone but Matt left, I got up from the table and sobbed from the depths of my soul as I got redressed.
I never knew pain like that existed, soul-piercing pain that left you feeling so empty inside. Matt and I held each other as we cried and cried for what seemed like ages in the dimly lit exam room. I don’t know if our nurse stood outside to listen until it seemed like we composed ourselves a little more, but when we did, she came back in to sit with us. Previously to me needing to go to the bathroom she had started filling out information about me. I could still see the form open on her computer but all seemed so unimportant now.
I’m so thankful for our nurse and I truly believe God placed her as our nurse that day. She exited out of the form on the computer and sat with us as we cried, providing tissues when needed. She wasn’t uncomfortable with our brokenness and weeping, but embraced us and let us grieve. When we came to another point were we could compose ourselves and be more coherent to the information that would be given to us, she went to get the midwife.
Our midwife came back in to talk us through what needed to happen next.
“You are bleeding a lot because your cervix is dialated quite a bit. Your body is trying to pass the baby. Now, we can either do a D&C, or we can give you medication to speed up the process, or we can let the baby pass naturally. The baby is sitting pretty low in your uterus and with the amount of bleeding you have, I don’t think you’ll have to wait very long if you wanted to let the baby pass naturally.”
We talked through our options, the pros and cons of each. Not wanting my body to be affected negatively in any way by any medications or procedures (and partly out of hope and desperation that the ultrasound was wrong), we decided to opt to let the baby pass naturally. Our midwife told us how very sorry she was and reiterated over and over again that it was not our fault. As she was leaving, I asked her if they had taken a photo of the baby. She said yes and I asked her if I could have it. She stepped outside for a brief moment and returned with the ultrasound photo. I cradled it in my hands for a few moments before sticking it in between the pages of my Bible that I carried in my purse.
When our midwife left, our nurse sat with us again. Looking back, I’m in awe of how okay she was with our sadness. She helped us schedule a follow-up appointment with the midwife in a week and then gave us a bag that the hospital gave to patients in our situation.
“This is a toilet hat,” she said as she showed us the contents of the bag, “place it in the toilet and every time you go, go in it. If the baby happens to pass, the baby will fall into the toilet hat and not into the toilet.” I deeply appreciated getting this because I couldn’t stand the thought of our already dead baby ending up in a toilet.
“This is a little container to put the baby in once the baby passes,” she continued, “and this is a little cloth bag to put the container in.” My tears started again. “And this is a little baby blanket to commemorate your baby, because your baby is your child and you cared for and loved this baby.” I started weeping uncontrollably.
After she had given us these things, she gave us more tissues, hugged us, and walked us out. Instead of making us walk through the waiting room full of happy, pregnant women and their families, she guided us down a back hallway used mainly by doctors, that took us straight to the elevators, bypassing the waiting room. We walked hand-in-hand, got into the elevators, walked to the parking garage, got in the car and left the hospital.