The elevator opens to a woman about my age. She looks tired and happy. Her belly is round, and it reminds me of taking the same elevator up to our second floor OBGYN and hearing Hudson’s heartbeat before we met him face to face. But this time is different. I look at the expectant mama with envy as she rests her right hand on her growing tummy. I have spent the last several months praying to be in her shoes – in this elevator. But a surge of bright red interrupted our morning.
I sign in at the reception desk, but she doesn’t ask me to pee in a cup this time. Just wait and the nurse practitioner will be with me shortly. The medical assistant ushers me back and before long the provider delicately explains to me that we can try again in another month. That the miscarriage isn’t my fault. That it could simply be the result of a chromosomal misfire or improper implantation. I can feel the pressure of my eyes welling and know when I open my mouth, I won’t be able to keep the tears from spilling over, but I ask anyway, “Am I naïve to think that maybe it’s not that?”
She placates me with a diplomatic sort of answer while advising against an ultrasound, “Sometimes it’s just too hard to” she trails as she carefully selects her words, “to have a visual of what you’re losing.”
I tell her I want one anyway, and when I leave the office, I turn away from the elevator and instead open a heavy steel door to an empty stairwell. My legs crumple. I sit and quietly sob.
The sonographer doesn’t say a word – just diligently takes measurements.
“Is that a heartbeat?” The technician doesn’t respond, so I pretend the question is directed to Ryan. I think how stupid it is that just last night we deliberated over potential baby names.
Finally, the radiologist enters the room, and we learn that perhaps our nurse practitioner shouldn’t have been so quick to diagnose. She ups our chances to 50/50 after explaining that a large sub-chorionic hematoma (blood clot inside the sac) is to blame for the hemorrhage. That coupled with a slow heartbeat means all we can do is wait and see. Oh P.S. I suck at that. Over the subsequent weeks, a couple of blood tests, and an ultrasound later, we breathe a sigh of relief just in time for Thanksgiving. This little fighter isn’t going anywhere.
Oh but you guys, if our faith hadn’t been tested enough, the doctor leaves a message on my voicemail the Monday after Christmas. Upon returning her call, I shake Ryan awake. I can’t fit the words she is saying into my brain. I definitely can’t fit them into my plan for our future. Our little fighter’s Down Syndrome screening came back positive. She says we can come in to discuss our options. Groggy eyed and with Hudson in tow, we arrive at her office. Hudson spills granola on the floor in front of her desk while she describes the measurements and markers that led to her finding. Five needle pricks later with a brief intermission for water and crackers, we are left to wait. Again. Meanwhile a lab in San Diego pulls my blood apart searching for chromosomes until a week and a half later a medical assistant calls, and I can finally cry big fat tears of joy. Normal. The previous screening had given a false positive.
And oh by the way, those lab guys didn’t find any Y chromosomes. Just a couple of XXs. I’ve been online shopping for tiny dresses ever since.3