On Wednesday, March 16 I had my 6 month (24 week) doctor's appointment after school. At our last appointment we found out that "it" was now a "she." But more importantly, she was healthy and was growing perfectly. I assumed this appointment would be quick- Dr. Eck would check for a heartbeat, get some measurements and I'd be on my way. I would maybe even have enough time to run to Target afterwards. I drove from Hesston to Hutch, singing along to the radio. I remember wondering if she could hear me sing. I then wondered if I should probably change the station to something else.
Anyways, at the clinic I went into the room quickly (for some reason there were not 5 other women waiting this time) and I laid down, ready to hear our little girl's heartbeat. The nurse came in, we chatted, and she rubbed the doppler around on my belly. Nothing. We joked around, saying that she had found a good hiding spot. I even told the nurse, "I don't blame her for hiding. She's probably hiding from the noise of my students." She pushed around for a little awhile longer and finally decided to get the other nurse, Andi. She was sure Andi would find the heartbeat in seconds. That's usually how it works. Andi came in and moved the doppler around over and over. There were several times when she was sure she heard it, but then lost it. After about 15-20 minutes she decided that my belly had probably had enough and that little girl was sleeping in a very good hiding spot. Nurse Andi went to get the portable sonogram machine. I laid there alone and, of course, at this point, my mind wandered with "what-ifs" but I quickly shot those out and was sure she was just cuddling.
Dr. Eck came back in the room with Andi and the portable sonogram. I was actually excited. I would get to see my daughter again before her birth. I was lucky. Most mothers-to-be don't get sonograms at this appointment. Dr. Eck put the probe on my belly and started moving around. I couldn't see the screen so I just watched their faces, waiting for them to say, "Here she is-she was hiding behind..." But, I knew right away. Her face, their faces- said everything. She said, "I'm not finding a heartbeat." I can't even remember what I thought at this point. I know I was still in denial and I started praying that this crappy little machine on wheels was wrong. Praying that my little girl was still alive. I asked what the chances were that this machine was wrong. Dr. Eck told me that these machines are right about 98-99% of the time. That's when I knew. I would never meet our daughter alive.
I called Dave right away. He was checking cattle that needed to be sent to some other state. He would come as soon as he could. I called my mom. She answered with 3 chipper "Hellos." She was going to come over right away. But, we couldn't wait for me to have my company. I was taken down to the main ultrasound room right away. It was the same woman who had told me good news just 4 weeks prior.
I laid on the table, waiting for a miracle. All the doctors and nurses did was stare at the screen. I knew she was dead when Dr. Eck asked for a femur length. She wanted to know when our daughter had passed away.
Dave finally came sometime--I have no idea when. I know that he hugged me and we both sobbed for the loss of our daughter. I don't think I said anything. What can someone say in a situation like this? My biggest regret on this day is that I didn't get pictures and I didn't look at the screen. At that point I didn't want anything to do with this. Looking back on it, I wish I could have seen her, as a part of me, one last time.
We drove home. I laid on the couch. I sobbed. Mom came. Dave made some phone calls to my work people and his work people. And just like that, we were making different plans for our daughter.