I saw a new OB on Friday. She obviously did not read my file before she came into the room. She sat down across from me and brightly began, “So, you’re going to have a baby!”
“Well, I hope so,” I replied.
A change in her face. “Is this your first pregnancy?”
“No, I’ve been pregnant several times,” I started, as she flipped open my file.
“Oh,” she said, her voice serious now. “Yes, I see. Look at this history. Tell me about it.”
And so, I told her, about every pregnancy, all six of them including this one, which so far is the only one without complications. Knock on wood.
I liked her. She did not try to blow sunshine up my ass. She did not pretend like everything would be okay. When we talked about increased monitoring once (if) the baby reaches a point of viability, she added, “Of course, the problem with monitoring is that we can’t monitor you 24 hours a day.” To some people, this might sound a little negative; to me it was affirming because this is exactly how I feel. I could walk out of a NST passed with flying colours and the baby could die on the bus ride home. As a doctor, of course, she knows this and what I appreciate is that she will admit this knowledge in my presence.
She picked up the heartbeat right away while I looked away from her at the wall. The heartbeat slipped in and out and she said, ‘It’s just that the baby’s still so small. It’s hard to keep the heartbeat.’ In any previous pregnancy, this would be something I could accept easily. Now, a part of my mind immediately wonders: or is something wrong? is this the first sign? The one I will look back at later and say: there; that was it; the beginning of the end? We watched the baby’s heart beat on a small ultrasound and I didn’t feel very much, could not connect the baby on the screen to my self, felt I was watching something alien and far away. That morning I woke up with the cold thought that I could arrive at the doctor’s and find out the baby had died; the baby wasn’t dead, but I didn’t really feel better. I am waiting for this one to start moving, hoping that will make it seem real, even if real is hard. Even if real makes me crazy.
The doctor wants to do a c-section at 38 weeks. She would induce me at 39 weeks, arguing that the risk of stillbirth only increases the longer a baby stays in, but since I have a previously scarred uterus, she worries about induction. I was induced for A, I say. ‘Yes, but she was so small.’ Yes, she was. So small. So very small and unready and gone.
The fact of this pregnancy sinks in more every day. That I did not miscarry. That I am almost 4 months pregnant. That soon I will feel the baby move and my belly will pop out and it will be unmistakeable, unavoidable. We are starting to share the news with a few people. This week I will tell my family. I almost cannot bear to have them know and to put the potential of hurt on them, too. And E. Sweet little E. It is only this week that I am fully realizing how awful another loss would be for our family. Was it wise, I wonder? Will it be worth it?
Yes. Yes, if a baby is born, alive, in early May it will have been worth it. If not? Well, then. Well. Then.