Seeing your baby on ultrasound for the first time never gets old. Watching all those turns and kicks on screen, seeing that tiny heart beating, catching a glimpse of that precious little face…all confirmation that the exhaustion and illness has, in fact, been worth it.
I’ve had a lot of ultrasounds, a lot. Things seemed fine at first this time around. Beautiful heartbeat. Lots of little squirms. But the nurse was making me nervous after a while. I started wondering. My wonder turned to panic. Why is this lasting so long? Why is she asking me so many strange questions? Is something wrong? She said she would show the ultrasound to the doctor and be back.
The ultrasound has now taken so long that my husband is going to be late for a meeting out of town. I tell him to go. It’s probably fine. I worry too much. He agrees, it’s probably fine. It always is. He closes the door behind him as he leaves the room. I hear the muffled voice of the nurse outside the door, catching him as he heads down the hall, “You’re going to want to stay”, she says. Oh no! I was right, it’s not fine. My worst fear. Something is wrong.
The doctor enters. I’m already crying and wringing my hands. It’s worse than I could imagine. It’s the worst. She tells us that our baby, our precious little human, the one we were just watching up on that screen, that baby cannot live outside the womb. He has no kidneys. She explains that ultimately, without kidneys, the baby’s lungs cannot develop. There is nothing they can do.
Through sobbing tears we explained that we would not have ever considered terminating. How could we? We just witnessed a perfectly content baby living inside my womb…