Last week I had an ultrasound done at a local hospital (and, no, I’m not pregnant). I’ve had more than a dozen done over the past few years with two at-risk pregnancies and various other things that crop up. The ultrasound tech was a student, and it just may have been her first ultrasound on a living person because she didn’t really seem to know what she was doing. Her instructor was very involved and I endured some extra prodding and waiting as they walked through every step of the process. This somehow distracted me from the fact that this is the very same room I was in when they had to look for a heartbeat after I started bleeding in my pregnancy with Bug.
After the ultrasound, I asked to use the bathroom. When they brought me to the door, I hesitated, but it was once I was inside with the door closed that I started to hyperventilate. I remembered that room. I remembered finding the first of many blood clots in the toilet due to my sub-chorionic hematoma. I remember yelling that I had just lost the baby. And I remember my aunt, a nurse at the hospital, hugging me and assuring me that it was going to be OK.
I took a moment to calm my breathing while staring in the mirror at the person I’ve become since that day. A mom, among other things. And then I closed my eyes and pictured Bug’s face, proof that my nightmares from the past had not come true. I thought of Bug and LadyBug, playing together, fighting together, testing my patience. I think I healed a little more on that day by unintentionally facing that place, although I hope I never stand in that room again.
Later, as I went to visit my mom who was recuperating in a room upstairs, I passed the old maternity ward where both kids were born. That made me smile. Those were the good memories. Seeing my mom, who was one of the few people who really understood the trauma of my first pregnancy, brought tears to me eyes. I think they were, in part, tears of relief that I don’t need to revisit that time again.
Thinking back on both the stress of my pregnancies and the anxiety of the hospital visit last week, I want to remind people again to not take healthy pregnancies and babies for granted. It’s certainly of no help to anyone to spend your pregnancy worried about all of the things that can go wrong, but I do urge people to notice the things that go well. And to truly celebrate hearing the heartbeat for the first time, seeing your baby via ultrasound, and each healthy check-up you have. Enjoy those moments for yourself, but also for those who can’t have them.