The Heartbeat

The most terrifying moment of my life happened only two weeks ago. 

I have lived a pretty blessed life. I haven't experienced much trauma and am surrounded by such a wonderful and loving family and husband that the little bad things go unnoticed. Why fret when life has been so good?

I realize, as I am growing and evolving in to an actual mother, that this way of being is no longer. I will eventually accept that my blissful life is no longer mine, but now belongs to an 8 pound mini-human who cannot communicate and poops itself.

My first taste of this obsession to this rude little being started off like any normal morning. I woke up, probably later than I should have, and hopped in the shower. When I emerged, I felt something, not the shower water, stream down my leg. At the time, I knew there were reasonable explanations for bleeding during pregnancy, though not common, but my mind immediately stretched to the worst case scenario. As most minds would.

I called for Jarod and, though I have not actually figured out how to read his mind, I think his mind found the same conclusions as mine. We hastily dressed, poorly brushed our teeth and, without even thinking to first call and see if walk-ins were ok, jumped in the car. If we didn't break every driving law on the way to the doctor, we came damn close.

The doctor's office was very accommodating. They saw the urgency in our situation and fit us in almost immediately. When we sat down with the doctor and explained what had occurred, the look on her face was not positive. "Was the blood red or brown?" she asked. I responded, brown. She said the first course of action would be checking for a heartbeat and then if none were found, we'd be sent to another doctor who would perform an ultra-sound.

By this time, I was functioning with a steady stream of tears rolling down my face. Jarod's clammy hand held mine as the doctor prepped. She pressed the doppler against my abdomen, I held my breath.

One Mississippi - nothing

Two Mississippi - white noise

She moved through my abdomen to the sound of no heartbeat.

Six Mississippi - still nothing

Seven Mississippi - nothing

My already shaky confidence in the situation was starting to diminish. I began thinking the worst had occurred and this little rude person, that had blessed our lives for such a short period, had moved on. I couldn't hear Jarod breathing either.

Nine Mississippi - nothing

On Ten Mississippi, that ethereal heartbeat of 13 week old fetus filled our ears.

The doctor kept her hand steady and we listened. I stared at her, trying to judge her reaction to what we were hearing. Though the sound existed, it haunted my ears. What did it mean? Was the pace correct? Was everything ok?

She looked up and caught my unconvinced gaze.

"Everything is ok."

On the way back to the car, still shaken and emotional, I turned to Jarod. “That was the worst moment of my life, sitting there, waiting for a heartbeat.”

Jarod took me into his arms and squeezed me tight. “Mine too.”

In the end, it’s pretty benign what happened that day. The doctor explained that on occasion, liner blood may get trapped behind the placenta, like a bubble, and it eventually gets released. This is the difference between brown and red blood. Brown could be nothing, but red is almost always bad. To ease my worry, she said I can come in any time for a quick check up. Since that day two weeks ago, I’ve taken her up on her offer twice and listened to that delightful little heartbeat. We were advised to take a few precautions in the following weeks, including no sex, no hauling large loads of laundry around and no working out (just walking). But that doesn’t faze us.

I know in eighteen years, I’ll look back on my life with my rude little human and remember this as the very first time, out of a thousand times, that my kid scared the crap out me. I guess it’s all a part of parenthood.

All our love,
Jarod and Julianne


Popular Posts