We've known the gender since November 27th, but today was the day of the "big" ultrasound. We were called back to the room and I got positioned while Brent and Haley grabbed a front row seat. The very first placement of the ultrasound revealed confirmation of what we knew to be true - we are having a boy.
When they first told us, back in November, I cried. I don't know if they were happy or sad tears, I just know I cried. Then the more I thought about it, the more I struggled. It made losing Harlynn far more intense to know we weren't having another girl. Also, we had been 2 for 2 with girls - why not a third? I had heard time after time after time, story after story after story, of people having the opposite gender baby of what they lost. This is one of the "rules" of baby loss I thought we would be exempt from. I thought we would be the exception. Surely we were going to have another girl.
Now don't get me wrong. We love our little man desperately and are excited to meet him. It's just something very real and very present in "rainbow" pregnancies - dealing with a different gender than what was lost. After having time to process we weren't having another girl, I became excited. Haley is going to have a little brother, and I think she needs someone to rough her up once and again. I hope he's up to the task.
As the sonographer moved her equipment around checking various things, we saw one of his hands giving the Bison sign. He's already an NDSU fan. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door, followed by a "Valerie?". Long story short, since I'm high-risk, I also meet with a perinatologist from the Cities, who had scheduled an ultrasound for me this week. That being the case, they didn't think I needed to have this ultrasound today. However, my doctor still wanted to see me as we had scheduled an appointment. We did get to see little guy for a bit, so not all was lost. I cleaned up and we trekked upstairs to get in to see my doctor.
After a brief wait and Haley asking 348593485 times when the doctor was going to come in, she arrived. I hopped on the exam bed so we could hear heart tones. After measuring my stomach and getting the doppler gelled, she placed it to find the baby's heart beat.
She moved it around. She found my heart beat. She reached her hand to grab my wrist to feel my pulse. In that very instant I was catapulted back to the night I was in labor with Harlynn when the nurse did exactly the same thing. I knew what that meant. I held my breath in my throat. She moved it around more and said she was going to go get the ultrasound machine.
No. No. We just saw him! He was moving all around, he was fine! We just saw him!
As she left the room, Brent turned to me and said, "We just saw the flutter. It's fine. Everything is fine." He grabbed my hand. She brought it in and turned off the lights. We hovered around the monitor as she searched for him on the screen. I saw it flicker and saw the heart beating. I think that was my first full breath since she had left the room. She called in a nurse and had her count seconds while she counted heartbeats. Our baby's heart was beating slowly. Too slow for a baby. It was in the 80 bpm range. She had me lay on my side to see if it helped. We watched. Waited. She counted again.
After watching a little while longer she said, "Well it's starting to pick up now...." Slowly, gradually, his heart rate increased. She was asking me questions, I was nodding or shaking my head in reply, wiping my tears on Brent's shirt sleeve as he held my hand. She wanted me to have an ultrasound anyway, to monitor the heart. They escorted me back to radiology in a wheelchair. The nurse had covered the wheelchair with sheets to try to warm it up some (it is the coldest day in the history of cold today). As she wheeled me to radiology and Brent and Haley followed, all I could think was, "This baby won't live if it has to be delivered today. Dear God, fix his heart. Fix his heart, because my own can't take this."
After seven vials of blood were drawn, we were back in the ultrasound room, with the same sonographer. She watched, monitored, and zoomed in on the heart. Everything appeared fine once again. Heart rate was consistently in the 140s during the ultrasound. She left the room to see if anything further was required of us. Brent grabbed my hand and Haley's, and we prayed out loud that God would make this fine. That the baby would be fine. For all time. She called up to the doctor and then came back in to tell us we were free to go home.
So....we went home. Brent asked me if I was still scared, since we had seen baby moving around and everything "was fine". I told him I was. Haley piped up from her car seat and asked, "Why are you scared?"
"Because I have absolutely no control over anything."
Brent answered, "Well, there's that."
Yes. There's that.
My next appointment is the day after tomorrow. The in-depth level 2 ultrasound. For real this time. No appointment is easy. I'm always waiting for, expecting, them to tell me bad news. It's what I know. After the scare today, I imagine the rest of the pregnancy will be just as frightening. No control. No guarantees.
As far as we know, it was a fluke. It could have been because I had been on my back for an extended period of time. It could have been because of nothing. It could have been.....something. We don't know. So we will go on, daily, expecting this little guy to be healthy, to be strong, and to be conditioning for watching NDSU Bison football with his big sister. She is, after all, incredibly excited to meet him.
I'm not giving you a choice, little man. You're going to come home with us. You hear me? No more scares. No more issues. You're coming home with us.