Immediately after I found out I was pregnant, I called my doctor and scheduled an appointment. I began praying. I decided to wait to tell my family and friends until after my first appointment. However, I see my family quite frequently, and I was so nervous. I needed that support. I finally broke and told them about 2 days before my appointment. Also, that would allow Miles to work and my mom could then go with me to the appointment.
The day of the appointment came, and with much trepidation I went. I remember being uneasy, unable to sit still. My mother on the other hand took the optimistic approach and started browsing through baby magazines for things she would need for her house :). Once I finally got to the exam room, my blood pressure was up from my nervousness, which made me more anxious. Then, we got to the ultrasound room. The physician I see had just hired a midwife to join the practice. The midwife preformed my exam and would do the ultrasound also. She was talking and introducing herself. She had no clue about our previous heartache. She began looking for the pregnancy on the screen. She searched, and searched… and became more quiet as she continued to search. My heart sunk. Was I crazy? Did I really want a baby so badly that I had talked myself into believing I was pregnant? Had I miscarried? I felt a tear roll down my cheek as I lay there waiting for her to find my baby.
Suddenly, a tiny knock on the door came. My doctor peeked in and asked,”Mind if I join?” The midwife explained that she was struggling to find the pregnancy. The doctor took the probe rotated just slightly and said,” See that small dot? That’s your baby!” I exhaled with relief. I was NOT a crazy loon! I was really going to have a baby!
My next step after the appointment was to enlist prayers. I figured, if it was going to happen I needed all the prayers and support I could get. I sent out an email at school thanking them for their past support, expressing my gratitude for their gift, and asking for prayers as we entered our newest endeavor. I was extremely uneasy. Every little cough, sniffle, or sneeze I questioned whether or not the baby was okay. At the same time, I felt a calmness and cautious optimism.
I prayed constantly that God would allow me to have this baby, that we would have a healthy pregnancy. This pregnancy was so different from my first. Instead of morning sickness, I had an insatiable appetite. I would eat breakfast at home, again at school, had an early lunch, a very large snack, and early dinner, and dessert. If Miles left something on his plate, I ate that too. I couldn’t seem to get enough food. But, I also had heartburn around the clock. I had Tums in every purse I owned, in my car, in my classroom,by my bed, and in the living room. I started showing very quickly. I was IN LOVE with that belly. I would roll up my shirt and just rub on that beautiful little baby belly. My soon-to-be mother-in-law called our baby “Belly Bean” and it stuck. When we spoke to the belly we always addressed the Belly Bean.
All of our appointments seemed to be great. We were able to see the baby’s movements, and with every check up we were relieved to hear that things were checking out. As we entered the holiday season, I was ecstatic to know that we would have a baby with the next season. At a New Year’s Eve party, we all talked about how exciting it would be when the baby got here, and talked about names, and guesses on gender. I was finally letting go of the cautious part and letting optimism and faith win out.
In February, we would go to MUSC for a level 2 scan, just to be on the safe side. We were so excited. Everything was going to be perfect. We would get to know the sex of the baby. If it was a girl, we would have Charlotte Rose and for a boy, it would still be, Sandtford Raymond. I had a feeling we would have a sweet little girl, and I was already day dreaming in pink and purple and bows and lace. It was a much different feeling as I disrobed and was slathered in jelly this time. I couldn’t wait to see that sweet baby on the screen. The technician spoke to us this time. Showed us her face in 3D and told us the sex of the baby. She took some measurements and then, she began to get very quiet. She clicked on a few more things, and then she said those words I dreaded, ” Give me just a moment, I need to get my supervisor”.
I looked at Miles. How could this be? Everything was fine a few weeks ago. It wasn’t supposed to be like this again. It was just a fluke, surely it couldn’t happen again. Miles held my hand and told me not to worry. And then the technician and the same man that had delivered the blow the last time walked in. In an effort to find humor in the horrific events, we now call him “Dr. Death”. Dr. Death took the probe and again began the all too familiar digging and poking. I did my best to hold in my tears. After what seemed to be a lifetime, he shook his head. He said, ” I hate doing this again… Unfortunately, the baby’s skull hasn’t developed properly. Her brain is not in the skull, and the little tissue that is in the skull is not viable tissue. I can’t believe this… It’s like lightning striking twice.”
I began to sob. My dreams of my sweet little Charlotte Rose, a pink and purple nursery, everything was just shattered in an instant. Miles fell into a chair and put his head between his knees. We both felt sick. We knew they would leave us and send in a genetic counselor. I picked myself up off the table and dressed myself. I could barely see the clothes through my tears. The rest is just a blur, except that they again gave us our options. They told us again of the risk of stillbirth, and that if we delivered, it would be best to have it done at MUSC. They would then cut off the tissue protruding from the baby’s skull to prevent infection. At best, her chances for survival would be slim and she would only live to be a vegetable. She would never talk, walk, eat on her own, and that’s if she survived the surgery. My head spun, and the familiar surreal feeling set in. Now came the tough part. Now we had to call all of our anxious support team and family members. By the time we got to the car, I had about 5 missed calls. I called my mom first. She answered with such excitement. I couldn’t hold back the tears, as I told her we’d gotten terrible news…AGAIN. Then, I called my school to tell them that it was even worse than before. The sweet secretary told me not to worry, they would take care of everything, just to let them know how much time I would need.
We drove home in utter shock. Miles stopped for food, while I stopped to be sick. I’d been so faithful. I’d prayed every day. How could this be happening? What was wrong with me? Why can’t I make a healthy baby? I could just hear Dr. Death’s words echoing in my head, “Like lightning striking twice… just a fluke… Lightning striking twice….”