I wish I had a picture


A gift from my dear friend to remember my little one.

I have given birth five times in my life and been pregnant seven. I am very familiar with the process at the first doctor's appointment. This appointment takes place around eight weeks. I would give a urine sample, get weighed, complete a questionnaire, get examined by the doctor, have blood work done, have an ultrasound, and hear my baby's heartbeat for the first time.

Normally hearing the heartbeat is magical, and finding the tiny peanut on the ultrasound screen is exciting. Thankfully the doctor points everything out  because if you don't know what to look for you might miss it. The tiny little smudge on the screen and the sound of life in my ears was one of my favorite parts of finding out I was pregnant. At the end of the first appointment I usually went home with hope in my heart and a print out from the ultrasound machine with a picture of my tiny baby in my hand.

On June 25, 2012 everything was different. I woke up that morning excited for what the day held. I had two appointments scheduled that day, one at the dentist and one with my doctor, making the most of the time my babysitter was available.  After my teeth were cleaned I stopped to use the bathroom before heading to the doctor's office. Red. The color of fear when you are pregnant. I took several breaths and tried to calm my racing heart. I told myself I was already heading to the doctor. It was going to be okay, and not to panic.

I went through the process: weight, urine, blood work, questionnaire, and examination. I told the doctor my experience in the bathroom. Then the ultrasound machine was brought in and my little peanut appeared on the screen with the heartbeat echoing through the quiet room. I felt a wave of relief until I saw my doctor's face. My baby's heart was beating much slower than it should be. She explained to me the only thing we could do was wait. Hopefully everything would be okay, but it didn't look good. I realized in that moment my baby was dying.

I don't remember what happened next. Somehow I made it out of the doctor's office and back home. What I do know is, I left without a print out from the ultrasound machine. I left without the only photo ever taken of my sweet little one. Later that night my body made it very clear this pregnancy was over and the heartbeat of my tiny little one was beating no more.

Years later I still don't remember why a print out wasn't given to me. I don't even remember if I asked for one or if one was offered. Perhaps it's procedure not to give one to the mother if it looks like the beginning of a miscarriage. I have no idea. What I do know is I wish I had a photo.

I can't go back in time, some days I really wish I could. Instead, I offer these words to anyone reading:  My dear friend, I hope you never find yourself in a doctor's office watching your dreams fade away. My greatest desire is for you to never know that kind of suffering. I know though, all too well, that it can happen. Please remember to take the print out home with you. To all my medical friends, please hand the mama the photo. She might not know it at the time, but she will be forever grateful.

A memory blanket made for me by my best friend.


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