It’s been about 24 hours since my ultrasound yesterday. We had our 20 week anatomy scan. Ajay got someone to relieve him at the hospital so he could join me—he wasn’t able to attend our last big scan at 12 weeks, and I really wanted him to be able to experience all the little movements and hiccups and dances that the twins have been doing for a while now.
First they checked my cervix—everything’s a-okay at 5 cm. Looks like everything’s snug as a bug. Then changing gears, the stenographer began scanning back and forth as I chatted away happily as my babies appeared on the screen. She scanned them both back and forth, and being high on babies, I didn’t pay really close attention. Then she said the words: “I’ve got bad news for you.” This is when my out-of-body experience began. She went on to tell us that Baby B, our little boy, didn’t have a heartbeat. He had taken on fluid. He had died.
The stenographer asked the last time I had seen his heartbeat. I couldn’t even comprehend that she was speaking to me, let alone was asking me for information—I struggled to find the answer—not that long ago—just the other week—maybe two weeks ago? Yes, it was on February 21, my birthday. He looked fine on my birthday.
She continued to scan Alia, our little girl. Her heart was beating away at 143 beats per minute, basically the same as it always was. She measured her leg bones, arm bones, scanned her organs, and projected her weight. She looked great. The stenographer told me Dr. A would be in shortly to discuss this more.
As she left, the tears that I had somehow managed to hold in began to flow. Ajay stood up and came over to the table and held my hand and tried to comfort me, but it was all just too much. I couldn’t believe this was happening. It was surreal. I began to think about the flu I had come down with last week and the antibiotics I had taken for the resulting sinus and ear infection, the accidental diet Sprite I had, the Tylenol I had taken to help with the misery of the flu symptoms. I thought of all the things that I thought I had done wrong and asked Ajay, “Did I do this? Is this my fault? Did my flu kill him? Did the medicine kill him? How is this happening? Yesterday I just figured out that I’m half way to my 38 week projected due date—this isn’t supposed to happen now.” Ajay shook his head and reassured me that I didn’t cause this.
Dr. A entered. He works at the hospital with Ajay. They shook hands, he introduced himself to me, and apologized. He scanned our baby boy, and located a sac of water collecting around his brain and spinal cord. He said based on what he was seeing he died a couple of days before, probably March 1. I kept waiting for it to be a mistake. I kept looking at his little body hoping for a heartbeat or hoping for any type of movement. I hoped and hoped that this wasn’t going to end this way. But it did.
Dr. A went on to tell me that at this stage, there was no real way of telling what went wrong. Maybe a clot in the cord. Maybe something wrong with the placenta. Maybe his heart wasn’t strong enough. I asked him if I caused this—I’ve been sick and took antibiotics—I took Sudafed sparingly, just like the doctor said. I asked him if it was my fault. He told me that I couldn’t think that for a moment. Short of doing a bucket of cocaine, there was no way I could have caused this. No way. I asked him if the cord had clotted, could that have been because I lay on it? Again, he told me to stop thinking that way, and there was no way.
He continued the scan by focusing on Alia—he assured us that she looked good. She didn’t fully cooperate, though, and he couldn’t get a good look at her face—we’d have to check back in 3 weeks to make sure that her face had fused properly.
In the end, I asked Dr. A what next? Do they take Baby Boy out? What happens to him? He told me that my body would eventually reabsorb most of him—but no, they don’t remove him. By the time Alia is delivered, he will be an unrecognizable mass. Poor little Baby Boy.
I thought about so many things at once as we were walking to the car—I decided to leave my car at the hospital and ride home with Ajay. I thought maybe it’s because we didn’t come up with a name for him. Maybe the universe was trying to tell me something when I ordered 2 infant car seats and only one arrived—or when I ordered two cribs and they were back ordered until March 28th. Could I have seen this coming? How much shock can a person take? How do you get past something like this?