I have to vent a bit and this is my means of doing so.
Yesterday should have been a glorious day. Mother Nature tricked us into thinking Spring has approached by allowing us to discard our jackets for the day. The older kids left for school without killing each other in the process. The younger one allowed me to wake and dress him at an unGodly hour (for him), without so much as a whimper of disagreement. He even smiled and kissed me as I pulled his pajama shirt over his head. There was little to no traffic on my commute to the hospital. It was going to be an exciting day, it was Ultra Sound day. And for the first time, we had decided to know the sex of the baby, we had waited for the surprise with the other three.
I arrived to my appointment 20 minutes early and was seen after waiting only 5 minutes. In-n-Out was just what I was hoping for, especially with Junior in tow. Since this is my fourth child, I knew the drill. I expected the process to take 30 minutes, no more than 45 minutes. Besides, that is just about all Junior can handle in a strange place before the itch of curiosity takes over an he is pulling open every drawer available. I laid on the examination bed and rolled my bottoms down, pulled my shirt up and waited for the tech to squeeze the goo over my pregnant belly. He seemed a bit surprised, then I explained that this is my fourth child, I thought I made him swallow his gum as he started choking!
The beginning of the ultra sound went very smoothly, measurements begin taken, viewing the head, heart, hands, feet, spine, etc. Then the tech asked if I wanted to know the sex of the baby, he turned the screen and showed me … an obvious appendage dangled in the space that is my womb … another boy. That will be 1 girl and 3 boys, whew! I was quite happy and I began to wipe the goo off of my belly as I had been there for exactly 30 minutes at that point and it appeared to me that the Ultra Sound was over. The tech indicated that I should lay back down and he would be back with another tech soon. What? I had never experienced this before. Why would we need another tech? Something must be wrong. I lay there for what seemed like forever, but was 12 1/2 minutes. There were now 2 techs in the room, both looking over the shots that were taken previously. Whisper, whisper, glance over sympathetically at me, whisper, whisper. They then decided to do the ultra sound again.
I asked if everything was ok, the 2nd tech responded that this was procedure. I told her that this was my fourth child and I have never had this happen before. She did not respond, just poked away at my belly, staring at the screen in front of her. I asked again, ‘is everything ok, is the baby ok?’ ‘Yes, the baby looks just as we would expect him to,’ she replied. ‘Is there anything wrong?’ She stood up and gave me a very blank stare as she said, ‘I can’t tell you that. You will have to discuss that with your doctor.’ Then she left the room. I had been there for 1 hour and 25 minutes at that point.
Talk about agony! Pregnancy is a joyous time, but also comes with added fears. You hope and pray that your baby is healthy, that the pregnancy and delivery are smooth. You start to reevaluate nearly everything you do when you are pregnant, from wearing a seatbelt differently to eating better foods. You are a vessel in which a new hope and joy is blooming. To be told or even for there to be an implication that there might be something wrong, well, talk about the beginnings of a bad day. Worry takes over, guilt seeds itself (if only I had eaten organic foods or if only I took an extra walk every day), the world around me suddenly became a blur. I found my way out to my car and somehow managed to belt Junior into his seatbelt. Fortunately I had somehow maintained a fraction of my capacity because, while I started the car, I would not drive. I think my maternal instincts were protecting all of us at that point.
I turned off the car and adjusted the rear view mirror, so I could see Junior. He was remarkable. He smiled at me – the cheesiest smile you have ever seen – and blew me a kiss. I told him he was such a good boy, sitting and behaving for an hour and a half! He said, ‘My baby in your belly is a brother!’ I agreed with him, ‘Yes a little boy. You are going to be a big brother.’ He said, ‘I can share my toys with the baby. Like Q shares with me!’ My heart melted. My kids, while much of the time they have me tearing out my hair, are fantastic. Warm, caring, considerate. Yeah, they can be down-right mean to each other sometimes, but it was sibling stuff. Overall, I know that they are good little people, destined to one day be good adults. I felt a momentary peace come over myself. I picked up the phone and called my husband. I started out very calm, telling him that I just walked out of the hospital. He asked how it went and before I knew it, my hands were shaking and my voice was cracking. I held up quite well. In classic SuperMan style, he took over. I love my husband.
Roughly 15 minutes later, my husband phoned back, telling me that he had spoken to (read: verbally thrashed) the Radiology department and went further to call their Commanding Officer. They insisted that I misunderstood what the tech was telling me. My husband made it clear that there was nothing to misunderstand – the techs were unprofessional and caused undue angst. The CO suggested we make an appointment with my Doctor to go over the results of the ultra sound. My husband replied that we would do not such thing and they, Radiology, would hand-carry the report to my Doctor and request he call me with the results. Did I say I love my husband? This is why I have titled him WMH – although he is often abrasive, he has the biggest heart, does the right thing (most of the time) and looks out for his loved ones in every way.
While it seemed to take all day, it was really 2 hours later that I received a call from my Doctor’s office. My Doctor had taken leave and a younger, green doctor was now telling me that the ultra sound report revealed no abnormalities or cause for concern. I felt a huge weight lifted from my heart. After ending the call though, I realized that all is not 100% There are still possibilities of defects, disease and handicaps. Not just for this unborn child either, but for my other three as well. Aside from freak accidents, there are other issues such as lack of knowledge that hinder our family. My family for example, has left little history for us to research health concerns. My husband was adopted and while he has tried, was not able to learn any more than the story of how he was found on the doorstep of an orphanage. Both of us are completely in the dark. I felt ashamed suddenly. I always thought of myself as a strong woman, but in those few hours, I was broken. And for what? Apparently nothing. What if something were wrong? What if something happened to any of my children, how would I hold up? I marvel at the men, women and children who have been stricken with handicap and disease, yet move forward, refusing to feel defeated and chose to persevere. I can only hope to be as strong in my lifetime.