My first impression of the alternative specialist I am booked into is good. He is really understanding of everything that has been going on and helps me feel at ease.
He goes through everything that has been chased down by his receptionist and my fertility specialist's office, tracking back through all the medical incidents of the past few weeks. Dates, dates, dates. We agree the baby should be bigger than the 6 weeks it measured at the ultrasound. He then adds, the heartbeat is a little slower than he would liked. He asks if he can do an in room scan.
I'm across the hall in a foreign ultrasound room. It is fancy! There is a big TV high on the wall, so it is easy to see the screen when reclined in the bed. Matt is with me, standing next to the bed. I'm looking at the TV and even though the doctor isn't even scanning I'm looking at the big screen thinking I'm going to be looking at the baby up there and it might be dead. Oh crap, this is going to be hard. I'm already getting choked up.
I am just holding it together when the doctor comes in. He is quickly getting on with the scan, another internal scan. He is poking around I can't see anything of note on the screen, then the doctor starts talking me through it. There is the gestation sack, there is the baby, there is no apparent heart beat. The baby measures 6 weeks. He says he is sorry, but there doesn't appear to be a heart beat. He leaves me to get dressed and come back across the hallway to the other office. I am crying as I get redressed. Matt is angry. He says he is just sick of it.
The specialist explains that the in-room scan is not as good as the diagnostic ulstrasound, and although it doesn't look good, he would hate to recommend a curette (to clean out the uterus) without getting a diagnostic scan done. He refers me to have another scan done. I feel it is all over, but I'm hanging onto the little bit of hope, perhaps the diagnostic scan will miraculously see an 8 week old fetus with a strong, fast heart beat.
The next day Matt and I again roll into an x-ray centre. In the diagnostic ultrasound the sonographer says the baby is still the same size as our earlier scan (which was nearly a week ago) and there is no longer a heartbeat. Even when you are expecting it, it is horrible. I am weeping on the bed. I want to have a private and dignified grief, but here I am stuck with a stranger in a clinical little room and I can't contain my sadness. And I know I have to pull it together enough to get up and go out and pay (I had asked if I could pay before I went in, given the expected result, but apparently this is not possible). We ditched waiting for the scan films - all those baby ultrasounds of babies just look freaky to me these days, let alone knowing it is your dead baby.
As this was the mostly expected outcome, the alternative fertility specialist had tentatively booked me in for a curette on Friday. A curette to remove the products of conception (this is now the medical term for what was only days ago called the baby). In just a couple of phone calls the procedure is confirmed.
I don't understand my own thinking through all of this. In part I'm relieved it is almost all over. This has been such an incredibly traumatic experience and if the pregnancy did continue, I don't know when, if ever, I would have stopped worrying about the damage all the drugs I had to take early on might have caused. In part, the much larger part, I'm devastated. Why has it been so hard? Why have we had so many pregnancies, but no babies? Why all the loss?
For certain, the whole of me is worn thin. I can't fathom going back to work as it has been for the past few years.
Something's got to give.