That is not what I wanted to hear at my 8 week check up with my doctor. The transvaginal ultrasound measurements were not on target. The fetal pole was measuring at about 6.5 weeks, and there was no heartbeat. Because not everyone gets their dates right, there is always a possibility that all is well. We scheduled a follow up ultrasound on the big machine for this week.
The thing is, I am confident in my dates. I have been tracking now for 3 years, even in my most casual tracking mode, I know what is up. I have a really predictable cycle. It doesn’t make sense that I would be that far off. If there is a difference between optimism and hope, I am living it right now. I am not optimistic, but I hope with every fiber of my being I am wrong. I would love to be wrong.
For now I am bracing myself.
How I do that is I let the people that have to deal with me everyday know what is going on, and that I don’t know what the next week will be like. That means colleagues at work – it’s a very empathetic, supportive culture in my office and I am so lucky – and at my theater. People who have watched me go through this before, some new folks that haven’t been around it before. Opening myself up to the range of reactions but probably everyone will be supportive and great. I make sure I have a therapist appointment scheduled this week. I cancel any performances or public outings for the time being, because no matter what happens, I am going to want to have time to myself. I try to stay away from Dr. Internet, because no knowledge I can gain at this point is going to help me deal with this.
Which makes me think: Is the knowledge I gained from the doctor actually helpful? The instinct for me after multiple losses is to monitor and check in as often as possible. But there isn’t much my doctor can actually do if there is something going on at this point. I think about my mother and her experiences. It was the early to mid-1970s, when you had to actually kill a rabbit to confirm pregnancy, so she didn’t have a test to find out she was pregnant on cycle day 28. She didn’t have access to ultrasounds. She would start to notice how tired she was and suspect she was pregnant, but it was a very different experience than it is for me. I know when I ovulate, I know the day I miss my period. I can see inside my uterus.
Her losses always came without warning. Would I rather have that experience? The panic and rush to the hospital to find out that nothing can be done? Or would I rather sit with the data, knowing nothing can be done? The real answer is I would rather not have to experience either one, I would prefer to sit at home and crochet and watch Star Wars over and over again. The knowledge I have right now is just the right amount to make me question everything, but not enough to give me any sense of peace. Today I am unsure if knowing is really half of this particular battle.