What did my day look like a year ago today, Friday, March 4,2011?
That Friday was like any other day off. I woke up at seven, got the kids ready for school, dropped them off, and crawled back into bed next to Paul. I usually slept in on my days off, that day was no exception. While I slept until eleven o’clock, my husband tended to our youngest son Caleb and engaged in their normal daily routines. I was awoken by a gentle kiss on my forehead and fingers running through my hair.
As I moaned and complained I rolled out of bed and got my things ready for a shower. As I was taking my shower I remember thinking to myself that Bella wasn’t moving. I even shook my belly thinking the movement would wake her. I assumed she was still asleep and would wake up once I ate some breakfast. After all, the ultra sound tech had a hard time getting her to move for the sonogram even after jiggling my belly to wake her that previous Wednesday. As I sat down to eat my breakfast I still thought it was odd she wasn’t moving. Normally when I ate something or drank something cold she would start to move around and react to the coldness. I started to feel a knot in my stomach, but tried to comfort myself by thinking she must have still been asleep. She probably was awake when I was asleep and I just didn’t notice. As I got up from the table I mentioned it to Paul.
I finished getting ready, but all the while still had that same uneasy feeling in my stomach. We loaded up the car and took off down the road. My doctor’s office was only five minutes from the house. Paul and I made idle chit chat in the car and discussed when we wanted Bella’s due date to be. I walked into the doctor’s office and signed in like I always do. I sat there for a few minutes just looking at the clock. That uneasy feeling in my stomach came back. I was anxiously awaiting them to call me. I was relieved a little when I saw Paul and Caleb walking up to the office doors.
“Nicole,” the nurse called out.
I turned and saw her standing in the doorway. I walked toward the nurse and greeted her. I began all the usual routines, weight, blood pressure, urine sample, and undress from the waist down. After I left my urine sample I accidentally walked into the wrong examination room. The door was open and when I turned the corner I saw a lady sitting in a chair. I walked down the hall to the next room, but before I went in I peeked at the folder that was hanging on the wall to make sure it was mine. It was, and on the front of the folder the words ”March 15th 5:30 am” were written on a blue post-it note. I went in, got undressed and sat on the examining table anxiously awaiting my doctor. After a few minutes I heard a light knock on the door and she walked in.
She pulled out her measuring tape and measured my belly as always. Then she squirted some petroleum jelly on my stomach and the nurse handed her the Doppler machine. She turned it on and proceeded to listen for the heartbeat. It was making a lot of noises and had a lot of static on it. She had a light hearted side conversation with the nurse about the bad luck she had been having with the Doppler all week. Apparently one broke and she had to borrow her partner’s and they would be so upset if she “broke” another one. She told the nurse to go get a different one, although she didn’t like that one either. The nurse left the room and returned moments later with a second Doppler machine. My doctor resumed trying to locate Bella’s heartbeat. Although it was probably seconds, it felt like minutes went by with no heartbeat, just the sound of silence in a tiny room. I laid there and prayed “God please let her find the heartbeat, please let her find it.” Faintly she heard a heartbeat, but I knew something was wrong. She didn’t say anything, just reached down to feel my pulse on my wrist. I guess she wanted to compare the sound of it to the real thing. I knew then, that it was mine and not Bella’s. I knew then that Bella was gone.
“I’m sorry dear, there is no heartbeat.”
I instantly let out a loud cry and began sobbing uncontrollably with my arm covering my face. It was the sound of shock, pain, and sorrow, the sound of my world crashing and coming to an end, the sound of my dream shattered. A few moments later I heard the door swing open.
“We can’t find a heartbeat,” I heard her tell Paul.
“What? What?” I heard him asking in disbelief over and over. I heard bags drop to the floor. Caleb began to cry. I think I scared him with my loud sobbing and crying out. Paul tried to comfort him and then leaned down to hold and comfort me. We sat there and cried together. The little girl we both wanted so badly, the little girl we had already begun preparations for, the little girl whose bottles I had just put out, the little girl we envisioned in pretty dresses and big bows, the little girl who would be here in just one week, was gone. How could this be happening? Two days ago I saw her on the ultrasound at my diabetes specialist’s office. Two days ago I saw and heard her heartbeat so strong and fast like it always was. Two days ago I was hooked up to the machines that told me she was alive and moving and just perfect. Yesterday I said goodbye to the students I work with as I left with a smile for my maternity leave.
The car ride to the hospital was very quiet. I just looked out the window and thought about the nightmare my life was thrown into. When we arrived at the hospital I couldn’t get out of the car. I just sat there and began to cry. Paul opened the door and I said, “I can’t do this, I can’t do this,” over and over. He just held me and replied, “I know, I know.” We walked arm in arm into the hospital. We walked up to the labor and delivery floor and checked ourselves in. They escorted us down the hall to the last room.