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My Misdiagnosed Miscarriage
It was April 24, 2015, my 26th birthday! I’m a BIG TIME celebrant, so in our house we celebrate everything from half birthdays and half birthdays to the ordinary and random days that I think are worth celebrating! My 26th birthday was extra special this year, as I had a sweet little peanut growing in my belly, and I was about to see this little miracle for the first time during my 8 week OB appointment.
I arrived at the Women’s Health Clinic over an hour early because the wait at home was just too much of a pain as I watched my clock ticking every second. The hall was filled with pregnant women of all stages. Some looked so thrilled, just couldn’t stop smiling and rubbing their bellies to feel this moving miracle growing inside them, and some looked miserable for being late, just ready to burst. I picked out a chair and sat down with my 14 month old son, not giving up hope that maybe my doctor could see me a few minutes early. Ava and I played pat-a-cake, watched a few episodes of Barney, and ate lots of snacks. I remember looking at her and thinking you’re about to be a big sister! You two will be best friends. My heart was so full.
“Mrs. Bishop” finally called the nurse. Ava and I quickly jumped out of our chairs and headed back. When we entered the room, the nurse put me on the scale, then checked my vital signs and asked a few standard questions about how I was feeling. “I feel great! It’s my birthday and I’m seeing my baby for the first time! I have morning sickness/all day sickness but that’s nothing new to me during pregnancy.”
I sat down on the exam table and relaxed as I glanced over at the nurse who was preparing and sterilizing the equipment my doctor would use for the ultrasound. I started wondering what if it was two babies? How will I react? I have to keep my cool. I can handle two. It’s probably just one though. It is certainly only one.
“Hi Mrs. Bishop! my doctor said opening the door, “It’s nice to meet you. Today we’re going to see your baby’s heart beat for the first time.” My baby’s heartbeat. What a beautiful view. “Just lean back and relax and let’s take a look. He positioned the probe and we both looked at the screen. He started nervously moving the probe around, and my heart sank before he even said a word.
“Mrs. Bishop, I’m so sorry to tell you this, but there’s no heartbeat. You’ve had a miscarriage and what we see here is just the tissue that’s left over.”
My heart stopped and my head started spinning, then I started sobbing, like any mother would. I was crying so hard the nurse had to put Ava back in her stroller. How did it happen? What did I do wrong? It was my fault. My precious baby was gone.
“CHECK AGAIN! PLEASE LOOK ONCE AGAIN! PLEASE JUST LOOK!” I screamed, begging for a different outcome.
“Mrs. Bishop, your baby is gone. Please get dressed and follow the nurse to my office so we can schedule your D&C.” Dilation and curettage (D&C) is a surgical procedure in which the cervix is dilated and a special instrument is used to scrape the uterine lining. The main goal of treatment during or after a miscarriage is to prevent bleeding and/or infection of the tissues left behind.
I fell into his office and, truth be told, I don’t even remember how I managed to get out of the exam room. The doctor dialed my husband’s number and handed me his office phone. “Trey, I had a miscarriage and I need you here right now. Right now.”
“Okay, it looks like we have an opening for your surgery on Monday, April 27. I’ll schedule you for 8am, but it’s safe to get here 45 minutes early for the paperwork.”
The only words that came out of my mouth in his office were “Is it possible my baby is still alive? Is it possible? Has this ever happened before?”
“No, Mrs. Bishop. This has never happened before. I’m 99.9% sure your baby is gone. »
My husband helped me into my car and I followed him home with the most painful and heartbreaking emptiness inside of me. I had no idea the anguish one felt having a miscarriage so early in pregnancy.
When I pulled up in the driveway, I called my mom and just sobbed – let it all out. If you know my mom, you know the amazing woman she is, so she immediately jumped in her car and picked up my sweet Rickey B (my stepdad) and they drove to our house in Killeen from Houston ( 3 hours away). For the rest of the day, that little voice inside me kept asking, Why am I not showing any signs of a miscarriage? Why do I always feel sick?
My husband, who had missed the ultrasound due to meetings at work, wanted to conclude by seeing for himself that the baby was in fact gone, so he made sure we got a second opinion before any surgery. I can’t remember exactly how it happened, but x-rays are always scheduled for at least 3 months at the hospital we were assigned to, and I know ultrasounds are very rarely scheduled on Saturdays for outpatients – only those in the ER experiencing life-threatening emergencies, but happened to have a technician working Friday night through Saturday morning with an appointment cancellation at 5:45.
We arrived with radiology at 5:15 and they took us right back to the room. The ultrasound technician was very grumpy, probably because it was so early and he was working all night. He told me to stay seated so he could confirm the miscarriage. How dare he be so confident in my miscarriage before I even did the ultrasound. He grabbed the probe and placed it on my stomach. “Holy Cow!, go drink some water, wait 10 minutes, and come back,” he shouted. “I can’t tell you anything but go drink some water and come back.”
I listened. I drank so much water that I almost threw up. Once 10 minutes was up I was back in the room and straightening my shirt so he could do the ultrasound.
“Congratulations, Mom! 160 beats per minute! »
My baby was ALIVE. Glory to God ! My baby was ALIVE! I watched the little heart of this miracle beat, beat, beat and sobbed tears of joy with every beat. The technician took all the measurements that my doctor was supposed to take during the appointment the day before, and the baby measured perfectly. Everything was normal and on track for my 8 week old embryo.
I now have a happy, healthy 13 month old who is quite simply the cutest little boy in the world. It is on the right track, developmentally. How did it happen?
I believe my baby was always alive. To this day, I don’t know why we didn’t see a heartbeat on that first date. Maybe my doctor made a mistake, and it was a misdiagnosed miscarriage. Or maybe her little heart didn’t beat until this date, just a late bloomer in the heartbeat department. But I tell this story to explain that no doctor on the planet is right 100% of the time, or 99.9% for that matter, so when your mommy intuition tells you otherwise, you should listen to her. It’s sad to think of how many women this same thing could have happened.
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