Yesterday I took yet another red-eye trip from Western Canada to New York City. I rented a car and drove to Woodbury, Long Island and met a friend and fellow Braverman patient for lunch. Lunch, my friend and her husband were delightful.
Then I drove to the bank to get cash to pay for my Intralipid infusion and went into Dr. Braverman’s office. By this point I had slept about 2.75 hours on a plane. I was beyond exhausted and my throat was hurting in the kind of way that left little doubt that I will be sick before long. In this fragile state I had decided not to ask for my ultrasound to be done a day early.
My nurse had other plans when she found out the LP could not come to the Saturday ultrasound today. Before I knew it she shuttled me into an exam room and said Dr. Braverman would be right in to do my ultrasound before the Intralipid infusion. I had no time to think or do much beyond strip from the waist down and fervently plead with powers greater than me for some good news.
Please let this time be different.
I was trembling something awful. Tears were leaking out of the corner of each of my eyes. I shook so much – despite every effort to lie still – that Dr. Braverman asked if he had hurt me and if I was okay apart from the obvious anxiety. He told me not to panic if he did not speak right away as he looked around. I cannot tell you how grateful I was for that caveat because it allowed me a moment to inhale and accept that it would be a few minutes before I has any conclusive news.
That is not what happened.
I looked over my right shoulder at the sonogram screen and the first thing I saw was a clearly visible gestational sac with a clearly visible yolk sac inside it. As I registered my first thought – there is only one – and felt a piercing sadness register in my heart, I saw that magical Rocky Mountain graphing line spread across the screen.
“There is the heartbeat. That is what you told me you wanted to see today, right?”
I think it took me several seconds to digest this. Then came tears and my brilliant and incredulous response: “That is BABY’S heartbeat?”
Next we got to hear it. That beautiful, melodic chuh-chuh chuh-chuh sound. I wiped away tears so I could see the screen. 122 beats per minute. At 6 weeks 1 day. Dr. Braverman said we were looking for 90-110 in the first part of 6 weeks so 122 was fantastic. On top of that, Azulito measured a day ahead – 5.4 mm or 6w2d.
In the other good news department, my uterine blood flow was perfect and my blood tests from 2 weeks ago indicate, in Dr. Braverman’s words, “a textbook perfect response” to the cocktail of immune medications I have been taking. Although he acknowledged that I have a long way to go and it is very early yet, all of my results read as a whole together with this first ultrasound are reassuring. He was very pleased.
He asked if I wanted to redo this performance and video tape it for the LP. Of course I did! After a moment of awkwardness while we navigated removing the dildo cam, me trying to discreetly cover my behind with the paper sheet as I leapt off the examining table, grabbed my phone, leapt back up and tried not to go through my knees (which had turned to rubber at some point in this process), the video recording was underway. Chuh-chuh chuh-chuh chuh-chuh is immortalized in video. Amen.
Azulito has become a film star before his or her second month birthday.
I have never in my life hugged a doctor or felt any inclination to do so. When we ended this visit, however, I told Dr. Braverman I was going to hug him instead when he extended his hand and said “congratulations”. To his credit he did not give me one of those awkward stranger hugs replete with uncomfortable pats on the back. It was a big, warm hug and he even rubbed my back when a sob involuntarily (but thankfully quietly) escaped. I suddenly felt very self conscious and promptly made it all business again (serves me right for hugging my doctor, that’s so unlike me!) and said thank you for getting us this far.
And so it is. Azulito lives. I hope this remains true for a very long time.
Thank you all for believing, hoping, supporting and awaiting anxiously alongside me. I am so very grateful.