First Ultrasound: Happy and Sad at the Same Time

WB's first ultrasound

WB's first ultrasound

The clinic we used made you wait 4 full weeks before the first ultrasound.  This is longer than most other clinics, but they do it because by around 8 weeks, there should be no question about whether the heart is beating, which can happen if you have the u/s earlier.  It was a LONG 4 weeks, though.  I was reassured whenever F said that she was feeling nauseous because after constant monitoring while I was stimming and then three betas, you get used to the attention.

October 27 was a beautiful fall day with a vivid blue sky but a definite chill in the air.  J and I were both super nervous as we waiting with F and her husband in the waiting room for our appointment.  Finally, we were called back and at last it was the moment of truth. 

F clutched my arm excitedly as we saw two gestational sacs very clearly.  J and I were thrilled, but as the doctor remained silent while scanning, I remembered the important question.

“Are the hearts beating?” I asked nervously.

Finally, he replied, “I see one heart beating, but I’m not sure about the twin.” 

He spent a lot of time on the silent, unmoving twin before declaring that it had no heartbeat.  Sadly, it looked like it had stopped developing in the last week he told us.  If we had our first ultrasound earlier, we would likely have seen two beating hearts.  Not that it makes it better.

As if there were nothing else to see with the twin, the doctor moved back over to the live one.  He pointed out that it had the teddy bear shape appropriate for that stage.  And then I saw the baby begin to wiggle.  At first I thought the doctor was doing something, but then I realized that it was the baby moving.  It was the most incredible thing I had ever seen.  At the end of the appointment, the doctor, never known for his tact or empathy, said, “Aren’t you glad you put three embryos back?” I could have cheerfully hit him. 

F, J and I were a sober crowd as we returned to the waiting room.  On the one had, I was soooo happy to have seen the beating heart on the one baby.  On the other hand, I was devastated to see that the twin hadn’t made it.  And it was as clear as day.  I couldn’t believe how sad I was over that tiny, tiny baby, but I was.  It was a shock.  I had expected to see one baby or no baby, maybe even two babies if we were lucky, but it never occurred to me that I would see one live baby and one dead one. 

And I won’t deny that we would have been thrilled with twins.  One of the bitterest pills infertility has made me swallow is that we may only be able to have one child due to treatment success (or lack thereof) and money.  I’m an only child who once wanted a 5 kids.  Having twins would have been wonderful.  Family complete!  Unfortunately, it was not to be.

Champagne after first ultrasound

Champagne after first ultrasound

J and I hugged, and I went back to work, but I kept crying and finally had to go home where I had a good cry for the other baby.  And I had another worry:  the doctor wanted to see us again in about 10 days, and I couldn’t decide if that’s b/c he was concerned about the remaining baby or if he wanted to check on the twin. 

And the baby’s first measurements seemed a little on the low side.  We were almost 9 weeks when we had our ultrasound, but it was measuring about 4 days behind.  I Googled “vanishing twin” and “ultrasound measurements” obsessively.  Having a vanishing twin at this stage of gestation was pretty normal and preferable to later.  As well, ultrasound measurements have an accuracy of +-4 days, so really, there wasn’t anything to worry about.  But I’m a champion worrier.

J and I had chilled a bottle of champagne to drink that night to celebrate good news at the u/s.  We hadn’t anticipated receiving mixed news, but we thought it was important to celebrate the good, no great news that we had received.  We had a baby with a heartbeat, and so as we toasted, we celebrated it and mourned our twin.


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