When a dream dies
The screen is black.
Gradually, an image will come into focus. If this is your first, you won’t be able to tell what you are looking at. Don’t be shocked if you say ‘oh, a face!’ only to be told ‘that’s a foot..’
Don’t feel silly, it’s not your job to read this.
It’s not your job to understand what is on the screen.
Your job is to grin maniacally… what a wonderful moment! The shades of black fade out, then return. There is white, distinct although somewhat distorted lines, but the very clear outline of something. There is most certainly something there. The test was right. You are pregnant, and this screen shows you there is definitely something there.
But something else is missing. This isn’t like on TV. The chatty ultrasound technician..isn’t. It’s just not quite what you expected. You expected more language, more medical jargon. You expected to hear more about what is happening, what she is seeing. But you brush aside the silence. After all, this isn’t your job. You aren’t supposed to know this stuff. And you know you watch too many medical dramas.
Still, the silence creeps in.
Eventually, you’ll ask.
“How is it?”
You’ll probably cringe, and cover…
“I mean, the baby. Not ‘it’. That sounds awful, what I mean is…the Baby. How is the baby?”
If your technician has a soul, you’ll be told gently…
“I am so sorry, but I’ve spent a long time checking and your baby doesn’t have a heartbeat…….I have to tell you, your baby has died.”
If your technician is a mindless git not only will you be made to leave your husband in the waiting room while you are taken back for your scan, but you will then be left in limbo of being told nothing except ‘the doctor will see you shortly’ for nearly three hours.
When someone, anyone, finally tells you that your baby has died inside you you will fall to pieces. Where just one minute prior you were discussing baby names, and if you want to find out the gender….
In that instant you become a statistic, the 1-in-4.
Miscarriage is an intensely physical, and emotional loss. You will feel hurt, so deeply that where there once was new life growing inside of you there is death. You may feel repulsed by the terminology medical professionals will throw at you. Horrible, awful words. You will have to decide, or they will decide for you on the process’s that will follow. Medical versus natural. And all while you are crying those heartbreaking sobs, those tears of loss and of fear. Where you were just discussing names, who to tell next, and what colour to paint the nursery…
You look at the screen, fading to black. Offering you a final glance at that tiny profile. The knowledge of all the things that can never be, that will never be is brutal. That final image, those words are seared into your memory.
For now, they can do what they like with you. They can send you home to cry until you vomit and fall into the blissful black of unawareness for a few hours. They can make you stay overnight. They can send you to surgery. In this moment they can do what they like with you. In this moment, you don’t care. Those words run through your mind and you know that no matter what they do with you, whatever happens in the future, whatever children you may or may not have, whatever happens to your relationship, your job or your friends. Whatever. Whatever happens, they can do what they like with you.
Because as surely as you lie there, silent tears running down your face, a piece of you has died and nothing matters anymore.