I walked down the hall with Hannah the ultrasound tech and casually mentioned that I was a carrier for a couple in London, and just wanted to make sure it would be okay for me to have them on Skype for our first ultrasound.
“Oh no,” she said. “That’s not allowed,” much to my surprise. “You see, the problem is that we have no way of knowing that they’re not recording it, and should something go wrong in the pregnancy later on and they pull out a recording… it’s a real liability and I could lose my job.”
I took a deep breath.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not exactly the, “Oh… sure, okay… I understand; that’s fine,” type. I mean, really. These people have been trying to have a baby for over seven years and this woman is going to stand in the way of them actually seeing their kid on the big screen for the first time??
As my eyes widened I did my best work on the surprised/pleading/oh-you-can-be-such-a-hero-Hannah/is-there-anyone-you-can-check-with? front. I emailed Vivianne and David to let them know our plan might not work.
And then, it did. Hannah checked with Donna and said all I need to do next time if I run into any trouble is repeat that phrase: Hannah checked with Donna. Hannah checked with Donna. Got it. I will not forget those words.
Calling Jamie on my way out of the appointment I asked, “Did I ever cry at the ultrasounds with our own kids? Because I basically kept it together with this one, but there were some tears welling up there, I’ll admit.”
We saw that little smudge on the screen, with the flickering back-and-forth black-to-white that was the fetus’s heart beating. 128 beats per minute. Measurements perfect in every way. We listened to the whoosh-whoosh thumping of its heart. It’s magical every time, but this time, of course, was different. As Hannah explained what we were seeing, Vivianne kept repeating, “that’s the gestational sac? Really? That’s the sac? There’s a baby in there? A baby? Is that a baby?”.
What will it take for her to actually believe that I’m pregnant, I thought?! My blood test confirmed that I’m pregnant. Then a second blood test confirmed that I’m pregnant. I feel sick and exhausted day and night. Nothing’s fallen apart since. Didn’t we have this information already?
Only then did I learn that this was, in fact, the moment they were waiting for. Vivianne herself had gotten to this stage before. Her pregnancy was confirmed, time went on, they’d get to the ultrasound… and never saw a gestational sac. “I’m so sorry,” they’d tell her. And she’d leave this very appointment crying the whole way home. Multiple times. At that point it all made sense to me in a different way.
Vivianne and David thanked me up and down. They thanked Hannah up and down. I couldn’t see them on our shoddy Skype connection even though they could see me. Immediately following the appointment, here’s what they sent:
“We’re having a baby… we’re having a baby,” Vivianne has kept repeating ever since.