Dear Ultrasound Technician,
I am so sorry that I do not remember your name, or your exact title, but I wanted to send a note and thank you for being so kind to me. I came in on Monday 10/24 for an ultrasound and meeting with Dr. Eisenhauer. Even though this was my first pregnancy I knew I was having a miscarriage. My friend had told me that when she had a miscarriage her ultrasound technician was cold and clinical so I should go in prepared for the worst on all fronts. But you were the exact opposite.
I came to the appointment alone. I like to be independent and stalwart and told my husband he didn’t need to leave work because we both knew the dreaded outcome. I figured this knowledge was enough to get me through. But I grossly underestimated how seeing the little bean on a screen would simultaneously make the pregnancy and the loss of the pregnancy viscerally real.
My husband and I hadn’t planned on getting pregnant. I am of “advanced maternal age” and he is a testicular cancer survivor. We figured we would never be able to have a child. So when I took a pregnancy just a week before and it came back positive, we were in shock. So I took two more pregnancy tests. We gingerly talked about our hopes for a boy or a girl. How we thought we would be as parents. How we would arrange our lives to accommodate this beautiful surprise. We also talked about the reality of my age and the increased risk of having a miscarriage. He didn’t want to tell anyone that we were pregnant. I couldn’t contain myself and told my sister and best friend.
I called the baby “Squeaky”. And for several days I carried my secret little Squeaky and the motherly dreams that come with planning a child’s future.
But Squeaky wasn’t real. He/she was just an idea. Until I was there, in your office and you showed me the screen, and the sack, and that there was no heartbeat. And you were kind. And gentle. And I did my best to be stalwart. But my heart betrayed me and I couldn’t contain the gravity of that moment. I was pregnant. Squeaky was real. And for whatever reason Squeaky had died.
I had no idea how heavy, how alone, how devastating that moment would be. I instantly regretted not having my husband with me. I was caught off guard by my reaction to that moment. And I started to cry. And you were kind. And gentle. At one point you touched my shoulder and said it wasn’t my fault. And I needed that. I needed someone to touch me, to ground me in that moment, to speak to the guilt and anguish that overwhelmed me. And you did that. You were perfect.
I am a therapist. I specialize in grief, loss, and trauma. I have worked with women who have gone through infant loss for years. I am full of book knowledge about how to help people. But at that moment I could not help myself. So thank you for being so gentle with me and the situation. Thank you for saying not only the right thing, but the comforting thing. Thank you for helping to hold the heaviness of that moment. I have no doubt your day is full of extremes. People elated, and people devastated. I know what it’s like to sit with the devastated, but I’m accustomed to being on the other side of the equation. When the table was turned I was filled with gratitude that you were the one there.
I may never meet you again. But I wanted you to know how much you and your kindness means to me. Over the last week and a half my heart has been rent in twain. I cry…a lot. I have a hard time thinking. I see pregnant women and reminders of my loss everywhere. But amidst my grief I am full of gratitude for the gentle souls who have offered me comfort through this process. You being the first. Thank you.
Carrie L. Hanson-Bradley