Our Baby

I was 41 years old when I got married for the first time. While I did marry a younger woman and became the step father to three girls, I never thought that I would have a child of my own. It was just over a month after my 44th birthday when my wife Renee told me we were having a baby. You can only imagine my surprise and joy on hearing that news, but just a month later everything came crashing down.

It was a Saturday morning and Renee and I were at my oldest step daughter’s cheerleading competition. Renee went to the bathroom and when she came back she told me she was bleeding. I asked her if she had any bleeding in any of her previous pregnancies and she said no.

We immediately went home and Renee called her Doctor’s office. The doctor on call called her back very quickly. He said that 1/3rd of all pregnant women experience some bleeding during pregnancy. Chances are it is nothing to worry about, but if this was the start of a miscarriage, there was nothing that could be done. He told her to rest and call back if the bleeding doesn’t let up or if she passes any tissue. He also told her to come into the office on Monday. The bleeding did let up, and we were hopeful that everything would be normal.

On Monday, I went with Renee to her doctor’s appointment. The doctor did an ultrasound, but wasn’t pleased with the results. He scheduled her for some blood work and set another appointment for Thursday.

That Thursday we returned to the doctor’s office and he did another ultrasound. I make no claim to be a medical expert, so while I may not be precise with some of the details, this is the way it was explained to me.

The doctor told us that on the ultrasound he was searching the uterus for the yolk sack. The yolk sack should be a perfect circle, with a black ring around it. He said all that he could find was a grayish crescent shape. In addition he did not find a heartbeat. He said that he has done over 50,000 ultrasounds, and this was not a viable pregnancy. In addition he feared that this could be a tubular pregnancy which could be dangerous for Renee. He recommended that she get a D&C.

While I don’t know much about a D&C, I do know that is used for a variety of gynecological problems. In addition, as I understand it, abortions are often done using a similar procedure. The doctor said we could go to our hospital to have a more sophisticated ultrasound done, but he was certain the results would be the same. We opted to have that second ultrasound, and they scheduled it for later that morning.

The results from that ultrasound were similar, but there was one difference. Our doctor told us that the radiologist who read that ultrasound agreed that this was not a viable pregnancy. However, there was still a slight heartbeat, but it was clearly in a state of demise and would not last long. It also showed that this was not a tubular pregnancy.

Now if there is a heartbeat, no matter how “slight”, there is still a life and now if we have that D&C done, it is no longer just a gynecological procedure, but it is an abortion. I have been a member of the Knights of Columbus for years. The Knights have campaigned long and hard against abortion. I’ve contributed to several pro-life causes and participated in pro-life rallies. Never did I think that my wife would have an abortion, but now that was exactly the decision we were facing.

After we left the hospital, we went for lunch at a local restaurant and discussed what we should do. We were torn as to what to do, but neither of us wanted to end this new life. When we got home, we called the doctor. He could tell what we were going through. He said that while he was still convinced that this was not a viable pregnancy, we didn’t need to act right away. Since we now knew this was not a tubular pregnancy and Renee was in no danger, he recommended that we go back to his office on Monday and his partner would do another ultrasound. He felt that ultrasound would give us concrete results to better help us make what was the inevitable decision. We agreed that was a good plan and got an appointment for 11AM on Monday.

I have to say that weekend was one of the toughest in our lives. Renee was still experiencing several symptoms of a pregnant woman. While these can be very uncomfortable for a woman having a normal pregnancy, for a woman who knows that the baby inside her is dead or dying, it is mental torture. I can almost always find a way to cheer my wife up when she is sad, but this weekend, there was nothing I could do to make things better.

Monday finally arrived. As the appointment was later in the morning, I went to work and met my wife at the doctor’s office. As I held the office door open for her, she turned back to me and said, “After this…no matter what…we have to do something, because I just can’t take it any more.” I said, “I know. We will.” Because, I knew what she had been going through, and I couldn’t ask her to go through that any more.

It was then that I silently said a small prayer. I said, “Please God, give us a way out of this.” If the ultrasound would just show that there was no heartbeat and no life, we could have that D&C done and get our lives back to normal. At the same time, we could hold the moral high ground, because if there is no life, then the D&C would not be an abortion.

As I said earlier, a different doctor did this ultrasound. He started the ultrasound and it hadn’t been going for 15 seconds, when he turned the monitor towards us. He said that what we were looking at was the uterus and near the top of the screen was the yolk sack. I looked at it and did a double take and looked again. I then looked at my wife and she looked back at me with the same puzzled look. What was confusing us was that the yolk sack that was showing on the screen wasn’t the grayish crescent shape that showed up in the previous ultrasound, but it was a perfect circle with a black ring around it. Exactly the way our first doctor had said it should have looked like.

This doctor could see we were confused by this, and he said, “hasn’t anyone shown you this before?” I said, “No doctor. No one has ever seen this before.” His response was just, “Huh.”
I then asked him what I felt was the big question: “Doctor, is there a heartbeat?” He said, “Look at the yolk sack on the screen. Do you see the white shape in the middle?” “Yes,” I replied. “Do you see how it is flashing’” he asked. Again I replied, “Yes.” “Well,” he said, “that is the heartbeat.

Now I am sitting there totally confused. Finally my wife says, “Okay, wait a minute. Am I pregnant or did I miscarry?” “Well,” the doctor answered. “I don’t want to get your hopes up too high, because you are still a high risk for a miscarriage, but right now I would say your due date is the middle of October.”

The doctor left the examining room and Renee started to get dressed. I’m still not 100% sure what has just happened, and I started questioning her, “This was good, right?” “Yes David,” she answered. “This was very good.” Suddenly there was a knock on the examining room door. I opened the door to see our first doctor standing there. In his hand he was holding the pictures from the ultrasound which the other doctor had just done. His mouth was literally hanging open and he was stammering and stuttering. Finally he said, “Thank God we waited and didn’t get that D&C.” I just smiled and said, “Yes doctor, thank God.”

Our doctor wanted us to go back to the hospital to have them do an ultrasound to either confirm or refute the ultrasound we just had done. We were scheduled for Thursday, one week after the first set of ultrasounds. The way they do ultrasounds at our hospital, a technician conducts the ultrasound and gives the results to a radiologist, who reads and interprets the results. It worked out that we had a different technician doing this ultrasound but it was the same radiologist who read the first one. The first time, the radiologist called our doctor and our doctor went over the results with us. This time the radiologist came out to speak with us.

He said, “In the 30 years that I’ve been reading ultrasounds, I have never seen one as bad as the one I looked at last week that ended up in a good pregnancy.” He stuck out both his arms and pointed his thumbs down and said, “That was just awful!” “But this ultrasound I saw today…” Now he held up both hands, made the ok sign, and said, “Primo!”

We still had several months to go before the pregnancy would be full term. Every time Renee had any pain or spotted any blood, we wondered if this was it. Were we losing our baby? Through it all, Renee started to look more and more pregnant. Then finally, on October 22nd (Renee’s birthday); after 36 hours of sporadic labor; David Arthur Duguay Jr. was born, and he was absolutely perfect!

I often think back to that day we went for the ultrasound and my little prayer for help. I never expected it to be answered the way it was, but after all of this, I am convinced. Miracles do happen and I keep watching my little miracle grow up every day.

David Duguay
Connecticut

2 comments :

Gayle said...

What a beautiful and inspiring story. God has indeed blessed you and your wife. Thanks for sharing! :)

Paula, you have some wonderful stories here. I will come to read them as often as possible. Keep up the great work!

Timothy said...

That was truly inspiring. I felt like I was in his shoes, in that I got married at 41, and we had our first son when I was 43. We almost lost Elisa during delivery, but the LORD sustained her.
Blessings

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