We slowly drive up through the familiar narrow tunnels, being careful not to run into the pillars flanking our sides. I scour left and right, looking for an empty spot. Nothing on floor 3. Nothing on floor 4. Nothing on floor 5. Nothing on floor 6. We finally find ourselves on the top floor, with not one empty space in sight. As as we are about to voice our irritation, I notice a woman sitting behind the steering wheel of a Mazda. I hop out and approach, signaling with my hands and mouthing in exaggerated fashion, "Are you leaving?" She smiles and nods yes. We pull into the last empty space in the entire garage and make our way down the stairs.
We step out onto the sidewalk briefly before walking into the familiar building.
"We're here so often," I say to Jeff.
I can't believe we are back so soon -- just four months after my last miscarriage, with me already two months into my pregnancy. My third pregnancy in one year.
We ride up the elevator and into the reception area where we greet the receptionist by name. She smiles at us, and I remember the last visit when I sat on the same couch and cried silently with my head down in my chest as two obviously pregnant ladies chattered about their due dates and nursery room decorations.
We are soon in the examination room. Our doctor bounces in, and we no longer notice the lap top she always carries in the crook of her arm.
"How are you feeling?" she asks.
"I'm nauseous and exhausted ALL THE TIME. All I want to do is sleep."
"All right!" she cheers.
She props me up and prepares for the ultrasound. As she moves the wand, my eyes are fixed on the little screen. It is probably no more than a few seconds, but they seem to stretch into infinity. I stare and keep staring at the screen. All I see is a dark hole. Yes, there is the uterus, but... I'm afraid to ask. I just look at the screen, afraid to see the doctor's reaction, Jeff's.
I don't want to think of the last ultrasound when we stared so expectantly. While we obliviously chatted with the nurse about the state of the art ultrasound that could accurately measure the translucent space in the tissue at the back of the baby's neck, she kept rubbing the pad over my belly, pressing down more and more urgently. Abruptly, she removed the pad said, "Oh, I'm so sorry. I don't see a heartbeat." And we sat there, stunned, not knowing what to say.
This time, I am ready, for whatever the news may be. As I decide it would be ok, no matter what, a faint image appears. A little blob on the empty space.
"There's the heartbeat," the doctor says. She points to a speck less than half the size of the space in the letter "o" on this page. It blinks, and I remind myself that we saw them the last two times. But despite myself, relief sets in.