Over the course of my first two pregnancies I’d been to a couple of doctor appointments solo. So when I found out I was pregnant with my third I thought nothing of heading off to my first check-up alone. It wasn’t a good idea. Now I want others to know why they should never go by themselves to a prenatal appointment.
First time jitters
It’s incredibly exciting and nerve wracking when you’re expecting your first child. There’s so much to learn and discuss, you have no prior experience to relate to, and there are lots of different emotions on top of physical and hormonal changes happening to your body.
For this reason most couples attend all health checks and doctor appointments together, as was the case with my first baby. My husband and I were both so excited to hear his heartbeat, see him on the ultrasounds and chat about options for the birth. I think it was only right towards the end of the pregnancy that work commitments meant I had to attend one check-up by myself. It went fine and it wasn’t long before my healthy son entered the world.
Second time around
I had my first two sons quite close together, so when expecting for the second time I knew exactly what was going on being the ‘experienced’ mother that I was with everything super fresh in my mind. Even so, my husband came to many of my doctor check-ups with me throughout the three trimesters – not only for support but because he wanted to. And once again I was fortunate enough to have another healthy son.
Third time’s a charm
With two under two, life got busy pretty quick. So it’s not surprising that a number of years passed before baby number three was conceived and on its way. I was so excited about having another child and even though it wasn’t as recent as the last time, I still knew what to expect and thought I had this pregnancy thing down pat. I even went against the three month ‘no tell’ rule I had always stuck to, and excitedly told family and close friends in the really early days.
When my first obstetrician appointment rolled around and my husband couldn’t make it because of work, I wasn’t fazed at all. I’d done all this before right? Piece of cake. I laughed and chatted with my trusted doctor about us soon to be a family of five as he prepared me for a scan and I lay down happy and content as he moved the ultrasound wand around my tummy.
I waited to hear him talk about the baby but nothing came. His silence was deafening. Finally he spoke.
“Okay, we’re going to have to do an internal ultrasound as I’m not getting a good look here,” he said.
My heart began to race as every panicked thought ran through my mind. I tried not to cry and focused on looking at the ceiling, suddenly feeling so terribly alone. This was all going to be okay and soon I’d be looking at the first picture of my child. I was wrong.
“Your baby’s not there”
The internal ultrasound uncovered… nothing. There was no baby. What? Had the pregnancy home tests and GP urine and blood tests all been wrong? Was I crazy?
My doctor explained that sometimes it happens. My body was definitely pregnant and he could see the pregnancy gestational sac but there was no embryo, which should have been visible at 10 weeks. He was terribly sorry and patted my arm sadly before leaving the room so I could get dressed.
I thought about how happy I was just moments before and felt sick.
Shocked and confused
I was in utter shock and couldn’t see through the wall of tears hovering but not yet falling. Back in his room once more he kindly expressed his sympathy again and held my shoulder whilst talking about needing to do a curet to clean out my womb before I miscarried. I could barely grasp what he was saying as he quietly escorted me out of the clinic and away from the front desk without paying and waited with me at the lifts, after checking that my husband was able to be reached and leave work to be with me.
Why had I come alone? Why had I assumed that everything would be okay? Why wasn’t I at the front desk talking to the receptionist and paying my bill?
My husband was as shocked as I was when I called him utterly devastated and broken up. I somehow drove home and he rushed there from work to comfort me. He couldn’t believe what had happened but the main thing he was so upset about was that he hadn’t been there with me for the terrible news.
You can never be too sure
Later that week the curet was a success and after emotionally dealing with our loss and telling the family and friends who had known I was pregnant, we were able to try again a few months after that. Amazingly, we fell pregnant quickly and this time everything went smoothly and resulted in another beautiful baby boy. But after our unexpected loss we weren’t taking any chances and my husband attended every single appointment, check-up, scan and test to make sure I wouldn’t be alone if something went wrong.
If you’re expecting, do yourself a favour and make sure your partner, a family member or a friend is there with you at all your prenatal check-ups. Not only is it great to share this exciting time with people you love but you also just never know when you might need extra support.
Did you go to any of your prenatal appointments by yourself?