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My Misdiagnosed Miscarriage

It was April 24, 2015, my 26th birthday! I’m a huge celebrant, so at our house we celebrate everything from half birthdays to half anniversaries to ordinary, random days that I think are worth celebrating! My 26th birthday was extra special this year though, because I had a sweet peanut growing in my tummy, and I was about to see that little miracle for the first time at my 8-week OB appointment.

I arrived at the Women’s Health Clinic over an hour early because waiting at home was too painful as I watched my watch tick by the second. The lobby was packed with pregnant women of all stages. Some looked so happy, they just couldn’t stop smiling and rubbing their tummy to feel that miracle in motion growing inside of them, and some looked miserable for being behind schedule, ready to burst. I chose a chair and sat down with my 14-month-old son, never giving up hope that maybe my doctor could see me a few minutes early. Ava and I played pat-a-cake, watched a few episodes of Barney, and ate a lot of snacks. I remember looking at her and thinking, you’re about to be a big sister! You two will be the best of friends. My heart was so full.

“Mrs. Bishop” the nurse finally called. Ava and I quickly jumped out of our chairs and headed back. As we entered the room, the nurse ushered me onto the scale, then checked my vital signs and asked me a few standard questions about how I was feeling. “I feel good! It’s my birthday and I get to see my baby for the first time! I have some morning/all day sickness, but this is nothing new to me in pregnancy.”

I sat on the exam table and relaxed as I watched the nurse set up and sterilize the equipment my doctor would use for the ultrasound. I started to wonder what if it’s two babies? How will I react? I have to keep calm. I can handle two. Although it’s probably just one. It’s definitely just one.

“Hello Mrs. Bishop!” my doctor said as he opened the door, “Nice to meet you. Today we will see your baby’s heartbeat for the first time.” My baby’s heartbeat. What a beautiful sight “Just sit back and relax and let’s take a look.” She placed the probe and we both looked at the screen. She started fidgeting the probe around, and my heart sank before she even spoke a word.

“Mrs. Bishop, I’m so sorry to tell you this, but there’s no heartbeat. You’ve had a miscarriage and what we’re seeing here is just the tissue that was left behind.”

My heart stopped and my head started to spin, then I started sobbing, like any mother would. She was crying so much that the nurse had to put Ava back in her stroller. How did this happen? What did I do wrong? This was my fault. My precious baby was gone.

“PLEASE CHECK AGAIN! PLEASE LOOK ONCE AGAIN! PLEASE JUST LOOK!” I screamed, begging for a different outcome.

“Ms. Bishop, your baby is gone. Please get dressed and follow the nurse to my office so we can schedule your D&C.” Dilation and curettage (D&C) is a surgical procedure in which the cervix is ​​dilated and a special instrument is used to scrape away the lining of the uterus. The main goal of treatment during or after a miscarriage is to prevent bleeding and/or infection of the remaining tissue.

I stumbled into his office and honestly I don’t even remember how I made it out of the exam room. The doctor dialed my husband’s number and gave me his office phone number. “Trey, I miscarried and I need you here right now. Right now.”

“Okay, it looks like we have an opening for your operation on Monday, April 27. I’ll schedule it for 8 am, but I’m sure you’ll be here 45 minutes early for paperwork.”

The only words that came out of my mouth in his office were “Is there a way my baby could still be alive? Is it possible? Has it ever happened before?”

“No, Mrs. Bishop. It’s never happened before. I’m 99.9% sure your baby is gone.”

My husband helped me to my car and I followed him home with the most painful and heartbreaking emptiness inside of me. I had no idea the heartbreak one would feel from a miscarriage so early in the pregnancy.

When I pulled into the driveway, I called my mom and sobbed, letting it all out. If you know my mom, you know what an amazing woman she is, so she immediately jumped in her car and picked up my sweet Rickey B (my stepdad) and they drove to our home in Killeen from Houston (a 3 hour drive). For the rest of the day, this little voice inside me kept asking, Why am I not showing signs of miscarriage? Why do I still feel sick?

My husband, who had missed the actual ultrasound due to meetings at work, wanted closure seeing for himself that the baby was gone, so he made sure we got a second opinion before doing any procedures. I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but radiology is always booked at least 3 months in advance at the hospital we’re assigned to, and I know that ultrasounds are rarely scheduled on Saturdays for outpatients, only those in the ER experiencing life-threatening emergencies, but it turned out there was a tech who worked Friday night through Saturday morning with a 5:45 AM appointment cancelled.

We checked in with radiology at 5:15 am and were taken back to the room. The ultrasound technician was very grumpy, probably because he was very early and worked all night. He told me to hold still so he could confirm the miscarriage. How dare you be so confident about my miscarriage even before you give me the ultrasound? He grabbed the probe and placed it in my stomach. “Holy cow, go drink a lot of water, wait 10 minutes and come back,” he yelled. “I can’t tell you anything other than go drink some water and come back.”

Listen. I drank so much water that I almost threw up. Once 10 minutes had passed, I was back in the room and pulled up my shirt so he could perform the ultrasound.

“Congratulations, Mom! 160 beats per minute!”

My baby was ALIVE. Praise the Lord! My baby was ALIVE! I watched the little heart of this miracle beat, beat, and beat and I sobbed tears of joy with every beat. The technician took all the measurements my doctor was supposed to take at the appointment the day before, and the baby measured perfectly. Everything was normal and I was on track for my 8 week embryo.

I now have a happy and healthy 13 month old boy who is simply the sweetest boy in the world. He is on the right track, as far as his development. How did this happen?

I think my baby was always alive. To this day, I don’t know why we didn’t see a heartbeat on that first date. Maybe my doctor just made a mistake and it was a misdiagnosed miscarriage. Or maybe her little heart didn’t beat until after that date, just a late development in the heartbeat department. But I tell this story to explain that no doctor on the planet is right 100% of the time, or 99.9%, so when your mommy intuition tells you otherwise, listen to it. It’s sad to think of how many women the same thing could have happened to.

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