He eased the ultrasound probe in with a gentle hand and the screen turned from inky black to shades of grey and white lines and speckles dotted the monitor. Near the bottom of the screen appeared a small, white oval with a dark center, and he zoomed in.
“Here’s your baby!” the doctor said and his eyes lit up as a wide smile broke out across his face. He fiddled with the keyboard on the machine, zoomed in some more, and took a few measurements. It was then that we saw the very tiny white flickering speck of a beating heart.
“It’s measuring right on track, 6 weeks and 2 days, which is where it should be,” he added. “And the heart rate is 151 - perfect!”
My intended parents congratulated me and thanked me for a job well done on the embryo transfer, as I very gently propped myself up on my elbows, trying to raise my shoulders and head up so I didn’t have to speak to the ceiling all the while trying not to dislodge the ultrasound probe, which was still inside me.
“Oh, that’s great, I’m so happy it worked!” I said with a big smile on my face because I genuinely was ecstatic to be pregnant. But something else was on my mind. I pointed to the ultrasound screen – higher up and to the left of where the baby’s gestational sac could be seen.
“What’s this spot on the screen?” I asked while glancing at my intended parents, wondering if they’d be annoyed at me for challenging the doctor.
“What’s what?” asked the doctor, not looking up from scribbling in the chart.
“This, over here,” I said, as I placed my finger on the monitor and circled it gently over the spot higher than our baby. “What’s this dark spot over here?”
“That’s nothing. It’s just part of your lining,” he said. “You’ve got one good looking baby in there, congratulations! Come back in a week for another look to make sure everything’s growing fine,” and within minutes I was dressed again and we were making our way into the parking lot with fists full of first-issue glossy baby pictures in the form of print outs from the ultrasound machine.
We all excitedly hugged each other goodbye. “Are you disappointed it’s not twins?” my intended father asked. “Because we’re not. I mean, twins would be great, but one baby is really great too. We’re just so happy that it worked on the first try.”
“I’m still not exactly convinced it’s not twins,” I said. “There was something else on that screen.The doctor totally blew me off when I asked, but I know I saw something there.” Then I paused.
“But… maybe not…” My voice trailed off as I backtracked, realizing that I probably shouldn’t contradict their doctor’s findings. I didn’t want to come across as a know-it-all to them and critical of the doctor they chose.
And so I added “It was probably what he said, nothing, just a shadow.”