In the Box
The box arrived from Amazon and I knew what it was: an at-home baby heartbeat monitor.
In the weeks leading up to losing Iris, I was out of my mind with anxiety. Likely an unhealthy level, and one that was rendering me nearly non-functional. I bought the Wusic heart rate monitor. It was delivered on February 8, 2016. I was just a few days shy of 16 weeks. I carefully dragged the monitor over my abdomen area, finding nothing. I waited an hour, tried again. Nothing. The directions said that after 16 weeks I should have “no trouble” finding a heartbeat and I figured I was close enough, so I began to panic. But the directions also assured me that not finding a heartbeat likely meant a weird angle or something.
Three days later, on February 11th, she had no heartbeat at my scheduled appointment. Measurements by Maternal Fetal Medicine showed her size within four days of gestational age, so that was likely the day that we lost her.
After arriving home from the hospital, the Wusic was still sitting in the box next to my bed. I knew then why I had been unable to find a heartbeat: there wasn’t one, those few days before. I returned it to Amazon, claiming it was defective.
Last week, the same dread overcame me. I woke up in the darkest hours of the night, drenched in my own panic. In my sleepy, crazed state, I ordered another Wusic, thinking maybe I could calm myself at home. The next day I went rushing into the doctor’s office, and my fears were put to rest by hearing a heartbeat with the Doppler.
The Wusic arrived while I was out of town this past weekend. The box was sitting on the counter when I got home. I took it out tonight. I just heard a heartbeat four days ago. I should hear it again. There’s no reason I shouldn’t, though everything can change in an instant. I covered my abdomen with coconut oil and slowly dragged the little device across my skin.
And there it was. Clear as day and I would recognize the sound anywhere, the quick steady heartbeat. I was instantly choked up. Listened for a few minutes, then put the Wusic back in the box.
I do not know how much I’ll use it. I don’t know if it will make me feel better or worse. Better, maybe, if I am having a rough day. Worse, if there is a day when I cannot find it easily. Does listening for a heartbeat make me too hopeful, like I am grateful for one more day? Hope feels dangerous at this point.