I was in a dark room. I was in a dark, sterile room alone with someone who was mostly a stranger. I knew something was not right when she was suddenly very quiet and very serious as she searched the screen, and my uterus, with more fervor. In that room, at that moment, I felt absolutely awful for the poor woman holding the ultrasound probe. Of course, I felt awful for myself too, but the look on her face when she answered my question about whether there was something missing on the screen made my heart sink for her, that she had to be the one to tell me the news. My poor colleague had to tell me that there was no heartbeat so I could proceed to my official OB office for further evaluation - basically to see the same ultrasound result again at her office, ouch.
Backing up, I was still a fairly new fertility nurse, working at the clinic for almost 6 months. I was nervous about having a child and didn’t want to delay as I had already seen some young patients with difficulty conceiving. My first ultrasound looked great and the little bean had a nice, strong heartbeat at 8 weeks. Working at a fertility clinic though, I wanted to take advantage of my resources (who wouldn’t?!). I was hoping to get a quick ultrasound before we started seeing patients that morning so I had a picture to show my family as we announced to my grandparents that we were expecting at Thanksgiving, the very next day. Best laid plans and all that. After my pre-Thanksgiving D&C, I knew that I had to find the positive in this situation. As hard as it was, I started opening up to my patients who were having difficulties with miscarriages whether it was their first or they had endured more than one. I wanted them to understand that I’ve been exactly where they are and they are not the only one such an awful and unfair thing has happened to. This helped me open up to my social circle more and what I found was so interesting.
Women want to talk about it. For most of us, this is a private, painful and very personal situation, but when I talked about how I was feeling and listened to the point of view others had, something amazing happened. A silent sisterhood formed, helping others see they’re not alone, and making sure they know there is a light after the darkness. The light may come in a different form than what they expected or even hoped for, but it’s there if you just look around. Knowing my hairdresser or the neighbor I see every year at the Fourth of July party has been lifted up just by showing them they are not alone is an also empowering feeling. It is a feeling that makes the whole ugly experience I went through worth it, to know I can help someone else when they are in a dark place see the light around them.
Be someone else’s light, it will make you shine even brighter.
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