The stallion was so magnificent. Galloping all around me in his striking beauty. The consistent thudding of his hooves hitting the ground, rearing up every now and then to take his stance with the anxiety, frustration or pressure he felt near me. It was almost as if he was desperately trying to connect with me. My voice was silent and my heart and body felt frozen. The stallion finally turned and dashed off into the darkness, his hooves loud, thudding over and over.
My eyes opened, it was so bright in the room and I heard the thudding. Confusion set in as my eyes tried to adjust. Was the stallion back? I felt a hand on mine; my mom’s voice seemed to pour out over the thudding, “I brought you graham crackers.” Suddenly I knew where I was. I looked over at the monitor that was strapped to my belly and saw the beautiful image of my son’s “thudding” heartbeat. I smiled but my lips were so dry they almost felt as though they split open.
“Good news,” my mom continued, “we can leave soon.”
The idea of leaving the bed to be discharged exhausted me, but before I would even think about it further, the waves of relentless nausea struck me hard. I desperately tried to swallow to ease the wave. No use. Hyperemesis Gravidarium, is a form of hell on earth. I looked down on my arm and saw the bruises, the yellow ones that were fading and the new purple-blue ones that were forming. My mom must have read my mind, “don’t worry that is normal. It has been so hard to find your veins due to dehydration, that they bruised.” I could not find my voice, the dryness in my throat felt like I was swallowing glass.
My mom got up to go check on the discharge papers. The thudding from the monitor took over the silence in the room again. But not for long. The door swung open, the resident that was assigned to me came in. “May I have a look at this big guy before you leave?” I nodded. I knew he needed to practice OB ultrasound and being that I was in there so often; I had officially become the unit’s pregnancy guinea pig. But that was perfectly fine by me, looking at my sweet Joseph was my solace during this incredibly difficult pregnancy. I was almost 26 weeks, almost at the third trimester! The Hyperemesis had not stopped or even lessoned by that point, in fact, it was growing worse but I knew that my son would be the shining star, the prize that I would receive and get to cherish for the rest of my life. During that moment that the Doctor had taken the straps off, the thudding stopped and he was rubbing the gel on my stomach, I felt my sweet boy kicking away…he must be getting tired of all these checks. The Doctor laughed. I will never forget his laugh, one of those big genuine, deep belly laughs.
“Wow! What a strong little man you have in there!” He smiled at me but the gel and the pressure of the wand on my belly sent me into relentless dry heaving. The doctor patiently waited and then asked if I wanted him to come back. I shook my head, he continued. Joseph’s thudding and strong heartbeat filled the room again but now I can see him too. I felt my eyes sting with tears. The most beautiful site a mother can see during pregnancy is their baby on the screen, moving well and with a strong heartbeat. But I did not think that there could be an alternative at this point, after all I was past the twelve-week period where the thought of miscarriage is far past your thoughts.
I saw Joseph’s body jerking and moving about. The doctor waved the wand all around, looking at as many angles as he could, stopping to take measurements. The front of my son’s face flashed on the screen and both of us were taken back by the next movement. He lifted his arm in a way that looked like he was waving. The doctor froze the screen as fast as he could to capture that moment. He wrote on the picture from the keyboard the words “Hi Mommy!” My heart just melted when he printed the picture to let me take home and as I stared at it, I whispered “Hi Joey” with my finger tracing his face. I could not WAIT to hold him and kiss that face. At that time, I lived for those ultrasounds. They ignited the fight I had in me to keep going, to get to the end and birth my precious baby. Joseph “waving hello” to me was a moment I will never forget, especially now that I know that was his last moment here on earth that I got to see him alive. It was like…he was waving goodbye…