Close Call

One of the perks of conceiving with a fertility clinic is the sheer amount of monitoring that is available in early pregnancy.  This, I think, is a big factor in keeping us as calm as we are.  So last weekend we went in and we watched the technician’s face as she brandished that familiar wand.  Lauren and I both let out giant breaths we’d been holding when we saw her smile.


My first, relieved thought was, “there’s the heatbeat”as I spotted it flickering away.  My second thought was “Who IS that, I wonder?”  It’s odd, to be pregnant with a different embryo, a different flickering heart.  It’s wonderful, and somehow still surprising.

Yesterday we went back, as instructed for another look.  This time the heart was more defined, the beats steady and strong.


We left the clinic relieved.  We’ve been amazingly able to keep a handle on the anxiety so far, but I think we both have a certain amount of ultrasound PTSD.  It’s that moment that I’m afraid of, the moment when the radiologist’s face falls, that moment that I still have nightmares about.  So far we’ve just had smiles and warm congratulations (although yesterday’s tech was every bit as excited about our recent women’s hockey gold medal…having seen the game, I couldn’t blame her).

Then we went off to our niece’s first birthday party.  She’d been sick recently, and when I spotted her pink cheeks, they nagged at me. I’d seen that rash somewhere before.  We got the call from Lauren’s sister late last night…it had just been diagnosed as Fifth Disease, also known as parvo virus.  I knew it from many years of working with young children.  I also knew it from my baby loss group, because one of the women lost her baby after contracting it.  It can be very dangerous to a fetus.

And with that, all that control, the fears that I’ve been successfully keeping in compartmentalized boxes to deal with as they come, the panic that I haven’t let in, it all started to unravel.  Really, universe?  Exposure to parvo virus?  We don’t actually have enough to worry about?  The more I thought about it the more upset I got.  Not because it was very likely that I would contract the virus (I didn’t hold the cranky birthday girl, and 50% of adults have already had it and are therefore immune), but because I just can’t bear the thought of another thing to wait and see about.  More odds to be on the wrong side of.  It was triggering in the deepest, darkest way.

I emailed the amazing nurses at our clinic first thing this morning after a very restless night, and I got this back:

Hello Tamara,

How are you this morning? We usually test all our patient for parvovirus!! I just checked your chart and you are immune to it!!! So no worries!

Have a good Sunday and enjoy yourself ok.

Ok.  So on we go.


About tamarainwriting

I'm a queer, married, child and youth counsellor, in Toronto, Ontario. My wife and I had a beautiful stillborn son and we have an amazing one-year-old daughter. It's a complex journey.
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8 Responses to Close Call

  1. Phew. Very glad to read about the heartbeat and the antibodies.

  2. Allison says:

    Phew. Glad everything is okay.
    I was so worried about Fifths when I was pregnant (and teaching kindergarten). Lots of rosy cheeks.

  3. Lindsay says:

    What a relief that email must’ve been! So glad everything is ok.

  4. Ashleigh says:

    I was holding my breath for your whole post! What a relief 🙂

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