Having “graduated” from the fertility clinic after two promising ultrasounds, my first appointment at my regular OB’s office fell on March 21st. The doctor was a newer one to the practice who hadn’t been there during my last pregnancy. I told him that four years ago that day, I’d been there for an ultrasound and learned my baby no longer had a heartbeat. I would likely be extra anxious during this pregnancy. He nodded in understanding.

After he’d checked me out and answered my questions, he tried to find the heartbeat with the Doppler.

He warned me first that this early on they can’t always find the heartbeat that way. If he couldn’t, we’d go to the ultrasound room and try again. He then pressed the Doppler probe to my stomach, moving it around while I waited to hear the rapid thundering. As he had warned, he could not find it. The doctor told me to wait there; he would make sure the ultrasound room was available. I texted Mike an update and said a silent prayer that the heartbeat would be there with better technology.

The doctor soon returned and brought me to the ultrasound room, where he thankfully, mercifully found my baby’s heartbeat. I got a bonus look at her (I was already convinced she was a girl, thanks to my dreams), and she was wiggling up a storm. He also measured her and confirmed she seemed on track. Relieved, I appreciated him not passing me off to a nurse or sonographer but sticking with me until we found that heartbeat.

I ended my appointment with lab work, including a blood draw for the Materniti21 NIPT screening that would check for chromosomal abnormalities and, as a byproduct, confirm the gender.

The lab tech advised that it could take five to ten business days for the results to come back, meaning the following Wednesday was likely the earliest we’d know anything. So, we began to wait with our fingers crossed.

Then, that Sunday, the 26th, while checking email on my phone, I saw a notice from LabCorp that I had new test results ready. Assuming it was just the standard bloodwork, I logged into my account. I paused for a moment noting the dates of the new report. The date the sample had been drawn: March 21. The day we learned our first baby no longer had a heartbeat. And the date of the report: March 26. The anniversary of our D&C. Then I looked a little further and saw that the report was the Materniti21 findings.

I stopped scrolling and went to join my husband and son on the floor by the back door. As my little boy gleefully played with sticking his tiny feet into our shoes, my husband and I read the report together. With Nathan, I’d had to wait for my doctor to call me with the results. This time, we scrolled through on our own. At first, we were not quite sure what to make of it, but as we kept scrolling, it became clearer. Negative for trisomy 21, negative for trisomy 18, negative for trisomy 13, and then the gender findings. Again it said “negative,” which was odd, but more scrolling revealed the answer. Beneath that result was a note indicating “consistent with female.”

"Little Sister" onesie - Mary's Bump Day Blog, Week 12: It's a Girl

Author’s Personal Collection/Mary Mathes

I would, of course, call my doctor’s office during the week to confirm I had read this report correctly. But from what we could tell at that moment, it certainly appeared we had just learned on the four-year anniversary of our D&C that we are having a girl, and so far, for now, she is healthy.

Read more bump day blogs from Mary:

More on this topic:

Share this story!