She sits in the chair across from me, her eyes peering above her face mask. The pregnancy test was positive, and she looks even more nervous than before, even if all I can see are her eyes. She explains that she is unsure of what to do, but she is very doubtful that carrying the pregnancy is something she can do. Her living situation is unstable, and she believes she cannot bring a baby into the home. Her boyfriend waits in the lobby but has told her that it’s her decision. They leave serious and quiet but will return that afternoon for the ultrasound.
As one of the nurses at Pregnancy Resources, I’ve witnessed the effect of seeing ultrasound images of a fetus. It can be a powerful moment for a pregnant woman to look at the ultrasound screen and see a tiny embryo with a heartbeat with her own eyes. Numerous times, I’ve needed to pause and reach for the Kleenex box and offer my patient a tissue. The tears well up in her eyes and slide down her cheeks. To say it is overwhelming is an understatement. During normal fetal development, cardiac activity begins in an embryo of 5 weeks gestation. During the 6th week of gestation, tracing the fetal heart rate is one of the metrics we perform. But honestly, we nurses never know how the ultrasound images will affect our individual patients. Will they choose to look at the screen? If there is a heartbeat, what significance will that have on her, especially if she thinks abortion is her only option? And so we quietly pray.
The young girlfriend and boyfriend return for the ultrasound. Neither work today so it’s a good day to come back for the scan. Moments later, she is laying on the exam table, with her boyfriend standing next to the table near her face. The large screen turns on and within her uterus, there is a 4mm embryo with a heartbeat, flickering white. Their faces stare at the screen and they say little. The exam is complete. I take the young man from the ultrasound room to the consultation room to wait for his girlfriend. As he enters the room, I ask, “So what did you think of the ultrasound?” I am not prepared for his answer – I have never heard it put this way before…
“That was Beautiful. All I needed to see was the beating heart.”
Yes, I agree young man. What we just witnessed was beautiful. Life is beautiful. Even a 4mm embryo with a heartbeat is beautiful. Ultrasound allows us to see the beauty of fetal life that God creates within a pregnant woman. This technology has become a Godsend to our culture. A culture that needs to see that life is beautiful. Next week 12 more ultrasound appointments are scheduled. Your continued support will allow those couples who feel scared and overwhelmed to see that LIFE is BEAUTIFUL.