At 36+2 weeks, I had a regular prenatal appointment with my favorite client: my domestic partner, Watta. After two hours of
discussions and planning for the last month of her pregnancy and the birth of our child, I laid my ear to her belly to listen to the familiar thump-thump-thump of our baby’s heartbeat. I could hear only Watta’s heart, so I got out my fetoscope and listened. And listened. I wasn’t worried, not at first. Watta’s fundal height had fallen a little behind at our last prenatal the week before, but it was nothing I had never seen before, and since then she had grown a full centimeter. The night before she had noticed for the first time the baby kicking her in the ribs. So I listened some more, my own heart rate starting to climb. “When did you last feel the baby move?” “I’m not sure. I don’t remember feeling it yet this morning.” It was noon. I went to the car and got the doppler, despite my previous hope that my baby would not be exposed to ultrasound in utero, despite my inner knowledge that I wouldn’t hear anything with that, either. Whoosh-whoosh, Watta’s heartbeat came through loud and clear. Too loud. Nothing else.
Watta’s face was panic-stricken. (Click here to read the rest of the article)