A week ago, Ben and I ran across the possibility that we could purchase a fetal doppler monitor at 73% off. It was $35 and it was a little pocket model that didn't tend to work accurately until 12 weeks. We'd just gotten to nine, but we thought about it and said, "Well, we're not the only ones we know having babies right now. Other people might have a use for this sometime as well...and it sure would be nice if we could listen to the baby's heartbeat on our own."
So we bought it. Mom Turner said, "You know you're going to try it out anyway, whether it's too early or not."
"Yeah, we know," we said a little sheepishly. "But hey, it's a really neat little thing and if we know it's too early, it's not like we're going to be bothered if we don't hear anything."
The box came in the mail today.
Considering all our conversations of the past week, I'd already come to the point of saying, "If the baby's fine, then we just have to wait a few weeks and we'll get a good chance to hear the heartbeat then." But of course, when I opened the box and looked everything over, I thought, "Aw...give it a shot."
I heard nothing but what I suspected was the baby's placenta - sort of a whooshy thing that clearly has my heartbeat in it, but it's the only thing like that you can hear in my stomach so I figured that's what it was. Still, no baby heartbeat.
But then, Ben wasn't home.
I put the machine away and told Ben about it later. After dinner he said, "Hey, I'd like to take a look at this little thing we bought."
I got it back out and showed him the parts and explained what I'd read in the instructions about how it worked. "So what did you hear?" he wanted to know.
"Not much," I said. "Maybe the placenta, but then that's only to be expected."
"What's it sound like?" he said.
I tried to think how to describe it better than I already had. "Here, I'll just show you," I said. So I put the pieces together and got it all angled properly...and there was that whooshy sound again. I handed him one of the two earbuds and said, "Like this."
And then it happened.
Cutting right into my heartbeat was another much fainter sound. Fainter, but pretty unmistakable. I've heard it a hundred times over the years, multiple times with every one of my siblings.
"BEN!" I squeaked. "THAT'S THE BABY!"
Of course I was so excited that I moved the monitor and we totally lost the sound. I think the last time I was that excited was the day Ben asked me to marry him.
"Okay, now we're going to find it again," Ben said. "Just a minute."
He went and got the laptop and the line-in jack and hooked everything up. "I don't know," I said. "I think it was pretty much a miracle we found it once - I may not be able to do it again."
"Just try," he said.
So we did. I went to the same place and listened for my heartbeat and realized it was pretty far over to my right, so I slid the monitor to the left just a touch...and there it was again. So strong and clear and unmistakable that the monitor flashed the little sign that it'd found a fetal heart rate and the numbers started climbing. I couldn't see them, but Ben was saying, "It's 100...no, 110...no 150...no, 170. It's 170!"
The baby obliged us by lying there calmly for a whole minute and thirty seconds before moving. One minute and thirty seconds of a strong little heartbeat chugging away at 170 - 173 beats per minute. Right perfectly on target for a baby this age. I think I must've held my breath half the time. I know - lack of oxygen is bad for babies. But I was afraid if I breathed I might jostle everything around and we wouldn't be able to hear any more.
Almost best of all, we have a recording.
We called up my family and Ben's and played it over the phone for them. We played it over the big speakers for Grandma and her mouth dropped open and she said, "That's the baby's heartbeat?!! That's absolutely marvelous! How did you do that?!"
I don't think Grandma's ever heard a baby heartbeat before. They weren't using monitors like that when Mom was born.
Thing is, being able to hear the baby's heart on a little pocket monitor at just barely 10 weeks old is no small feat. It wasn't a coincidence. It was a very, very precious gift. Jenny asked me why I thought we could hear the baby so early and I said, "Because God just gave us a very special gift."
And he did.
Click the play button if you want to hear our blessing of the year so far!
Wife of Benjamin and mother to two wonderful little girls who are getting bigger every day. Enjoys writing down thoughts and discussions we are having within the family and sharing them with whoever is interested in reading.
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