The Happy Tech

February 21, 2017 — 15 Comments

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Just over two years ago, I went for an ultrasound.

I was nearly 8 months pregnant with my son, Connor, and things were going exactly as they should. I was round, I was comfortable, I was excited. This ultrasound—a purely precautionary measure recommended by our midwives after a very slight fender bender—was to be done at the walk-in clinic just minutes from my house. The clinic was, as almost all walk-in clinics are, unremarkable. Beige and windowless, never without the pall illumination of fluorescent lights overhead.

But when I think back to that ultrasound, I don’t remember the beige or the bland. I remember the Happy Ultrasound Technician. He was a small man, with wirey hands and thinning hair, but his eyes were bright, and his smile was big. From the moment the ultrasound began, The Happy Tech beamed. While the whole process was old hat by then—brace for the cold gel on my stomach, place the pillow in the small of my back— the man beside made that beige room light up.

“A Christmas miracle!!” He said.

“…Oh gosh, I hope not!”  (I was, after all, a good month from my due date).

“Even better then! A New Year’s baby!”

“Haha, let’s hope.”

“Such a blessing, such a blessing.”

Looking back, he didn’t diagnose anything, of course. That’s not what ultrasound techs do. But his warm congratulations, the way he ushered me out of the office, and his parting smile as I went on my way, reassured me that all was well. And it was.

I remember telling Matt about The Happy Tech. Commenting on his sweet demeanour, grateful for his pleasant presence. But the cynic in me had to wonder, just a little, why he was so happy. Was it his first day on the job? Did he have a baby coming himself? Maybe he just got a raise! Or ate a really good breakfast?

Nearly two years to that day, that question got its answer.

On January 3, the Happy Tech conducted a very different ultrasound. He did not greet an 8 month-expectant mother. He did not see a soon-to-be-born baby summersault across the screen. And he did not talk of Christmas miracles.

Instead, he greeted an 8 week-expectant mother. And things went very differently. He had to look closer, and search longer than he expected for what he wanted to find. In the end, he could only note not where things were, but where they should have been. He offered no blessing. He gave no smiles. He only looked away, as the woman beside him barely disguised the panic in her voice.

“…but everything is OK, right?”

“I…well…you will have to discuss the results with your doctor.”

He could not wish her well. He could not smile. He could only go back to his office, and listen to the muffled sobs of a confused conversation between the woman and his receptionist.

“But…when will I know?

The Happy Tech was not happy that day, of course, because he already knew.

_

1in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. These are the statistics you never bother to learn until you join the ranks of the 1. And only once I had, did I realize that that technician must encounter anxious eyes and empty screens almost as often as he does the opposite. At first, this made me tremendously sad. Comparing our happy meeting with the one that confirmed our miscarriage only heightened the sense of loss.

But that is not what it does for The Happy Tech, and that’s not what it’s done for me since.

Because here is what I’ve realized: It is only because of the darkness he must encounter, and the heartbreak he must bear witness to, that he is able recognize the wonder when he sees it. On that day two years ago, as he caught a glimpse of Connor rolling around the screen, he knew, more than I did, that the ultrasound monitor was a window into something miraculous: a mystery, a marvel, a blessing.

Of course our miscarriage broke our hearts. Of course it altered the vision of our family. Of course we grieve it still. But as I do that, I will try, everyday, to be a little more like The Happy Ultrasound Technician. I will not be defined by the dark days, instead, I will freely talk of miracles when I see them. I will fervently thank the Lord for grace he’s already bestowed. I will recognize the blessings in my life and remind myself to not take them for granted, not for a minute.

I will try, as he did, to make even the beige rooms bright.

 

 

15 responses to The Happy Tech

  1. 

    Thanks for sharing this Julie. And for your courage to look for miracles in the midst of grief. You have my sincere condolences.

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  2. 

    Such beautiful words of grace and courage. Thank you for this.

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  3. 

    Ah dear Julie, thanks for opening up and sharing this…

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  4. 

    Beautifully written, Julie! Thank you for the reminder to always be mindful of His grace.

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  5. 

    This is heartbreakingly beautiful. Thank you for sharing it. Such a brave and interesting perspective on such a very sad event. Sending you lots of love and hope for the future. X

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  6. 

    This is a beautiful post, thank you. I delivered a baby at 28 week gestation just over a month ago and I feel I am deep in the trenches of waiting – experiencing the joys of my babe’s accomplishments and the sorrows of his struggles. It is a heart wrenching roller coaster.

    Though I cannot relate to the sorrow of miscarriage, I do find encouragement and hope in your conscious decision to focus more on the miracles in life. I have come to realize that pregnancy and birth are a mysterious and miraculous thing.

    I wish you peace and healing during this time of grief. Thank you for your vulnerability.

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    • 
      Julie Van Huizen February 24, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      Andrea, you are very welcome. And thank you for sharing your own journey here. How wonderful and hard your own journey is at the moment! (Don’t those two things go hand in in hand so often when it comes to this motherhood business?) But really, wishing you the sincerest hope for joy when you see it, and strength when you need it.

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  7. 

    This is beautiful. I miscarried our first baby when I was 12 weeks along, and it’s a gut-wrenching experience. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts.

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    • 
      Julie Van Huizen February 24, 2017 at 2:51 pm

      Thank you so much Amber. I think there must be something particularly difficult about losing your first pregnancy. I just had a look at your blog, and so great to see the beautiful girl you now have on the other side of that grief!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. 

    Thanks for sharing, Julie. I’m so sorry for your loss.

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  9. 

    Just this past week my first pregnancy ended at 11 weeks in miscarriage. My experience began similarly to you, with me in the ultrasound room, doing a poor job of holding back sobs as the reality of what was happening sunk in. It was very comforting to me to know this painful experience is shared by others. Thank you for sharing.

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