The Six-Word Blessing

By Janet Dopsovic

I kissed a lot of toads for many years before I found my prince. We married when I was in my mid-thirties and set out right away to have kids. It wasn’t long before we shared our joyous news with family and friends. Everyone was ecstatic – until a few weeks later when I was bleeding and in a panic.

My obstetrician made room in her schedule for me that day and performed a sonogram. The image looked like a black, translucent bath oil bead on a gray background. The news wasn’t good. I had a blighted ovum. My fertilized egg had attached to my uterine wall, just as it was supposed to, but my baby did not develop.

I barely heard the good news my doctor was telling me: I could still get pregnant.

My husband and I agreed with my doctor’s suggestion to schedule a D&C right away so we could try again with a clean slate. We were cautiously optimistic when the little pink cross appeared on my pee stick four months later.

Within a few weeks, my husband cracked a tooth. His dentist recommended extracting it and implanting a bridge. Wanting to think about it, my husband left the office with his X-rays and shipped them overnight to his cousin, a dentist in another state.

That same day (Friday), I started bleeding, and my obstetrician again made room for me in her crowded schedule. The sonogram results were the same: another blighted ovum. But this time I didn’t see anything that looked like a “bath oil bead.” I saw absolutely nothing. We scheduled my D&C for the following Tuesday.

Sunday evening my husband and his cousin were discussing what to do about his tooth. I heard him say, “I just want a second opinion,” and, in a flash, I grabbed the phone and shouted, “We’ll call you back, John!” My head was spinning from the realization that we were more concerned about losing my husband’s tooth than we were about losing our baby. Still, my heart was heavy. I told my husband, “I just want a second opinion to confirm the truth that we are going to lose this baby too.”

The next morning I asked my neighbor for her doctor’s phone number and called right away. “Come right in,” they said. “We have a visiting sonographer in the office today. She’ll squeeze you in.”

The sonographer performed a vaginal sonogram, and the monitor on the state-of-the art machine instantly showed a huge gray mass with fine lines running through it. I had never seen a sonogram image like it before – no visible outline of a baby’s head like I had seen in my friends’ pictures. There was no pregnancy sac either. My heart sank.

The sonographer took her pen and pointed to the tiniest “blip” on the screen to make sure I could see it moving ever so slightly. She said, “Believe me. This is your baby’s heartbeat. It’s been beating for just a couple of days.” I left the office with a huge smile on my face and the printout of my sonogram.

That evening, my husband and his cousin decided to cap his tooth rather than extract it. And, that evening, my husband and I decided to cancel the D&C rather than go through with it the next day.

Seven months later, our beautiful son was born. He has filled our lives with more love than we ever imagined. His existence in our lives has tested our limitations – especially mine.

Our son is everything my husband and I hoped he would be – healthy, smart, compassionate, handsome and perfectly imperfect. He constantly tries our patience, not always making the best choices, blowing off his responsibilities or expending his energies in the wrong places. Despite all that, my prince and I would not be complete without our son.

This story is obviously not over yet, and we have great hopes that our son will go on to do things that will help make the world a better place. But for us, I can’t imagine what our lives would have been like if I didn’t react to those words, “I just want a second opinion.” What if he was never born? How many of us would have missed the opportunity to know him?

I framed that sonogram printout, and placed it on my bedside table next to our wedding picture and later our first family picture. It’s impossible to see the “blip” on the printout after all these years since the image has faded, but 23 years later, I can still point to the exact spot of his heartbeat. I glance at it every night before turning off the light; in the morning it’s there to greet me when I awake. Every time I look at that sonogram printout, I am filled with the blessing of those six words, “I just want a second opinion,” and all that it means to be a mother.

About this writer

  • Janet DopsovicJanet Dopsovic is a passionate freelance writer and copy editor with diverse interests that she shares through practical advice, earnestness and humor. She lives in Reston, VA with her husband.

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8 Responses to “The Six-Word Blessing”

  1. Linda O'Connell says:

    Your story brought a tear. Thank God for second opinions and your son.

  2. Edie Sokol says:

    Beautiful story, beautifully told! My mind has been on the losses in life but this story brings a glowing light to refocus my thoughts.

  3. Your story, indeed, brought tears. Tears of heartbreak for the first and of joy for the promise of your son. So happy for you and your family!

  4. Erika Hoffman says:

    Wow! What a wonderful and educational story. Your persistence to find out what the best course of action should be paid off!

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