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February 11, 2004

Ultrasound part 2.

Well it's officially Week 20-21. The time has come to find out how things are coming along. 10 fingers? 10 toes? All will be revealed courtesy of a Phillips ultrasound machine.

It's been weird the last week or so counting down to today. Our hint at what to expect came courtesy of our neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Racetrack. They had a nifty series of printouts that showed the baby's face and some other features. After that night time really started to crawl. It seemed like today was never going to get here.

I met Fabulous Babe at the hospital. When I got there she was standing and filling out paperwork. I also noticed she was doing the one legged "I have to go!" hopping dance. Turns out she had downed a huge bottle of water for the ultrasound and was now suffering the consequences. I started chuckling as soon as I saw her.

"It's NOT funny."

I stood corrected.

After that we had another 5 minutes of details to go over and finally got to go back to the Ultrasound department. After another 5 minutes of waiting FB was sitting on the edge of her seat. When we got to go back to the room with the machinery she was in agony. The technician told her to go to the bathroom and when FB left I struck my deal.

"I want to know what it is but she doesn't."

"Ok. We'll see what we get."

FB came back and soon she was up on the table. A half a pint of slightly warmed gel and we were off to the races. The technician turned the machine onto FB's stomach and...

My heart almost stopped.

Right there on the screen was our baby. A little tiny person. Not the blob from the last time that seemed to kick and fuss a little. This time Junior was moving around and waving his or her hands.

Part of you wants to reach through the monitor and just touch what that black and white image represents. It's like x-ray vision you dreamed about when you were a kid but with a reward unlike any you ever thought of. A payoff bigger than any lottery.

You don't think about politics or religion or college educations. You don't think about skinned knees or bedtime stories, diapers or learners permits. It's not a "life" it's YOUR CHILD. Your son or daughter.

You think that somehow you had a hand in making that little bit of life in front of you. That everything your parents and grandparents and great grandparents struggled and worked for has paid off. That your life is now going to be radically different in a strange a beautiful way. You head races as you think about all this implies.

All of this occurs in about 10 seconds by the way.

You're quickly brought back down to earth by the "tour" of your baby. A tour you want more than anything else to be uneventful. A tour whose soul purpose is to look for defects.

It starts with the heart. You count the chambers of the heart as it beats in front of your eyes. You watch as your baby's brain is laid bare in a search for abnormality. I'm holding FB's hand as measurements are taken and compared. You see one hand and then another appear before your eyes like a miniscule skeletal prop as you count fingers. You look at the umbilical cord and pray there are no internal organs protruding from the stomach.

It goes on this way for almost a half an hour. Each "thing" measured is another milestone of normality. After what seems like an eternity there isn't an inch of your baby you haven't seen. That's when you let go of your breath. That's when you can say it.

Junior is perfectly normal. As healthy as can be.

Freeze frames capture each view. Your child is spelled out with the precision of a 5th grade Kodak slide presentation. The head. The hands. The feet. (Which it kept placing against FB's bladder.) Everything in slightly out of tune fuzzy detail like television before cable.

FB had to get up and go to the bathroom a couple of times during the session. The technician and I traded notes. We knocked it off when she returned. FB was never the wiser.

When FB got back we would continue the scanning but it was mostly recreational. By end of the hour we had prints of some of the better scans. They may not be ready for American Photographer but they're fine by me. I put one up over my desk at work. All I could think was that the next 5 months are going to pass pretty slowly. The next 18 years after that way will pass way too quickly.

As for the sex you have to wait until June.

I made a promise.

Posted by Jim at February 11, 2004 11:31 PM


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