Thursday, March 1, 2012

"The living moment is everything." -D.H. Lawrence

Just two days ago, we had the big 18 week ultrasound, where the baby is now large enough to see all of the anatomy, etc (sort of*). This time, after the technician did her initial scan, the doctor walked in to look a bit more. 

(*I think since I'd eaten a banana on the way over, baby was jumpy, making it a little more difficult in general. We have to go back in a month.) 

This time when the doctor walked in, he joked with us, "We stick needles in you and you keep coming back." Yes, thankfully, I'm thinking. But of course, each time I see him, I think of the first day we met. 

He is of course, the same fetal medicine specialist that detected large abnormalities in our last pregnancy. He's the doctor that said "This is just a screening," trying to calm me down as tears streamed sort of sideways down my face toward my ears. My head, still lying on the white paper that covers those tables in medical facilities, shook back and forth. As if refusing to get up and shaking my head was going to change what he had seen or what was coming next. I had known,I think from the day before I peed on a pregnancy test, that something was gravely wrong within me. Intuition is a bitch sometimes.

But the doctor. He is amazing, kind and not interested in treating patients like they are stupid just because he is brilliant. He suggested we meet with J, the genetic counselor, who is now more like a friend than a medical interface. She's sort of an oasis in a system that seems to have only dealt with normal.

I feel grateful that we were in the hands of these people, who did not encourage us to have an abortion, but provided all of the testing and then all of the facts, answers to every question, and between all of that, a shitload of tissues and some glasses of water.

I started this pregnancy differently. I don't want to jump around here, but it is inevitable. I couldn't go back to the same midwife/OB practice, for a number of reasons, some which must be obvious. Therefore I was referred elsewhere for my first ultrasound and screening.I thought it would be great to just do everything differently. Wrong. I was completely traumatized by our first visit to this other ultrasound place, where after the technician told me things looked good, the measurement was normal, I told her what had happened with our last pregnancy. She brought in a doctor to take a look, failing to give her the details in the meantime. After we had to re-tell that doctor what had happened, she then (I believe) exaggerated what she was seeing to be sure (I believe) her butt was covered. 

That is what brought us back to J and Dr. Amazing. I am going to skip some details here and I'm pretty sure that's ok with you.

Back to this most recent ultrasound. We've obviously had more of them than would occur in a normal pregnancy. These things have become like mini visits with the little one inside of me. I honestly treasure the moments because I know what it is like for plans to change quickly.  

I wave to him on the screen and cry with emotion. It's not the baby I was supposed to be looking at. (She would have been born by now.)  But it is the baby I'm thinking about naming. The moment is truly everything. Living.

After I get past this moment, I start asking way too many questions. "Are you seeing the four chambers of the heart? What is that there? Where is the placenta? I didn't have the AFP test; can you be sure the neural tube is right? What about the palate? You said the lips and nose look good but can you see his palate? That is the umbilical cord, not the intestines, right?" 

Truth is, I know more about fetal medicine than I would like. I would have loved to be one of those moms just heading in to get some pictures and maybe find out the sex of the baby. But that's ok. And I can't wait for Ben to meet him. Ben's definitely aware there's a baby coming. He keeps saying "sister," but when I tell him it's a brother, he says he'll show him the beach and how to shoot the ball in the hoop. I'm sure we'll all be just fine.  

The technician printed a picture of the feet. I can't wait to tickle those toes.   

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