There’s a moment during every ultrasound when I’m pretty sure my heart stops.
The technician squirts cold gel on my belly, then firmly presses the transducer to my abdomen. She moves it back and forth, as if channeling something on a ouija board. I turn my face toward the monitor, frantically searching the blackness on the screen. I don’t see a baby anywhere, and I die about 15 times in just a few seconds.
Abruptly, a tiny, squirming baby pops into focus. A baby! My baby! And all is right with the world.
So that happened again this week. Minor panic attack. Recovery. Good times.
I usually hate it when people post their ultrasound images, because they never actually look like babies. They’re more like fuzzy photo negatives from a century-old arctic expedition. Yet here I am now, so enamored with these speckled pictures of a big, gorgeous baby only I can see.
Though I will admit Baby looks like a resident of Whoville right now. Let’s hope that’s not permanent.
Since I am of “advanced maternal age,” my most recent ultrasound was done with a genetic specialist, and the whole process lasted more than an hour. The Husband stood by my side, and we high-fived every time we saw a new body part.
TECHNICIAN: Here is the spine …
ME: Spine! Ohmigod. I love spines!
TECHNICIAN: There are the baby’s feet …
HUSBAND: Hell yeah. Feet!
TECHNICIAN: These splotches here are the kidneys …
US: Woo! Kidneys!
The technician pushed a button that made the screen move with splotchy clouds of blue and red, which supposedly displayed the four chambers of the heart pumping blood.
TECHNICIAN: See the blood flowing here and here …
ME: It actually looks like there’s a storm front moving in.
TECHNICIAN: Huh. Yeah, it does. Well, here’s the polar vortex, and that right there is Atlanta.
Finally, the technician confirmed what I suspected all along. It’s a boy!
Here you go. This is the first and last time my child’s penis will ever be on the internet. I hope.
I’m still in a little bit of shock. It’s a boy!
A boy who will pee in my face when I change his diapers. A boy who will get poop on his testicles. A boy who will turn paper towel tubes into weapons. A boy who will stand up to use the potty. A boy who will grow up and fall in love with a girl or boy and sneak out of the house and bong a few Miller Lites and smash the Camaro … and I’m terrified. I’m absolutely terrified. I don’t know how to be a mother to a boy.
For the record, I don’t know how to be a mother to a girl either. And we don’t have a Camaro. I’m just scared overall, regardless of the baby’s sex.
Here’s how everything else is going this week:
Baby: The size of a bell pepper. He also has little ears and his own unique set of fingerprints.
Me: Not the size of a bell pepper. But I’ve reached the point of pregnancy where strangers will approach me and rub my belly, as if I can grant them three wishes. (I can’t, unfortunately.)
Also my belly is lopsided. I think this is normal? Or maybe all those strangers have just been pushing too hard on one side.
Weight: I’ve gained six pounds so far. I didn’t necessarily want this information — I’ve been trying to keep my focus away from numbers on the scale — but my doctor told me anyway.
Food: Cravings have mostly been of the difficult-to-obtain variety: Masala dosa. Kanom krok, tiny coconut pancakes from Thailand that are crispy and creamy, sweet and savory. And these spicy kimchi dumplings from a street vendor in Seoul.
Not just any dumplings, mind you. THESE.
GIVE THEM TO ME NOW.