Danny and I had been so excited for this day. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep! It’s like Christmas!” He exclaimed the night before. Today was the day we would get to see our baby! The most important part of the 20 week ultrasound was to make sure the baby is developing, of course. But we had diminished down the purpose as the day we find out the sex. This also happens to be one of the most popular questions asked of us when they find out we’re expecting. And the next step after people asking is them giving us their predictions. Some look at how I’m “carrying”, some try to delve into the genealogical past of Danny’s side of the family (since the male determines sex). But the best predictions so far have been the following:
Aedan (my nephew) predicted: It’s a boy, and when they look on the tv thing, he’s going to be jamming out to a guitar.
Alex (nephew) predicted: It’s a boy, and he LOVES Elvis!
Violet (niece): It’s a girl! And she is wearing a shirt with a pink bunny on it that is also wearing a shirt that says ‘I love grandma’.
In the aftermath of these predictions, my friends have tried to offer theirs. My friend Bethanny was certain that whatever the sex, the baby would definitely be doing the Running Man.
And now the day was here. Danny dressed up, looking so handsome in a tie. Because “first impressions are important”. We went to work for a few hours and tried to pretend that we cared. Then we went to the hospital. When we entered, the music playing seemed to communicate “Remain calm. Everything is okay.” Similar to the music of Mindhead in the Eddie Murphy movie Bowfinger. Serene flutes and chimes floated across the lobby. And an elderly man in a wheelchair was shouting, “Are you there? Are you there??” to his neglecting caregiver who was rolling her eyes on her cell phone.
We got to the floor where ultrasounds and radiology xrays took place and took a seat. Danny nervously chatted about the Kurt Vonnegut book he was reading and I stared off, listening to the music, thinking A few months and I’ll be right here at this hospital to deliver this baby.
When they called our number, it was probably comical how quickly we jumped up and ran toward the technician. The bright young woman told us her name but I couldn’t hear it. We followed her to the room and I laid on the table and promised her I would try my very best not to urinate on her, considering they’d asked me to drink 32 ounces of liquid an hour prior and not use the rest room. She laughed and said she’d take a look and then I could go to the bathroom before she did the rest of the scan.
As soon as the screen showed the image of the baby, I can't begin to describe my amazement. There he/she was. Moving constantly! Opening her mouth, sticking out her tongue, she looked like she was talking to someone in there. Moving her tiny hands, and then she brought one hand up to her mouth and sucked her thumb, keeping her fingers in the shape of an L. I stared in utter astonishment. I had never been a thumbsucker and either had my sister. We hadn’t even been pacifier babies. Who are you? I stared in wonder and amazement, reminded that this little one was a part of us but yet a whole new person being formed in front of our eyes. We watched as the technician showed us his/her head, brain, the technician measured the baby’s very round abdomen, thighs, legs. And then she apologized. “Sorry, I know you guys want to see the gender, but her legs are crossed and I am hoping she moves.” She said. Oh right, the gender. Honestly, staring at the tiny life I’d forgotten about the gender. It suddenly didn’t really seem to matter as much. But when she examined the underside of the baby’s legs, they were still crossed. The baby was laying with her ankles crossed, one hand up above her head, the other down by her side, as if soaking up some sun, or stretching in her sleep.
“I’m pretty sure it’s a girl.” The technician told us. She let me use the rest room and said maybe the baby would uncross her legs in that time and we could take a second look. In the bathroom I thought I should try to sing to her. Since I found out the baby can hear my voice I’ve been singing every chance I get. Maybe if I sang, the baby would move and uncross it’s legs! I searched my mental jukebox frantically, trying to think of a song. Of course my mind was blank. Desperately I started humming the first song that came to my mind: Jessica Simpson’s cover of the John Cougar Mellencamp hit from 1999. Oh the humanity. We’re fortunate the baby decided to stick around and not crawl out in escape from the horror.
Back at the table, the technician still couldn’t get baby P to open up and show us the goods. “I’m still pretty sure it’s a girl.” She was still sticking to her story, but if we could just get her to move we could be more sure. She started pushing a little with the wand to get the baby to move. And suddenly the screen changed. “Did she just scoot away??” I don’t know why, but the thought of the baby saying “Hmph! I never!” and picking up her bunny T shirt in one hand and guitar in the other and scooting off camera was very plausible in that moment. “Yeah” the technician smiled.
After all those measurements, the technician couldn’t tell us what the verdict was on how “normal” everything was. We’ll visit the doctor next week on the results. But the technician could tell us that the due date was changed. I’m farther along than we thought. I’m 20 weeks instead of 19. The baby is not the size of a mango, but a SMALL CANTALOUPE!
My dad’s a very non reactionary guy. So as I told him about the ultrasound he just quietly listened. But when I got to the size of the produce it was like I was breaking it into the language he understood—the size of healthy food. “CANTALOUPE?!!” he exclaimed in a rare show of emotion. ‘Yeah, small cantaloupe.” I conceded. “oh, small cantaloupe.” his tone went back to neutral.
So far our friends have had multiple reactions to the ultrasound stories. Our nephews and niece fell into argument and disarray at the news. Violet, setting aside the T-shirt prediction, seems to be 'probably' correct to her brothers dismay. My friend Christina laughed, 'pretty sure?' she asked, 'oh, you're on the HMO, aren't you?'. And my friend Cam thinks our baby might dance like a white guy 'feet planted and everything else moving'. I guess the way she dances, just like all the other fun stuff-- how she'll laugh, if she'll like fixing things, running track or reading comics-- will all be revealed in time.