There’s nothing like hearing our baby’s heartbeat when we’re at the midwives’ office. I long for them to keep the Doppler be-bopping just a little longer at our visits. But there’s been a new development on the home front from our small fry. Just last night, when husBen put his head to my belly, he said he heard the heartbeat, unaided by any technology or gadgets. Supposedly, according to a well-respected (by me) pregnancy app I subscribe to, the baby’s growth is far enough along for that to be possible. Well, whatever it was he heard, we have become more and more inspired by this life form growing inside me, which may have something to do with the ultrasound we had this past week.
I remember when we went in for our dating ultrasound, which was when I was only 8 weeks pregnant. It was the first time we heard our little one’s heartbeat. As we saw tiny arms waving at us on the grainy screen, which husBen called “jazz hands,” and heard the distinctive sound of a fetal heartbeat whooshing and calling out to us, a slow, emotion-filled tear eked out and ran down my cheek. “This is really happening,” I thought. We’ve created life.
The baby’s growth and my girth have come a long way since the 8-week mark, and last week we had the big anatomy scan. You know, The Ultrasound—the one where the doc measures every nook and cranny, organ and joint as a benchmark for the fetus’ growth and development. Not having the technology at their office, our midwives partner with some perinatologists across the street for these scans. Perinatologists are often called in and consulted with when there are complications, but luckily, we learned that our petit bebe is baking away at the perfect temperature.
Upon entering the screening room, as I like to call it, Dr. M hooked us up with a great view of our baby, from angles we didn’t even know were possible. There was a ginormous flat screen TV hanging from the wall so us mamas-to-be can follow along with all the action from the comfort of the exam table. No head cranking required. I did not realize how agile and mobile our child-to-be truly was. The doc had to keep adjusting his placement according to the movement of the baby. This kid might be a gymnast in the 2028 summer Olympics. A parent can dream, can’t she?
The entire process took about 30 minutes. HusBen and I asked a million questions as he went along, wondering what it was we were looking at. At one point, the doc was examining the brain. Our kid’s got a mighty fine looking noggin, if I do say so myself. All the major brain parts were represented. If this kid isn’t doing somersaults at the summer games in 2028, from the looks of that brain, I’m sure our young Einstein will be applying for early admission at one of our nation’s finest higher education institutions. There’s a whiz kid growing inside me.
It’s exciting to speculate who our baby will become. The ultrasound gave us a bird’s eye view of the anatomical growth, but I’m still so curious about what’s really going on inside. I want to get to the heart of the matter. Often when I am doing pastoral counseling or spiritual direction with someone, I ask: “How is it with your soul?” It is a far deeper question than, “How are you?” Rather, it is to ask this tiny new creation inside me: Do you know that you are a beloved child of God? Can you feel that love and grace upon you even now? What can I do to help you feel safe? Do you know how much you are already loved?
While these questions will have to remain unanswered, there’s one question we could have gotten to the bottom of at our ultrasound, but chose not to. Upon walking in the door, we informed Dr. M that we did not want to know the sex of the baby. This ultrasound is The Ultrasound when parents-to-be often learn their baby’s sex, but sometime during the first trimester journey we decided we would wait until the birthday for the big reveal. The doctor respected our wishes, and though he sneaked a peek at some point during the ultrasound, husBen and I are none the wiser.
Life offers us so few true surprises. And as my mom says, we’re going to take home whoever shows up at the hospital. Boy or girl, gymnast or scholar, this kid will be welcomed into our family with loving arms. This pregnancy has already blessed us with the amazing gift of a new possibility for living. And so we wait. And in the waiting, my soul sings with joyful anticipation.