June 23, 2008: 24 Weeks
I went for my fifth ultrasound last week. It was just a quick follow-up to my previous ultrasound because the doctor wasn't able to get a good profile of the baby's face at our last visit. They like to see the baby's lips in order to check for a cleft palate. I was amazed to learn that ultrasounds are so in-depth these days and can check for such specific abnormalities.
Julia, my oldest, was amazed as well. She couldn't believe that the doctor was going to "see inside my belly." I brought her along because she was dying to ride the subway into the city. When it was time for us to enter the doctor's room, Julia, who normally has a hard time sitting still, obediently climbed up onto a maroon vinyl chair and sat quietly. The chair was positioned so she could see the ultrasound monitor. Once the baby was visible on the screen, I told her to look. For a few moments she was mesmerized, but soon her thoughts turned to where we would be having lunch.
I can understand her dismissiveness to a certain degree. In today's modern life, children take for granted our techno-powered world. Between TV, the internet, and other forms of technology, instant gratification is common place. Not only do I know that my baby is a boy, I'm told that he currently weighs 1.6 ounces. I also know that I can most likely cross off a cleft palate as one potential worry. Of course, there are things I don't know, but by and large, it seems like a lot of the magic of pregnancy is lost with the barrage of tests and monitoring we're now able to receive.
I was actually close to canceling this last ultrasound. The drive into Boston seemed like a waste of gas and time. Up until this point all of my tests have come back normal. The doctor has seen 99% of the baby already and concluded that things look good. I realize that it's nice to know if something is wrong, but there's another part of me that thinks, what will be will be. What's the point in knowing beforehand? Does all this "knowing" spoil the natural wonder of pregnancy?
As we sat on the couch watching Animal Planet after our trip into Boston, Julia cuddled in next to me. During a commercial, I asked her if she enjoyed her trip into the city. She responded by rambling on about the candy and makeup stores we visited, and of course, she talked up the train. I sighed to myself when she failed to mention the ultrasound. A few moments later, the baby began kicking. Since Julia's leg was touching my belly, I asked her if she felt it. And just like that there was magic. She stared at me wide-eyed. She couldn't believe that she could actually feel her baby brother with her very own skin. She's still talking about it. I guess all the knowing doesn't spoil the magic. In the same way that the baby's first kicks made me feel connected to this pregnancy, it took a real kick for Julia to experience what's happening. All of the medical technology in the world could never cancel the magic in that. In fact, it makes the magic of those kicks seem that much more amazing.