Call it hindsight, call it a mother’s intuition, but deep down I knew that things were different this time around.
Maybe it was the fact that it took a few more months than “usual” to conceive this little one.
Maybe it was the fact that I wasn’t really that sick in the early days, as I had been with the others.
Maybe it was the bleeding at 13 weeks that was scary and short-lived and unfamiliar.
Maybe it was how deeply overwhelmed I was this past Advent by the heaviness of all things wrong in the world. How I struggled to help my children anticipate the joy of Christmas while all the while wondering “what’s the point of it all?” How could they care about those little waxy chocolates in the Advent calendar when there were entire villages being taken hostage half a world away? I felt burdened and anxious.
Maybe I’m imaging I was more worried than I was, but I do know that I dreaded that mid-pregnancy ultrasound. You know, that exciting one where you can find out if the gender balance in your household has tipped in one direction or another?
I didn’t tell many folks when we would “find out.” I just said, vaguely, “in a few weeks.” I even went so far as to tell a few women I was anxious about the appointment, for unfounded reasons.
And so, we entered the darkened room and caught glimpses of our baby, and all the while I nervously held still, and watched the sonogram tech’s face and eyes and the slow pace at which she worked. This was my fourth child…had they ever taken images of every single vertebrae before? I couldn’t remember but it didn’t feel right. She was methodical and relentless in her image acquiring. She seemed frustrated when she saw the baby swallow but then had failed to capture it. We found out that our baby was a son, but still, I felt no overwhelming relief…I just wanted her to finish, print a few images, and dismiss us into the light of day.
But we got to his feet. And she hovered, and finagled, and captured, and then Aaron said out loud what we were all thinking: “Is it me, or do I see six toes?”
“Well, yes, that’s what I’m trying to figure out.”
I knew. I knew that I had known all along. Something was different.
Clutching our black and white photos, making feeble jokes about another boy, willing ourselves not to Google what it could mean on our iPhones, we sat in the hallway and waited while the tech discussed our pictures with a doctor we didn’t know. As she headed back to her room, she stopped to give us a hug in the hallway. “It’ll be ok.”
to be continued