Sunday, September 19, 2010
Squirmer, meet world. World, Squirmer.
I had a doctor's appointment on Friday, a day capping off a week of feeling run down, grouchy, and generally troll-like. I don't generally enjoy being pregnant, and these supersized hormones, responsible for my constant carbo-loading followed by epic naps, the resulting weight gain in places that I really don't think helps baby all that much, the subsequent self-loathing body image crap, well, you get the idea. I'm a general 24 hour cornucopia of fun.
So the doctor tried to find the heart beat. And couldn't.
I'm not worried, she said, helping me up and wiping the goo off my belly.
You're not worried?
Nah, you're super pregnant, she said. I pictured mutant hormones with little capes. Let's just squeeze you into the ultrasound tech before you leave so you can hear the heart tones.
I go to check out, and the attendant informs me that I need to take a seat in another waiting area for the ultrasound.
But I really need to go, I say. I'm meeting someone, and I'm coming back for an ultrasound in 2 weeks, so...
The attendant eyes me steadily. It says on your chart you haven't heard the heart tones, she explains. It's a precaution.
It's a precaution ? But she wasn't worried.
The doctor wasn't worried, I sputter.
I'm going to go check with her, says the attendant, taking my chart.
No, it's ok, I say hastily. I'll wait. To hear the heart tones.
I take a seat. They are calling them heart tones now? Is that like calling it a fetus before some magical alchemy where you can start referring to it as a baby? Do heart tones become beats when everyone is assured the baby is alive?
The enormity of it hit me. There was a chance the baby wasn't alive. I could go in that room and have more goo smeared on me and a stranger would try and listen for tones from a heart that wasn't beating.
I suddenly realized how much I wanted this baby, and I was minutes away from learning whether or not I was being given a chance to see it through. All the whining and complaining, the pity parties and roller coaster emotions - was this somehow a test? A terrible price to pay for not rising above the daily grind of pregnancy and not being grateful?
The room came into sharp focus. The Food and Wine magazine in my lap, the nurse in purple scrubs who kept giving me a sad smile everytime she brought a new patient into the hallway, the cute basketball of a belly on the young pregnant girl across from me - these were thee little flashes that were being quilted together into my Moment. In Your Eyes suddenly drifted over the soft chatter of the waiting area, and my Moment suddenly had a soundtrack. Lloyd Dobler was holding aloft his boombox, his sadness becoming my sadness.
And then the lyrics started. I actually looked up at the ceiling in confusion, trying to find the source of the mess that was not Peter Gabriel coming into the waiting area. Dionne Warwick? A live feed of a 60 year old Filipino man singing karaoke? Whatever is was, this was by far the worst cover of In Your Eyes if not the worst cover of any song ever. EVER ever.
And it totally snapped me out of my ridiculous scene staging. I burst out laughing, startling the pregnant girl across from me. I started to google "worst cover ever," but it was my turn to see the technician.
The second that wand touched my belly, the baby came into view, waving and kicking like we had just interrupted him/her dancing a jig. Or trying to escape the Renee Fleming awfulness.
The baby waved, and I waved back.
I heard the heart tones then, and I burst into tears.