Merry Christmas! It is 6:30am and I’ve been awake for a while–jet lag seems to cause these random wake-up times lately–and I’ve already eaten, had some water, and been to the bathroom twice…I’m writing a blog post in my head so I though I’d actually write one. It feels like this period of my life is like Christmas, and now it’s actually Christmas, so there’s a lot of awesomeness to write about.
I dreamt tonight that I gave birth to a snake–and this wasn’t the first time. Is this a phallic dream that means I’m having a boy? The bigger issue in the dream was that it wasn’t time yet, so I was very happy to wake up to find myself not the mother of a premature snake and instead with a little moving pod still happy inside.
I’m in the last hours of not knowing whether this babe is a boy or a girl and they feel sweet, almost bittersweet–I can already feel how all the beginnings bring endings and this first phase of pregnancy and not-knowing will soon be behind me. I feel love and protectiveness for this neutral as-yet-unknown being and sense that once the verdict is pronounced and the onesie is pulled out of the box, that connection will intensify. It’s not so much about pink or blue as anticipating the person who will be my new life partner, learning one big fact about the person he or she will be.
The ultrasound was truly incredible. My friend S and I had lunch beforehand and both got teary about the momentous event ahead. We stopped by the 7th floor so I could give a box of Christmas treats to the doctors, nurses, and staff I got to know so well over the past year and a half, to show my gratitude to them for their compassion and wonderful care. I was amazed to find all of my key players present and available (with the exception of Dr. Tran)–they ran out to greet me in the empty waiting room to ooh and aah over my belly, obviously this is the big payoff of their hard work and it was this hugely heartwarming moment. S snapped a bunch of pictures and, being a reader of my blog, intuitively knew the importance of a photo with Olga–here’s she is, thank you, ladies!
Then we went downstairs to the 2nd floor for the ultrasound. We had a friendly woman named Marta and a big, quiet, dim room with a lotus flower on the ceiling. I told Marta the gender reveal plan and that if she saw something that was maybe but not definitely a problem, I didn’t need to hear about it–she assured me that as the sonographer she would not be interpreting. She would leave that for the radiologists to do afterward. I felt so much more relaxed after that.
She pulled up the images and I saw the many beautiful parts of this developing baby, in awe of a) how Marta could read various shapes and blobs like reading in a foreign language (gall bladder! liver! kidney!) and b) how somehow my body and nature and God had created a new person with all the key parts in the right places–the skull, the brain hemispheres, the heart chambers, the nostrils, the ribs, toes, femurs, and OMG the beautiful, beautiful spine! She had me look away when she measured the pelvis but S said she couldn’t tell what was what anyway. The baby was moving a ton. At one point, when the screen was mostly blank, we saw head-on a fist followed by a foot–punch-kick, kapow!
Toward the end, Marta swapped in a different camera and took a few photos of the baby’s face–at first obscured by a belligerent fight-the-power fist. I haven’t taken photos of these yet and I think they are in the room where my parents are sleeping so I will have to post later. It’s a sweet, sleeping baby face, snuggled against it’s little fist. It sure is different, and totally mind-blowing, to know that this little baby face is my own flesh and blood.
Marta printed the photos (including a souvenir shot for S!) and we were done. She handed S the envelope with the gender verdict. We went down to to the beautiful courtyard where I once sat with A after a sad ultrasound two summers ago, and I felt how far I have come since that time. I left S alone with the box of onesies, the envelope, and some tape. When I came back, I was totally tripping on the fact that she knew the verdict and I still didn’t! She just smiled mysteriously and gave me hugs goodbye. She carried out her mission beautifully and I’m so grateful!
My nieces here in Chicago are so lovey and intrigued with the belly. When the 5-year-old saw the ultrasound photos, she said, “The baby is really taking shape!” The 2-year-old decorated about a dozen presents for various family members and handed me each one, saying, “This one’s for the baby.” (Their responses are especially amazing given that they were seemingly so recently babies themselves.) The rest of the family is orienting themselves around the new year and the approaching due date–who can travel out to SF for the shower? who will be there for the birth and after? I feel how such a big life event can push the occasional button in the planning of it, and also feel strongly my family’s willingness to be there for me in whatever way I need. Plus I have an amazing supporting cast. Thank you, all of you–I couldn’t do this without the community that reads this blog.
Last night, my parents and I watched my midwife’s documentary, “My Baby, My Body, My Birth” (recommend) followed by “The Business of Being Born” (my third time–highly recommend). My dad and I cried over every baby born.
Celebrating a baby born is what we’ll be doing tomorrow (or at least that’s how it started!) and I wish you all a joyful day with your loved ones!!!! Love: that’s what it’s all about. xo