So as you can imagine, one of the common subjects of discussion around here is baby names. I am personally not interested in delving too deeply into the subject until we know the sex of the baby, and have mostly responded to suggestions with an indulgent smile. Since I'm not playing, Clay is having a field day, coming up with outrageous suggestions, trying to get me to respond. He's currently insisting that if it's a boy his name will be Obadiah Bartholemew. My husband is adorable, and a little insane. At least he's given up on Claybo or Clayrina.
Last week I had an appointment for an ultrasound. Not just any ultrasound, this was a fancy-schmancy nuchal translucency scan. This is a new thing, apparently. I know no one particularly cared what the boys' nuchal folds were up to, but this pregnancy seems to be happening a whole new world.
Now, I like to think of myself as a fairly calm person. However, this test somehow slipped me into a tizzy. Want to know what I kept myself up with, fretting, in the wee hours of the morning? The fact that when I wrote here about the pregnancy I said, "...there will be..." as though I were a 23 year old child, bubble headed and unaware of all that can go wrong between two pink lines and a baby. (Not that ALL 23 year olds are bubble headed. I certainly was.) And here I was, of Advanced Maternal Age, blithely skipping into a pregnancy as though most of my eggs wouldn't float in a glass of water (you know, if you were checking themfor freshness? Nevermind).
The scan was done at a testing facility that specializes in this sort of thing, and performed by a woman who seems completely over the wonder of seeing fetuses on her fuzzy little screen. She was kind of irritated with me in the first place, because this scan is REALLY recommended for women UNDER 35, while I should be sticking with the amnio style of testing. I explained that I was NOT going to be having an amnio (um, hello, increased risk of miscarriage plus BIG CRAZYNEEDLE IN THE BELLY, thanks anyhow) and this was my compromise with my OB as far as risk assessment. She was not pleased with me OR my OB.
Nonetheless, I had my magic insurance card plus co-pay, which opens many a door in the medical world, and we were soon headed back to a dimly lit room and a squirt of cold goo on the belly. Cranky Tech fired up the machine, wielded her wand, and there he was. Or she. I'm willing to admit the possibility. Don't get excited, it's still too early to tell if it's a boy or a girl.
However, it's not too early to tell it's a baby. There s/he was, squirming away from the irritating thing poking around, waving stubby little arms, kicking tiny matchsticks of legs. The last time I'd had an ultrasound, all I'd seen was frilly curve of life, pulsing with that amazing flicker of a heartbeat. Now there was an entire person, in miniature.
"There's the stomach, and we can see that baby's swallowing fluid, so that's a good sign. And there's the heart, and there are the intestines. They're in the right place. See that gray line? That's the diaphragm." She went on, a detailed tour of tiny, intricate anatomy. She ran her finger along the line of dots indicating the spine, and I could almost hear a sound, like a finger run along piano keys. Everything looked just as it should, and despite my advanced age, I watched the screen and leaked happy tears.
Then we were done, and I offered up my finger for a poke. As Cranky Tech squeezed my fingertip to extract enough blood to saturate the circles on her little card, she took the opportunity to urge me again to reconsider the amnio.
"This screening isn't a diagnostic tool. It only tells you your risk for certain problems. An amnio will tell you everything you need to know, not only about the conditions we talked about today, but about hundreds of others."
I thanked her, but thought about the squirming little being I'd just seen on the screen. Already I'd slipped from the realm of "possible child" to a recognition of "there is my child." There is no test that I needed to tell me he or she is perfect. Like all of our kids, this one is already both perfect and flawed. If there are "conditions" that need to be dealt with, so be it. I've never yet met a child WITHOUT some sort of special needs, anyhow.
I know what I need to know already. This is my baby.
And his/her name is NOT Obadiah.