Names and Faces

“Are you ready?”  My doctor had come in the room once I was prepped for the ultrasound, to talk us through it while the tech performed the exam.  I thought this was a nice touch;  my previous OB in Michigan had never seemed so personally involved or invested in not just the health of his patients, but their well being as well.

“I’m ready,” I said, looking at R.  We had both agreed ahead of time that we definitely wanted to know the sex of the baby.

I was in my nineteenth week of pregnancy, and other than gaining extra weight, everything seemed to be going well.  I left the first trimester of nausea, aches, and general malaise behind to feel renewed vigor in my second trimester.  I was already well into my maternity clothes, having had to shop all over again for new ones.  I hadn’t kept many things from my first pregnancy, but the clothes had been off season anyway.  We were heading into the cooler months now as my belly grew; with Z, my biggest months had been the summer months.

R had been thrilled with the pregnancy, though he stopped short of wanting to feel the baby’s kicks, which were starting to become much more pronounced.  The whole idea of feeling the baby made him nervous, and he much preferred just looking at my growing belly from a safe distance.

Z was excited too, though definitely hoping we came out of this exam today with news of a brother on the way.  I wondered if it bothered him that he had just celebrated his tenth birthday with a sibling on the way; most of his friends either had older siblings or ones much closer in age.  I certainly felt like the only mother of a fifth grader at school with a bulging belly.  But overall, he took the news of the pregnancy in stride, an expected development of us all being together as a family.

The technician started the exam, and R and I couldn’t help but gaze at the murky images on the screen.  I could feel myself flashing back to my ultrasound exam back home, just ten months ago; seeing a small but recognizable baby on the screen and the line of questioning that followed, leaving us without a doubt that there was something very, very wrong.

But today was different.  The whole baby wouldn’t even fit on the screen today; the tech explained to us each part we were viewing, and took measurements.  Because things seemed to be going well, all of the comments were reassuring; “measuring right on track for nineteen weeks,”  “no abnormalities in the brain or spine,”.   Tiny black squares spat out of the front of the machine every so often, photos that the tech was allowing us to take home with us.   My doctor nodded and joked and laughed with us, his arms casually folded in a pose of ease and casual comfort.

“The moment of truth,” the tech finally said, holding the wand still.  “One last time:  do you want to know the sex of the baby?”

R and I both nodded, trying to figure out on our own the grainy mess on the screen, but having no luck.

The tech looked at our doctor, who delivered the news.  “You’re carrying a girl,” he said excitedly.  “A healthy, nineteen week girl.”

I hadn’t even realized I’d been holding my breath, but I exhaled then.  R took my hand.

“We will name her after my mother,” I said, not having even thought about names up until this very moment.  “Is that OK with you?” I quickly asked R.

“Let’s give her your mother’s name as her first name, and my mother’s name as her middle name,” R suggested.

The tech smiled.  “What a beautiful tribute,” she said.

I nodded, unable to speak.  I was having a girl.  A sweet, wonderful, baby girl.  I wiped the tears off of my face and wondered what she would be like.

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