Today we saw our baby for the first time.
We weren’t expecting this. It was our first trip to the doctor to get official confirmation of what my wife’s new bouts of all-day-long morning sickness left in little doubt. We had actually been to see this doctor just a few weeks earlier for my wife’s annual checkup, but neither he nor we expected to reunite so soon. Before our positive pregnancy test, I thought this particular week would have had me more obsessed with Obi-Wan than Ob-Gyn, but there we were, paying our co-pay and filling out pregnancy paperwork.
Already nervously excited to get a medical thumbs up for our growing bundle of joy, our anticipation accelerated when we learned that we would be having an ultrasound and actually see said bundle. At most, I had been expecting a blood test and a congratulatory handshake.
I entered the ultrasound room and saw the usual dinosaur-like image of a baby embryo at 8 weeks after conception hanging on the wall. I saw the ultrasound screen and ultrasound wand–the uterine selfie stick that would bring our baby’s first picture into view.
So I teared up.
This is fatherhood, apparently. It doesn’t take much for those ducts to turn on their hoses these days, though I don’t think I’m entirely to blame for this. It doesn’t help that we are processing this joyous news at the exact same time that the world is concelebrating Christmas and the release of a new Star Wars movie. Nods to nostalgia and family and childhood and parenting and traditions are all the rage as the shoppers rush home with their treasures. Tough luck, silver bells.
But anyway, there I was almost tearing up in this glorious room that will soon reveal my first tangible contribution to humanity. I pulled myself together in time for the return of my wife and the tech, who asked us some questions before the doctor arrived. After a quick Q&A with the doctor, it was time for our kid’s closeup.
The ultrasound image flickered to life in a cavalcade of green and white and black. This blob of pixels on a digital screen in a darkened room representing a new human being we helped create. As ridiculous as that description might sound, it’s hard not to be moved at the sight. For once, this is a life experience that is almost exactly like it is in the movies. The doc pointed out the uterus and the exact blob of our baby, which he measured with digital lines to determine just how long our little Chia pet had been growing. We are currently around 6.5 weeks, which gives us a due date of August 5.
And then he somehow zoomed in and we could see two small pulsating parts–our baby’s heart–already hard at work. Completely enthralled, I didn’t quite catch what the doc said next, when suddenly I heard something coming out of the ultrasound’s speakers:
The fastest little heartbeat I’ve ever heard! My baby’s heart! It’s not even fully developed yet and it’s already cuter than your baby’s heart ever was!
Words cannot express the sense of responsibility that hit me in that moment and continue to blissfully linger inside me. This heartbeat…this baby…this person…has only existed for six and a half weeks. And this person only exists at all because my wife and I fell in love. Three years ago, we hadn’t even started dating yet, and today we share in the joy of God’s creation by bringing a new life into the world.
What a blessing. What a gift.
Who will this person be? This baby we weren’t even supposed to have for another year. This kid who is now accompanying us everywhere that we go. This child who is secretly listening in on our conversations and consuming our every idle thought.
I’ve seen the blob, who isn’t even a bump yet, and it’s all become so much more real. It’s still our little secret–which is fun in its own way–but the temptation to share it with the world is even greater when I have ultrasound photos sitting there tantalizingly on my kitchen counter. I want to carry one around in my wallet.
I’m now bursting at the seams to share this news. After the appointment, we picked up Subway (Don’t worry, my wife had chicken, not cold cuts) and the usual manager was behind the counter. Yes, I considered telling him, but I didn’t want him to have to shake my hand and change his glove.
So let’s recap:
I’ve seen our baby’s heart and I know there’s a brain developing and the ultrasound even let me see the baby’s home. Now I just need the courage to keep this under wraps until we tell our families on Christmas.
Heart? Home? Courage? Oh man, Wizard of Oz references. Someday my baby will watch that with me.
I’m not crying, you’re crying.