Saturday, February 25, 2006

Turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes

Those ultrasound pictures don't tell the whole story of that day or what life has been like since.

We were both excited for the ultrasound, but we were both nervous as well. The nervousness was, I think, from knowing that we would finally know so much about Baby Boy. It was easier in many ways to only know that his heart was beating and that he was growing and moving. After the ultrasound, we would know if his heart was working well and if he had all his parts in all the right places. The worry came from the knowledge that we might find out that everything wasn't right, and that the ultrasound would be the beginning of more worrying. Beyond that, I wasn't sure how I would handle any unexpected news.

As it turned out, there was no unexpected news--although the doctors still have to review all the images--so I'm still not sure how I'll handle that. The big change since the ultrasound has come unexpectedly from what we were excited about: seeing Baby Boy.

As we were watching, we were so mesmerized by the images that we weren't aware of how quickly and deeply they were affecting us. We did get a hint of the scope of their effects from Mama's bladder, actually.

She had to drink 32 ounces of water one hour before the appointment, which was already asking a lot, given how big Baby Boy is. When we got to the office, we had to wait 45 minutes to get seen. I tried to distract Mama with solitaire on the Treo, but it's pretty hard to distract from an overfull bladder with a boy practicing his ap chagi on it. On our way in, the tech asked how we were doing, and all Mama could say by then was, "I've gotta pee."

Perhaps the reason for all the water: to distract us from all of our worries.

As soon as the first images came on the screen, though, and for the next 45 minutes, Mama forgot altogether about her bladder. Both of us forgot about everything outside of that room. When we were done, the tech pointed Mama toward the bathroom next door.

"I forgot that I had to pee," said Mama.

"Everyone does," replied the tech.

We're still distracted by everything that happened in that room. Just today, I printed out all 97 images from the exam. 97.

Don't worry, I won't subject you to all of them. Most of the ones from the exam portion aren't much to look at, although the ones of him sucking his thumb are unbearably cute. The four that I put up here are from after the exam, when the tech just looks around for good pictures to take and share.

And while we haven't had a chance to scan them in and share them outside our humble home, we have been looking them over and sharing with each other our perspectives on all of the moments from that small room. We keep coming back to the unexpected change: that Baby is no longer just a baby, he is a he, with all of his tiny fingers and toes, with his head and his heart, his kidneys, liver, and spine. He's a little--very little--boy, rubbing his eyes, sucking his thumb, spinning around.

Baby Boy is no longer just a pregnancy, or the idea of a baby. He is a boy who we couldn't take our eyes off of, whose pictures we can't stop looking at, and who we can't wait to meet. That seems so simple when I write it down, but it's a fundamental change to everything we do and to who we are.

That change is, I think, the answer to one of our worries--that we won't know what to do, that we won't know how to be parents. I'll be the first to admit that I still don't know what's going on now, and that I'm sure to make mistakes as a parent, but from now on, I am changed too; from now on, I am a dad, a papa, a parent.

I can't help but care less, or not at all, about much of the pettiness around us--mine and that of others. I can't help but care more profoundly about those serious and pressing difficulties that we confront. And I can't help but be a proud papa. I'm proud of our son for all the things that he's done so far. They're all the things that he wasn't doing consciously, that we just chalk up to development, but it was him who was developing, him who was doing all of those things, unconsciously or not. Well, him with a lot of support from Mama.

It's a change and a pride unlike anything I've experienced. I imagine that it's somewhat similar to what I experienced when, as an infant, I discovered my own hands. It's as if I can now feel my connection to elements of myself that have always been a part of me, but which I haven't been conscious of. Too, it's a change that I didn't set out to make, that I didn't craft in any way. The difference is that, while Baby Boy and I are forever connected, we are not attached, as my hands are to me.

As Mama and I continue to relive our first look at Baby Boy, and as we continue to realize all of the changes that we made upon seeing his perfect little form, it's clear to us that no matter what happens, from here on, everything is different.

No comments:

Post a Comment