Monday, June 23, 2008

Alien Baby

Our baby looks like an alien.

We visited the doctor today for an ultrasound – our first look at the infant in Michelle's womb.

What we saw was awe inspiring.

After the technician smeared some translucent blue goo on Michelle's belly and started rolling the transducer, black and white pictures started to flicker on the computer monitor. The images shimmered as the technician moved the device back and forth, blobs of gray bobbing and surging forth against a black background. I found it hard to decipher anything. Shapes shimmered and warped, as if Michelle's insides were a mirror at a carnival.

Then the technician zoomed in one area, and I recognized what I was looking at: Our baby's heart, beating away, the ventricles keeping time with each beat, the valves opening and closing like perfectly synchronized sets of doors. It was beautiful.

The technician zoomed out. There was the spine, a string of beads in unearthly white running the length of the screen. Look, there's a hand, with five fingers. Another hand. The two legs, moving around. The rib cage. The kidneys. The stomach. It was dizzying, seeing our baby's organs and other features so close up and personal.

After the technician took us on this tour de baby, it was time to take a picture. She moved the transducer from one end of Michelle's belly to the other, seeking that picture-perfect angle. But our baby was being rather uncooperative. She or he was lying face down, and raising her arms up and over her head, as if rubbing her eyes. Perhaps she's shy. Maybe he thought we were some kind of papparazzi.

"It looks like it's playing peek-a-boo," the technician said.

Playful little devil.

In the picture we have, our baby is turned on his side and is looking right at us. His eye sockets are hollow, and there's a big spot in the middle of his face reserved for his nose. It appears as if she has slung an arm across the middle of her face, and you can see the faint outline of her hand. That's pretty much it. Big head, with hollowed out eyes and nose, a shadow of an arm and a faint outline of a hand. An alien species.

About an hour and a half after we returned home, Michelle and I were sitting on the sofa when she looked at me and said, "the baby is kicking. Hard. You may feel it."

I placed my hand on her stomach, and she placed hers over mine and pushed it gently against her belly. Nothing for a few minutes. And then, a strong shove against my fingers. And another push. Pow, pow. Two more kicks, each more evident than the last. Our baby was moving alot, and we can already feel those movements from the outside. Can you imagine what it will be like four weeks from now, or eight?

Our alien is alive. And most definitely kicking.

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