Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Le petit

Today was my third-trimester ultrasound exam, at five o'clock in the afternoon at the hospital where I'm due to give birth in approximately two months' time.

Two months. Two months! Eek.

The hospital is conveniently located three minutes from our apartment, and a slightly less convenient hour and fifteen from my office. I serenely slipped out the door at quarter to four, having grown somewhat more zen about skipping work for baby-related reasons as my tummy has grown bigger.

I met my husband at the Métro station closest to the hospital and we showed up at the radiology department five minutes early. Uselessly, as it turned out, as we ended up waiting until quarter to six. After fifteen minutes they ushered us into a dimly-lit room with a row of small windows high in the ceiling, peeling wallpaper, and a mountain of ultrasound equipment. My shirt pulled up and my pants unbuttoned, I tried to make myself as comfortable as possible on the examination table. We held hands and waited.

"Le petit" seemed anxious for his fifteen minutes of fame, and kept giving me short series of kicks in my ribs. Perhaps it was simply to reassure us, for although I was less worried than before previous ultrasounds, I was still anxious. Would the baby be positioned properly? Had he gained enough weight? Too much? What weren't we worried about but should be? My husband wasn't far from a nervous wreck.

The midwife who performed the ultrasound wasn't particularly talkative, but we soon learned that everything was just fine. The baby's head is at the bottom, the rear below the right of my ribcage, and a couple of tiny feet are tucked up somewhere to the left, under my heart. Measurements were taken, the heartbeat recorded, and we even got a couple of snapshots of a tiny head in profile to take home. We were both relieved.

Back at home my husband said to me, amazed, "It's a real little baby now." Somehow as my stomach expands it all seems more real, as this tiny being becomes less a part of me and more a small individual, ready to greet the world. The ultrasound exams throw the gradual changes into sudden focus. We start wondering what he will be like, and enumerate all the superficial attributes we can sense. The hair was difficult to see, according to the midwife, so perhaps the baby will be bald at birth like his mother. He's constantly moving, so clearly he'll be an exercise nut, something his father is ready to attribute to me as well. Most impressively, they were already able to predict the baby's birth weight: already at 2.5 kilos, they expect 3.6 or 3.7 at birth. A "beau bébé!" Perhaps I should stop calling him "le petit" soon...

Does all this matter? I think we cling to the few details we can glean from the ultrasound because pregnancy and birth is fundamentally a mystery. We can know everything from the length of the tiny legs to the movement of the heart, but there will still be everything to learn at birth.

Two months. Two months! Will we be ready?

I just got another coup de pied, which I'm taking as a sign to take myself -- err, the two of us -- off to bed.

1 comment:

Reena said...

awwww... I can't wait me petit sergant. :) Sending tons of love!