Sarah’s heartburn is unbearable, for us both. Acid reflux is a problem for preggos, especially at night because when they lie down, stomach acid rises into their esophagus. Yuck. Therefore, she’s sleeping with her head elevated, and making use of the “body pillow” Kenn and Julie bought from Bed, Bath & Beyond. It’s doing the trick, but our king-size is getting mighty crowded. This morning I counted nine pillows, three blankets, four stuffed animals, five books, and one dirty spoon. Now the body pillow. It’s such a massive presence that when I wake up in the middle of the night, I can’t find my wife. She’s over there somewhere, I guess, because I can hear the noises in her stomach.
* * *
At our latest visit to Dr. Harth, she calmly told us that Babu was still measuring small. Sarah needs another ultrasound to make sure everything is OK, and if it shows that the baby was below the fifth percentile in size, then we could have trouble. For starters, Sarah would have to make two trips to the doctor every week to monitor growth. It would probably lead to a forced caesarean section two weeks before the due date, which means that 30 hours of Bradley classes would be down the drain. And it meant that there could be something wrong with our child.
Dr. Harth, a calm woman with a quiet voice and gentle smile, told us all this in such a reassuring way that I never felt the slightest bit of worry. I was considerably more concerned when I stepped on a scale in the nurse’s office and saw that I had gained ten pounds.
Yesterday, Sarah went back to the hospital to get her ultrasound. I couldn’t break away from work, so she took her lovably crusty father, Isaac. They sat in the little room waiting for the ultrasonographer, who eventually came in and dimmed the lights. Isaac absently turned them back up.
The ultrasonographer looked at Sarah.
“What are you doing, Dad?” Sarah asked.
“I’m reading The New York Times,” Isaac said.
Sarah exchanged another look with the ultrasonographer. “Um, Dad. Isn’t your grandchild’s health more important?”
He looked over the tip of the paper, annoyed. “It’s the Friday New York Times.”
Guess he’s not worried either, and it turns out he had no reason to be. The baby was perfectly healthy: 42nd percentile. One interesting thing did happen at the ultrasound, though. Turns out that the previous ultrasonographer had taken pics of every other part of Babu’s inner and outer body to make sure there were no defects, but for whatever reason, he had not gotten a shot of the left hand.
So this time, when it came time for Babu’s close-up, the kid had its left hand tucked under its chin in the Thinker’s Pose, like that famous sculpture. Minutes passed, but it refused to move its hand, and I trembled at how much the image on the screen looked like Rodin’s depiction of Dante at the Gates of Hell.
The ultrasonographer resorted to an old ultrasonographer trick: She projected the fetus’s heartbeat back into the womb to wake it up. Babu, shocked from slumber, began flailing about—but still refused to have its picture taken. I’m imagining some brutal fights over bedtimes in the next few years. Fights we’re going to lose.
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