Last Friday, I meet up with Squeezable Companion at a bar/restaurant near the hospital after he finished work. Some of his fellow interns want to congratulate him with a drink for the marriage and future fatherhood.
Timing and making plans as an interns is a tricky thing. You think you’ll get out on time but get held up with a last minute transfer patient or paperwork. Or you think there’s no way you’ll get out by 7pm because you haven’t gotten out by 7pm for the past ten days but then, like last Friday, you’re out by 7:15. In any case and unsurprisingly, the people who organized the mini-soiree weren’t there when baby daddy and I arrived at the bar.
We sit down for some food anyway, and during the dinner conversation, SC mentions that his friend back home just posted photos on Facebook from his girlfriend’s ultrasound. You know the couple: the ones who leave love notes on the other’s wall; they post pictures of each other eating cereal because they are so cute when they are eating cereal; she hears a song on the radio that reminds her of her sweetie and she posts an update about it from her blackberry while driving; they take pictures of her, midriff exposed, while he pretends (pretends because this early in the game there’s no way he can hear the fetus’ heartbeat even using one of those home Doppler machines let alone a stethoscope) to listen for a heartbeat affectionately bent at the waist towards her belly with a stethoscope in his hand. So soooo cute.
But I want one too, an ultrasound that is.
“I want one,” I say.
SC looks at me, give me a minute, and proceeds to hatch a plan. And speaking of hatching, while we give SC a minute to think, my friend Brenda who’s first child just turned one, wasn’t the happiest pregnant woman either; she thinks it’s incredibly inconvenient that we don’t lay eggs so that the baby can gestate outside of our bodies; if we need to go to work or leave the apartment to run errands, for instance, having an egg would mean just throwing a electric blanket over it to keep it cozy while we were away and couldn’t sit on it ourselves.
He says it might not work as he signs the check for our meal, that even if he is able to get an ultrasound machine from somewhere, he has to figure out where to perform the examination. And they can’t get caught. But I can tell he’s excited and the hurdles just make it more exciting for him.
He doesn’t talk while we walk quickly towards the hospital and he doesn’t talk once we’re inside. He gets off on one floor and tells me to get off on the next one and to wait for him at the elevators. A man in scrubs wearing a scrub hat walks out of the doorway labled Operating Rooms and looks at me, but doesn’t give me a second glance. A few seconds later, SC walks out with scrubs in his hand, his coat and backpack nowhere.
He takes me to up three flights of stairs and to a bathroom and tells me to wait for him at the elevators once I’m changed. He appears a couple of minutes later takes my coat and purse and tells me to tuck in my top into the bottom of my scrubs like him. You’re a visiting international 1st year med student from the University of Toronto.
We go down a flight of stairs and into the doctors’ lounge. I’ve been here before. He’s going to put my things in his locker and he points to the kitchen area in case I want to help myself to water. While I’m sipping on hot chocolate, SC’s friend and fellow intern, who I know, who I’ll call Bob, walks in. Don’t I know you? What are you doing here? I tell him SC and I are looking for an ultrasound machine. I point to the door and say that SC is in there. On his way in he says, And congrats on your engagement and wedding!
The last time I saw Bob was three weeks ago. We ate oysters and drank Sidecars and Harpoons. Then we called it night, went home, got engaged, got prego, and got hitched. It feels like it’s been eons and just yesterday since I last saw Bob.
SC appears and takes me to another floor and hesitates at the double doors leading into the hallways. Everyone knows me here! Okay, let’s go. We make a beeline for a door and behind it is a bunk bed that just fits the length of the room. There’s a small stand on wheels with an ancient laptop. The room is the size of a unremarkable walk-in closet, otherwise known as the first year residence lounge. SC tells me to wait here. He returns in about ten minutes with an ultrasound machine. The white proprietary sticker says Transplant. SC’s month in the Transplant unit was one of his happiest since starting his internship. They love me over there. He asked them if he could use their machine for a teaching moment with a few med students. Oh sure, go ahead!
We wait for the machine to warm up, I lay down on the bottom bunk, and after a few minutes of moving around the wand, SC points to a white blob suspended in a larger black blob on the screen. He moves the wand a little to my left and we both see the regular fluttering in the middle of the white blob. That’s the heart.
Before the waiter returned with SC’s credit card and the check to sign, I said to SC, “What if I’m not pregnant? What if the bigger breasts and the nausea (not to mention the three positive at-home pregnancy tests) were all symptoms of something else? What if the shotgun wedding was for nothing? What if we find out that I’m not pregnant?”
We don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. But I had to know for sure. All the symptoms in the world weren’t going to satisfy my double chemistry major undergraduate training. I needed something definitive, quantitative, not circumstantial and qualitative.
Wait five minutes and then go down the hall and make a first left and wait for me there. What does a woman who’s just seen her baby for the first time think about? I have no idea what other women think about. All this one could think was, wow, I’m really pregnant.
And that’s it. There was and is no sense that the baby is more real. The baby is still not the focus. Rather the state of pregnancy is the focus and the state of pregnancy relates to me. It’s still about me. So the baby isn’t real yet. Being a mother, yeah right. That sometime in the future both of those things will become more real is the only reality. And I think I’m happy about it because I couldn’t stop smiling afterwards as we walked away from the hospital.