The Other Moment of Truth
One week later and I’m sitting in an ultrasound room with Cynthia and Horrace, waiting for the other moment of truth: whether there’s one, two, three or four Jacobson babies swimming in my stomach.
A jolt of alarm shoots through me when they tell me that I need to undress from the waist down. I thought this was a simple ultrasound. A squirt of jelly on my belly and that’s it. I give Cynthia a puzzled look, and she shoots me with a look of silent reprimand, motioning for me to hurry up and undress. Horrace turns his back to the wall and hums a little tune to himself.
I undress myself while trying to remain hunched over enough to cover my crotch. This proves difficult, and I struggle for a moment. Cynthia rolls her eyes as she passes me the paper towel/drape to cover myself with and I hop up on the table. Once back up on the table I’m feeling much more relaxed.
Which proves very short lived. A moment later the ultrasound technician comes back in the room and tells me to put my feet in the stirrups. Horrace looks distinctly uncomfortable, and (bless him) he tries to focus his eyes on the poster behind me. Unfortunately, it happens to be a huge glossy poster of female anatomy. He looks a bit blanched. I look at Cynthia but she offers me no comfort, just another look of annoyance. I put my feet in the stirrups. The technician inserts the probe and I’m almost ready to bolt. How humiliating. It’s like I’m a cow being poked and prodded. Or a subject in a series of weird experiments.
But then I glance on the screen and see it: a little squiggle.
“It appears to be a single, live, embryo,” the technician says in a bland voice. “Can you see the heart beating?” he asks. And I can! There’s a little flashing thing in the middle of the little squiggle.
Horrace draws Cynthia into an embrace. I look at them briefly, but they are riveted to the screen. I feel like an intruder in their private moment.
When I go home later I pull out my picture of the ‘cytes. And even though I’m truly glad that there’s only one left, a part of me can’t help but wonder: what became of the other three? I look at the ‘cytes and then think about the ultrasound this morning. It was remarkable how things have already changes so much. What was just a miniscule grey bleb three weeks ago now has a heart that beats. I reflect on this for a moment before sleep pulls at me.