Here it is the long awaited...or maybe just late...telling of Super Fetus' 2nd Trimester Ultrasound.
OK, so here we are: wandering around the University of Michigan hospital at 7:30am, looking for the section where they do the ultrasounds. My tired brain is not only questioning the sanity of scheduling this at such a horrifying hour but the sanity of adding another child to the lopsided circus that we represent as we make our (tripping-random-shouting-and-or-laughing-dropping-diapers-out-of-a-half-open-diaper-bag) way down this hallway that I am sure we have been down before. But mostly I am questioning the sanity of the good people of Ann Arbor who built this enormous hospital; for while I am sure cutting edge medicine takes place within this very walls, I am fairly certain a good number of patients get lost looking for it. The parking garage actually has a floor 3 and 1/2, in addition to 7 other whole numbers, and the hospital itself (which I think is actually about 8 hospitals in one) is so confusing that I am seriously waiting for the Minotaur to come strolling around the next corner. Awkward Dad is confidently parading down the hallway, heeding the last directions of 2 lefts, a right, then another left that we got from one of the smiling greeters that magically pop up occasionally. But that was awhile ago and, as Super Toddler and I trail behind, I am starting to think it was 2 rights. Shouldn't we have seen the ultrasound section by now or at least another greeter? Did the Minotaur get her? I am really starting to worry about this when Awkward Dad stops before an unassuming door and proudly announces that he has "found it!"
We enter to be confronted with a space that appears to be the size of a normal hospital. An entire hospital-sized space just for ultrasounds.
Little back story here: Super Toddler and Super Baby were born while we were living in Central IL (hardly a backwater), and yet, our hospitals were nowhere near this large or, dare I say, confusing. There have been many new experiences regarding Super Fetus and his/her care here in Ann Arbor. For example, I now know what an internal ultrasound is. (I will spare the details for the more sensitive reader.) My doctor has one of those in his office. Apparently external ultrasounds need their own wing, hence this dawn trip to the hospital. Now, I am not trying to complain and I am sure I am getting the highest of quality care, but, oh, never mind. I am totally complaining.
So, somehow we are still early, and we are put in a waiting room to, well, wait. We settle in; Super Toddler flies over to the box of toys, Awkward Dad and Super Baby commence a riveting round of "I've got your nose," and I peruse the magazine options. Not able to face How to Get your Pre-Baby Body in 3 weeks, Crafting the Perfect Birth Plan, or 7 Secret Killers Lurking in your Nursery, I pick up a year old issue of Newsweek. All is good (if a tad boring) for 5 minutes. Then, Perfect Family walks in. Sigh.
She is sporting a Hollywood baby bump, cradled by perfectly pressed pants and artfully draped in a clingy, yet not sleazy, summer blouse, and offset by coordinating sandals, handbag, and sunglasses. Perfect Dad is polo perfect and Perfect Toddler is matching, from his cap to Crocs. They are lavishing praise on Perfect Toddler for his recent trip to the potty (I assume in the one down the hall or else that is really weird), and they take one look at us and sit as far away as possible. Super Toddler's requests for Perfect Toddler to play with him are roundly ignored. Awkward Dad starts shooting those super-powered eye daggers he has, and I start to watch the clock intensely. Perfect Toddler declares that he is hungry and Perfect Mom pulls a plastic container out of her handbag (is that real leather?), which contains carrot and celery sticks, pita bread, and hummus, beautifully housed in little compartments. Not to be outdone, Super Toddler declares he is hungry. Feeling rather proud of myself, I pull a bag of grapes (still in the bag they came in) out of the diaper bag and hand it to him. He fixes Perfect Toddler with his gaze, eats one grape contently, and then declares the next one to be dirty. We are miraculously saved by the arrival of the ultrasound technician.
We troop down the hallway to a room as dark as a cave. Having done this before (Illinois Ultrasounds aren't that different), I hop on the table and get ready. Super Toddler hops up too. We have a long discussion about why this can't happen. He pouts and perches on the very edge of the chair next to me, about eye level with my belly and his yet-to-arrival brother/sister. After 3 years, my complete and utter lack of personal space is as familiar to me as it is to all parents, but this technician seems a little freaked out and asks him to move. He leans back into the chair, which, by the way, is the only chair in the room, and thus relegates Awkward Dad and Super Baby to loom over me in the corner behind my left ear. Already this ultrasound is shaping up to be most awkward on record for the Awkward Family and it hasn't even started yet. (Spoiler: it gets worse.)
So, we quickly tell her that we don't want to know the gender. We have been told to do this every time we are heading into an ultrasound. She does look surprised but says "OK." This is the last thing she says for the next 25 minutes.
I am serious. She squirts on that ice cold jelly stuff (which completely weirds out Super Toddler) places the wand on my belly (Super Toddler is not impressed with this wand's magic, in the slightest), and away we go. She starts looking for Super Fetus, who periodically emerges in and around the dark corners of my uterus; it is kinda like watching a nature program where they go looking for blind fish and electric eels at the bottom of the ocean. (Especially given how much like a love child between a Fish Mutant and Skeletor babies look at this point in development. Don't glare at me. You know it's true.) Except those nature programs have better narration. The silence is eerie. Super Toddler and Super Baby apparently think so too, so they begin to talk and wail, respectively. Super Toddler maintains a running commentary of the process that sounds something like this:
"That is a wand, but not really a wand. Not like a straight wand like Cinderella's Fairy Godmother or a star wand like a magical princess or like a glowing wand. Not a glowing wand. Where is the baby? I don't see the baby. We are having a boy, like Super Baby. It is dark in here. Not a Cinderella or a Sleeping Beauty. I like the baby. Mommy, I'm hungry. I wanna go to the zoo. That is not a real wand. I'm still hungry. We are having a girl like Cinderella. We could call her Cinderella. I would make her a dress, like the mice. The mice would make her a dress. Like a wand. I need a wand. Not like that wand. But a real wand. With a star. Those are the best. Glowing with a star. That is a wand, but not a real wand"
Super Baby is now on Awkward Dad's shoulders in an attempt to calm him down. Awkward Dad has walked him over to the corner-mounted TV monitor, which is showing the peeping Super Fetus. Super Baby, perhaps showing his middle-childness early, is swatting at the images and continuing to cry.
The technician has found the heart and she focuses on it. Again. Again. And again. This goes on for what feels like hours, but is probably more like 10 minutes. However, I never remember previous ultrasounds taking this long and I sure don't remember so much focus on the heart. I am completely convinced that something is wrong, so I break this unwritten room code of silence and I ask, "Is something wrong?" She says, "Oh no, it's just that..." She trails off and doesn't speak again for 15 minutes.
We more than make up for the silence of the technician. Awkward Dad retreats to the corner to shush and entertain Super Baby, who continues to whimper and laugh randomly. Super Toddler's speech about wands is still going on and my internal monologue is rattling on about heart defects and specialists and maybe my mom could live with us for awhile and how good is our insurance and on and on and on. I am about to lose all decorum and shout at this woman to just say something, anything, cough, something, when she smiles and says, "OK, time to look away. I am going to check for the gender now."
I am so startled by this string of words, that is takes me a minute to process what she is saying. Wait. Hold on. What?
Now, when Super Toddler and Super Baby were Super Fetuses (Fetui?) and we had the "fun ultrasound," we told them we didn't want to know and that was that. No one mentioned gender for the rest of the (much shorter than this, by the way) ultrasound. Our previous doctor even told us that he requested not to be told so he wouldn't accidentally spill the beans to us. Therefore, I am suddenly interested. Why does she need to know?
So, I ask. She looks appalled. "Well, the doctor needs to know." But this doesn't satisfy me (and plus, I think I just want to keep her talking), so I tell her about our previous doctor. Again, she looks appalled and sputters, "But what if something was wrong? How would the doctor know?" Alarm bells sound. Is something wrong? Does she know something already? Is she just nosy? What could it be? Am I am going to have to break with Christmas Morning and find out this gender anyway or risk some major problem for the rest of my angel's incubation? What? Who? How? AHHH!
Luckily, Awkward Dad's super-common-sense takes over and he calmly asks if there are any "gender disorders" that can be corrected in-utero. Well, no, she doesn't think so. OK, he says, if you need to look, go ahead, but, as we stated before, we don't want to know. Thank you and can we please continue? He shoots me a look that is a combination calm-down-don't-worry-I-think-she-might-be-new-and-or-crazy-the-baby-is-fine-but-Super-Baby-and Super-Toddler are-gonna-lose-it-if-this-doesn't-hurry-along. I silently agree and we all find a spot on the floor to look at.
That is, except Super Baby. Super Baby, who is now quiet for the first time in close to 45 minutes, is staring at the screen and at Super Fetus', ummmmm, well, stuff. Great. OK. Well, that might be something to worry about later. Like way later. Puberty later. For now, let's all get a good look (or not) and finish up here, eh?
No such luck. Turns out the technician wants to go look at the heart again. I am starting to think that Super Fetus is going to be born in this room.
Fear not, readers! The rest of the ultrasound only took another 20 minutes. Turns out the technician was new and eventually had to bring in a more experienced (and chatty) technician to find the rest of the measurements, which, by the way, were all fine and dandy. Including the "stuff" one that we still know nothing about. Well, everyone but Super Baby, that is....