“See right there, that's her ear,” the ultrasound tech pointed out another feature of our little one on the way.
“Oh, I see is that her shoulder?” I asked as she moved the wand over the landscape of my growing belly.
“Yep, we can do the 3D if you're interested.”
Um, interested? Yes. We didn't have the 3D option with our ultrasounds in Kenya, so this was a true treat.
As she clicked away and this little girl's face and hands appeared on the screen tears pricked at the corners of my eyes. I really wish that Emma hadn't fallen sick today so Scott could be here to see this.
Later that day when we showed Emma the in utero snapshots she said,
“Oh, that's me.”
“No that's your little sister we said pointing to my belly.
“No, that's me when I'm crying,' she asserted. The baby's hands were up around her face so I think that's where the 'crying' statement came from. I hoped that Emma's mistaking the baby for herself was a sign of the strong sisterly bond that would grow between them.
Thirty years ago they didn't have this technology. You couldn't know what your baby was, the growing person in your belly was still abstract. In so many places in the world pregnancy is still treated with such secrecy and much hush hush, because babies don't make it all the time. We are so fortunate that we can have the emotional luxury of falling in love with our children before they are born.
When Scott first handed me Emma in the hospital room I didn't feel much. I was coming out of anesthesia; emotional numbness is probably an expectation. If I think back on it now I also didn't know what to expect. How was this little person going to change my life? Who was she going to be? Will I love her? How will that compare to love that I felt before?
Now I know what do expect. I know the first six weeks will be hard, dark, and exhausting. But this time I know I won't break her. I know that eventually she will smile. I know that eventually she will do things that will amaze me.
I know what I don't know this time. I have no idea how to wrangle a baby and a toddler. Do you bathe them at the same time? What do you do when both are crying? Do help the toddler first because she might remember or do you help the baby first because you're building trust that the world is a safe place? I can only imagine what having two crying children will do to my nerves, because I know what one already does.
Every time I look at those ultrasound pictures I feel those little tears prick up again. Those photos make this so much more real. Every now and then I feel a tiny movement inside and wonder how tiny that little hand must be. It makes me wish I enjoyed pregnancy more. Instead of feeling all the aches and pains feeling this little miracle.
This time I know what to expect: I know that she will run away with my heart.