In eight days, I’ll sit in a cold, stark room and watch as a sonographer wheels in the machine of her trade. A frigid dollop of gel will be slicked the length of a belt buckle, and for the first time since you’ve been here, the wand the doctor sets aglide will provide me moving images of you. I hope to see two arms and legs, the arc of your soft sloping cranium, and tight little balls of fist and foot. I hope to hear the word, “healthy,” as I stare transfixed at the screen that projects you.

I am told I might also be able to find out your gender that day, if you’re positioned just so and you’re feeling cooperative. I must confess that I’m far more eager about this than I should be. I have a shamefully strong preference, one that I hope will become little more than a trifle over which we’ll share a chuckle someday.

Should you defy all prediction and pleading, I promise to sing you this during 3 am feedings (though not as awesomely or loudly as DeeDee does):

In the meantime, I’m just trying to focus on growing you—and you’re making it surprisingly easy. There’s been no nausea, little heartburn, and relatively uneventful sleep in these first sixteen weeks with you. And sometimes, when we’re alone, and I hook a pair of headphones onto my ears, up the volume on my Doppler, and listen to you moving (because your sound is too delicious to be confined to 45-second soundbites in doctors’ offices), the swish of you, somewhere inside me, brings a peace more profound than any I’ve known.

I realize, when I hear you now, that it won’t matter to me if you’re boy or you’re girl, if you’re pensive like your mother or brooding like your father, if you play some sport for which I have little knowledge or tolerance, if you require long nights and longer patience, if we need to learn to speak with hands instead of mouths to communicate, if you excel at wind instruments or show less aptitude for English than Math.

It won’t matter as much as I thought it would, when we begin, in unconscious ways, to hurt one another. I won’t likely lament the loss of these quiet, autonomous days Before, when all you are is sound and a shadowy, shimmying figure on a screen of greenish static, as often as I suspected I would.

I know this by the sound of you, somersaulting currents of amniotic fluid, as eager to join the world as I am to deliver you to it.

I think of this sound far more often than I indulge in my urge to hear it. My heart has it memorized; listening too often would obliterate the workday veneer of poise I use to pretend that pregnancy is simple biology, that growing a human is something short of incredulous and spectacular.

I know now, whoever you are, I just want you here and I want you alive. At four months and a week, we are nearly half-there.

Spend the balance of winter and spring surviving the confines of my body and I promise I’ll devote each day to making you believe it was worth your while.


3 responses to “Somersaults.”

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