Two years ago this month our dog died.
I was never a pet fanatic, never one who'd foresee myself crying over a lost animal, but when my dog died I fell apart. So did my husband. We cried for days on end. Until we moved, we never stopped anticipating seeing our Ralph waiting for us on the back porch. I could've blamed it on the spice of a hormonal pregnancy, but either way it was really sad. He was the only baby I had known, the only being to appreciate me as a mother.
Recognizing our grief patterns, my helpful cousin Katie offered to give me an early ultrasound.
"Come see your baby. It will help you feel better." She promised.
So we did.
And I had never been more nervous in my life. Not for any recital, or mission, or marriage. Not because I was anxious about the gender, or about the health of the fetus. I was nervous I had made the whole pregnancy up in my brain, just because I wanted it that bad. It was plausible to think Katie would take that wand, squeeze blue jelly all over my slightly protruding belly and find nothing but a bowl of black soup in my uterus.
But no. A baby appeared.
And she was right. When I saw that being moving and stretching and giving us a thumbs up sign my heart had found a replacement for the hole Ralphy left. A replacement that expanded until it took over my entire heart. Oh the miracle of modern technology!
I was mother to a human.
As I write this post, a second baby is punching around inside of me. I am almost twenty weeks. In this stage of pregnancy the going question is, "Do you know the gender?" --an inquisition added to the repertoire of pregnancy pondering in the past twenty years. Do you know the gender? Are you going to find out? What do think it is? All questions I've asked to others in my position. It is Ultrasound Season again for me.
I've been asking the Lord for some insights this time around, and I feel differently with this pregnancy. I know I have a tremendous amount of options given to me for the direct purpose of a successful pregnancy, delivery and postpartum period. From medical procedures and miraculous ultrasounds to alternative methods, I recognize them all as gifts from God. I will accept them all as good, I will be grateful for what options I choose.
But with this pregnancy I have decided to choose less options. I am learning to find the mothering instincts inside of me in a different way. The Lord is teaching my spirit in terms that my soul can understand, and the more I let go of options, the happier I feel. Happier, lighter, better. This is for me, not everyone, but yes, definitely for me.
So have I heard my baby's heart beat? Yes. But not with an instrument.
Will I get an ultrasound? Maybe, but probably not.
But it doesn't mean I haven't seen my baby.
***in keeping with photo series on the last post, this is our former dog Ralph, Utah Lake, dead of winter.