What side is up?

Ack – I just realized last nights post was in draft status – sorry guys -guess you get two posts from me today:

I belong to a local Toastmaster club and I wanted to share with you my latest work. Hope you enjoy:

What side is up?
My husband came home a few weeks ago, phone in hand with a very befuddled look on his face. Once through the door he walked determined to me and demanded “What is this?” He thrust his phone toward my face and presented me with a photo of an ultrasound. I smiled and said “it’s a baby. A boy by the look of it”
He quickly took the phone back and stared at it intently, a look of shock and betrayal on his face “how do you know that? What side is up?”
I stepped behind him and walked him through the tiny black and white photo –“see here is the head, and nose, you can see the spine and the heart (that’s the white thing right there) and on the photo below, where the arrow is pointing you can see it’s a boy” He looked at me stunned, then back at the phone, squinting trying to bring the grainy image into focus, looked at me again, and shrugged – “whatever” locking his phone and walking off.
I’ve encountered many ultrasound photos in my life, the first with my nephew, I was blessed with being in the room and heard his heartbeat for the first time, and I tell you honestly I have never heard a more beautiful sound than the woopa woopas of a baby’s heartbeat. The technician working that day was a wonderful woman that walked both mother and I through each hump and lump on the tiny screen. When we got the tiny print outs, I poured over them for hours fascinated by what it represented. I had complications with both of my own pregnancies and had ultrasounds from 8 weeks on, 10 times each I was allowed to view their progress and revel in their beauty. I have each picture loving placed inside a tiny box ready for them to view.
Now I don’t know if it’s me or if women are so much more involved in the pregnancy process than men, or if many lie and don’t really know what they’re looking at when viewing an ultrasound photo but I do believe that men have a harder time figuring out what they’re looking at. After my husband walked away in frustration that day, I realized that while my husband is a “father” to my girls he did not experience pregnancy and birth of either of them. For the most part his extent of pre-birth experience was spending time with his little sister before the birth of her first child. He would send me text messages, of the baby’s heartbeat, and marvel at the pregnancy calendar she had online – asking me a million questions about what a Chinese cabbage was (compared to a fetus), and what it felt like when a baby would move. When we got her first Ultrasound picture he kept going back to it day after day, and asked me over and over.
“Ok so this is the head, and this is the body, right?”
Many times I would turn the picture over and say no, this way –
But how can you tell?
Easiest way is the mothers name is at the top left of the photo
We lucked out with her and were able to go to her 3D ultrasound apt, there on a large screen TV in HiDef and at 32 weeks were able to see her nose, and eyes, and thumb delicately shoved in her mouth. You could count her already chubby toes, for Steve he could fully see that it was a baby for the first time. I watched him more than the screen that day, taking in his reaction to a hiccup, or a sudden movement and stretch. His smile as he finally got it, that knowledge and wonder of a new life, one that’s not seen and while imagined you could put tangibly in front of you on that big screen TV, that smile was priceless.
We have had two more nephews born since then, both pregnancies were a wonder to Steve like the first but to his dismay all of their ultrasound photos have been 2-d and flat, I’ve watched him struggle to decipher what he was looking at, squinting at the page – hoping just once he could figure out what side was up. Then put the page down and walk away shoulders slumped because he couldn’t find the magic to make them seem real.
His little sister is pregnant again – and asked all of us if we would like to attend her first 3-d ultrasound, she’s not that far along but the dr. was pretty sure they would be able to find out if she was having a boy or a girl and while it would be in 3-d for a small part of the time it would mostly be “flat” We entered the room Saturday morning and sat on a comfy couch side by side – Brittney lay on the table with her husband beside her and the technician dimmed the lights. As she moved the wand over Brittney’s belly the woopa woopa sound rang out clearly and my heart swelled with the sound. I smiled and looked at Steve; he smiled back and took my hand then back at the screen. Then his face changed, he started to squint and lean forward, as I watched his face become more intense his eyes got big and I realized that something had clicked for him. I looked back at the screen and sure enough we were looking at the rump of our new niece or nephew – two little legs poking out and a perfect view of the base of the spine as I gazed at the wonder on the big screen in front of us my husband leaned over and whispered “it’s a boy”. I squeezed his hand and smiled nodding. He was right.


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