Friday, November 9, 2012

Skeletal Rewind

The day before Halloween, when I was still in the thick of recovering from the end of the quarter and conferences, I had a day off. This day was the product of careful scheduling weeks in advance wherein Curtis and I examined our schedules, our doctor's schedule, our dentist's schedule, and figured out where we could both miss work--and get appointments--on the same day. There are few acts of coordination of which I have been more proud. 

The 20-week ultrasound, as it seems to be known, is a marker of note in the pregnancy world. Not only does it mark the official halfway point (as if the due date is actually the end date), but it is a nice long look at this being growing and moving beneath the surface. Curtis commented to me after the fact that I was quite serious in the entire appointment: focused, intense, unwavering. There's something surreal about a flat screen television projecting a black and white image of something you can't physically see. Sure, the effects are obvious; nearly fifteen pounds of bulging midsection is pretty difficult to miss. Yet I've never seen the person--and try as I might on October 30, I still haven't.

The next day I went to school wearing a shirt my sister found weeks ago, one I have been thrilled to sport since I overheard whispers across the lunch table one Sunday after church. "(undistinguishable conversation)...baby skeleton... (undistinguishable conversation)". When my sisters looked up to see me staring intently at their supposed-to-be-secret conversation, eyes wide with excitement, the beans were spilled. "I found you the perfect shirt for Halloween", it was confessed. And as soon as I saw it, I knew she was right: it was spectacular.

I spent the day gathering laughs and gawks from my students, and the occasional genuine, "Wait, you're pregnant?"--which surprised me to say the least. Yet despite the beauty of a shirt that portrays my altered skeletal structure, I felt the timeliness was also of note. I'd spent the previous afternoon enthralled with the skeletal person swimming around inside, less than a pound, less than a foot, making his or her presence known at regular intervals. I still rest in awe of this fantastic feat that my body is performing, creating this little moving person. And perhaps that's why my favorite picture of the whole sequence was the spine: this anatomical structure that is so intricate and precise, and bloomed out of nearly nothing--with absolutely no direction needed from me.

Next Halloween will probably find me nostalgic for the perfect shirt, that had followed perhaps the most interesting doctor's appointment of my entire life.

The whole thing is quite miraculous.

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