The room is darkened, the screen is off. I lay down and hold my breath, my heart fluttery and anxious. My Beloved sits beside me, making smalltalk with the tech as he readies his equipment. The goo, which is promised to be warm but never is, is slathered on my belly and the screen flickers to life.
To life. Life being the key word here. There is life within, floating and bobbing and wiggling and squirming. It is grey and white and black and more beautiful than I can say. I don’t bother to ask too many questions since I know the tech will not be permitted to give me anything but cursory answers, but he politely points out spine and ribs, heart and stomach, arms and legs and face.
Measurements are taken and compared. My eyes never leave the screen. The baby’s mouth is opening and shutting, and we can even see the tongue moving in nursing motions, practicing for that day still 20 long weeks away. The tech enjoys his job; he is jovial and interested in our reactions to his limited information, but he cannot know the depth of gratitude that I am feeling for every second that the screen shows this little bit of humanity waving at me.
The room is the same from many months previous. The screen is the same, the womb is the same. But this time there is not silence and stillness and sorrow. This time there is joy. I’m sure the tech has delivered sorrowful news before. He may have even been on the receiving end of such news himself, once upon a time. But we do not discuss such things. He has good news today for us; a heart beating strongly, growth appropriate to the dates, and organs all present and accounted for.
Loss affects everyone differently, and no one can compare their own to another. But in one way it is always the same…it always changes you. It changes everything. Close by in my crowded heart are friends whose own losses outweigh my own. And I am keenly aware that it may even still be in my future. Loss never leaves; once you experience it, it becomes a part of you.