I had been very worried in the weeks approaching the first scan (the first twelve weeks I will come back to later, as it was driving me mad not to be able to write about it then, I just thought I should post some pictures in case anyone hasnt picked up on the news yet). Very, very worried indeed. Nothing in particular had given me reason to be – I was just convinced that something had gone silently wrong and, as can happen, the 12-week scan was going to be the point at which I found out.
I was crying as soon as I lay down on the scanning table thing. Before, possibly. I cant even remember. I was just crying. From rootless anxiety, nothing else. Still, its a kind of anxiety that no one in the world can persuade you is completely rootless. But more of that another post. And honestly: dont go comforting me – it was seven weeks ago. Im not worried about it now.
Then the ultrasound technician put her magic whoojamaflip on my stomach, and said Your baby is just fine. And then I cried a whole lot more, but in a happy way. Me crying at three different things in ten minutes was not unusual at this point in time, however. Not remotely. A day later, and I was crying as hard about the DVD player not working.
She swung the monitor round so we could see. And we saw. A small shape, kicking, and flipping and turning this way and that. I had always been under the impression that a foetus, at this point, just lay there and grew. And, when necessary, would lie still and happily pose for photos. The thing hanging out in my uterus had other ideas. It had no inclination to stay still at all. Least of all for pictures.
Regardless, at the end of the session (once it had been established that not only did the flipping thing inside me had two arms, two legs, and, luckily, a head, but that there was only one of them in there. Which was good, because, frankly, one is enough for now) they presented us with some photos. And then told us to give them a fiver for them, because, yknow, theyve already proved its alive and well, if we want to get all sentimental about it later on, thats not their department.
We did. Want to get all sentimental about it later on. About this, picture number one, in which you see my little parasite looking for all the world like a potato. Doesnt JUST look like a potato to me, of course. Sit here and look at it with me, and I will point out the spinal chord, the dark fluttering heart, the legs, the arms, the fingers. On the potato.
I cannot deny that it looks like a potato to most everyone else. These pictures have always looked like potatoes to me, when other people have showed them to me. Like monochromatic blobs, dark shapes hovering over lighter shapes – the only sense being the sense that youre told is there, rather than that you can see yourself.
I now realise that the pictures people were showing me were not the ones as I was looking at. When they showed them, they saw the little flipping live thing that theyd seen for the first time at that scan. They had been seeing what I now see when I look at these 12-week scan pictures. The not-a-potato potato.
Or, in the case of the third picture in the strip, when the little show-off turned to face the front, and stared straight down the ultrasound monitor at us, something else entirely.
It was a disarming moment.
Mainly because (tip your head to the left) it looks like an alien.
An ACTUAL, Area 51-style grey alien. With the long head, the huge eyes, the tiny body, the well, its just an alien. A little, helpless, demanding, stomach-dwelling, potato-alien. My potato-alien. Ours.
If there is one thing I am proud of, apart from the two legs, two arms, one head thing (well done, little parasite, well done), it is that this child of My Beloved and I is showing strong early promise in the comedy photo department. Good old genetics.