The ultrasound technician squirted a plop of gel onto Julianne’s belly and a black and white inverted rainbow appeared on the screen. I wondered if the twin fetuses could hear the hypersonic frequencies – their ears are so tiny, so their eardrums can probably pick up high pitches, right? The technician moved the transducer left and right over Julianne’s stomach, like a magazine photographer trying to catch the good side of a model in just the right light, and I caught flickers of something resembling humanity. “That’s one placenta,” she said, motioning to a quivering mass on the screen. Okay, I must not be looking exactly at a body, I thought. I wasn’t surprised at my confusion – my memories of high school biology class came bubbling back into my consciousness, those days of dissecting frogs and baby pigs, and not being able to tell a heart from a lung from a kidney. So many shameful hand raises, begging to be shown the difference between internal organs which looked for all the world like an undifferentiated mass of hamburger. I guess I thought this would be different, two crystal clear images of infants lighting up the sonogram screen. Instead, I stared for the better part of 45 minutes at what might as well have been television static. I knew there was intelligible life somewhere in the depths of this scan, but I felt just as clueless as I did when zooming my microscope back in the day – now too close, now too far away.
Then, suddenly, a head came into view. I know what that is! There must be a torso around here somewhere…hmmm…After making an exhaustive list of onscreen measurements on the twins’ undefined bodies, the technician began snapping pictures. A spine?! A foot – two feet! Curled up, just how I expected a baby to be. A penis! It’s a boy! He’s upside down, and looking backwards. And look, right next to him – we have a daughter, too! Heads nestled together, she’s inverted as well and peering forward toward me! Julianne and I break out into grins, rejoicing – brother and sister. Our family of four. We couldn’t be more excited!
These tiny people will actually fit in these clothes?! This is happening!
Just shy of 17 weeks