“No, no. That’s fine.” The waiting room is littered with dads-to-be, the jackets of their expectant partners sit empty in the chairs beside them. An older couple sits across from me holding hands. They look up at me as a white-haired woman shuffles towards the ultrasound technician who has just called her name. I smile. I have no dad-to-be, folks. Just my “next-of-kin-dad,” but he’s not here either. My cartoon-faced liver is my only companion.
“Take a breath in… ” I suck in, trying to draw my skin away from the cold gel slathering across my belly. “… And hold it.” I can hear the ultrasound tech’s fingernails click against two buttons interchangedly, a beep and then a click, two more beeps, one more click. The flourescent lights from the hallway seep through the top mesh of the pastel curtain drawn across the room. My organs pose for their close up. In another lifetime, perhaps I would have been perfectly healthy, with my dad-to-be clutching my hand excitedly as we peered at the blobs on the screen, ooing and aahing and convincing ourselves we could see it’s feet. Instead, I am alone. If you ask the older couple in the waiting room what I am thinking, I am sure they would say that I am hoping and praying that Lupus will allow life in my belly one day, but instead I’m wondering if I will allow it. I don’t know if I would even try if I didn’t think I was healthy enough to give my child the energy and attention he or she deserves.
I feel the curve of the transducer press into my side. “Breathe.” I let go.
I let it go.
These things will be decided, but not today. I have to learn how to preserve and live my own life before I can even start thinking about taking care of another. And even if I were healthy, I would not want to be pregnant right now anyway. Everything is as it should be. And besides all that, I know that becoming a mother doesn’t necessarily involve having anything in your belly at all.
That was on Tuesday. I won’t get results back from the ultrasound for at least a week or so. I’m not worried. I think my cartoon liver is one tough cookie. I started the Big M the evening of my ultrasound after an entire week of “almost taking it.” Four tiny, yellow pills finally slipped down my throat. I climbed into bed, lying perfectly still into the early hours of the morning, listening for my body to sound the alarm. Thus far, all seems to be well.
And now, we wait… and enjoy the silence.