At Just the Right Time
I didn’t know the ultrasound tech wanted to do “a look around” before zeroing in on the baby. The last time we were in that room it was because the OB couldn’t hear the heartbeat on the handheld monitor at our regular 15 or 16 week appointment for our third pregnancy. He said he wasn’t worried, and that we’d go for the ultrasound once he got the room ready. We went there. Stared at the screen. It was a still image. There should have been movement.
That was last February. Miscarriage number two out of three pregnancies. Number three came in May. That one not as far along, maybe four or five weeks. Last summer we began to take the first couple steps toward foster care and adoption. If we didn’t get pregnant again before the beginning of the new year, that’s the route we would pursue.
A month or two before 2011 was to expire we learned about Baby 5. And it wasn’t too long before we were back at the OB’s office and back in that ultrasound room. I’m leaning forward in my chair. Trying to appear calm, just like the OB had tried eight or nine months before. I’m trying not to appear fixated on the screen, even though I am. Straining my eyes to see movement. Any movement. I don’t know that I’ll be able to identify much on an ultrasound screen, but movement should at least be recognizable.
The ultrasound tech identifies the right ovary. I take her word for it. A bit later, the left ovary. Good. Good to know. Thank you for that. There’s the right ovary again, and by this time my heart is starting to beat harder. I am starting to feel like a kid staring through his dark room at the closet in the corner, terrified of what might be coming, trying to make out a form in all the murky shapes. The tech keeps pausing, typing numbers, machine beeping, images being recorded.
I start making plans. When will I stand up next to Steph and hold her hand? I’ll need to move this chair out of the way. I’ll put it over there near the desk. After the appointment, I’ll call Mark to tell him I can’t make it to the Board meeting tonight. I’ll have to call Suzanne to coordinate when we’ll pick up Eden. Maybe Eden should stay with her cousin for the day. I’ll need to call Laura to…
“Now let’s look at the baby,” the tech says.
Holy-what-the-who-the-do-you-think-you-are? I’m at DEFCON 2 while you’re taking the ultrasound machine for a joy ride?
And then… movement. A heart beat. Life.
Stand down, men.
Then I burst into tears. Well, I did my version of bursting into tears. About an hour later, after happy banter with the meandering ultrasound tech, after setting the due date at early July 2012, after Stephanie’s “Didn’t you hear her say she was going to do a look around first?” (No! I most certainly did not hear that! Why would she do that?), after a trip to Dairy Queen, and after getting most of the way to where we were to pick up Eden, my face slowly contorted and squeezed tears out of my eyes like one might squeeze water out of a sponge.
That was in Advent, and I think it was the next week that Paul preached on the patience of God in delaying the return of Christ so that all might be saved. There’s a right time for things, and it can’t be rushed along. How I have sought so often to intervene in God’s timing. He could save right now if he really wanted to. He just doesn’t want to. Maybe it’s not that important to him. All those spiteful ways of trying to coerce God into acting immediately. But now…
Grant us this child, but not yet. Let your grace go full term.
With our first pregnancy, we waited until after the first trimester was over because that was safe. Then came the miscarriage a couple weeks later. With Eden, we waited until after the point at which we had the first miscarriage. Likewise with the third pregnancy, since that seemed to work with Eden. But not that time. The fourth pregnancy ended the day after learning that there was a fourth pregnancy.
Now in the fifth pregnancy, I finally realize there is no day that grants peace. There is no day that is safe, that guarantees only life from that point on. Our hope is not in the day. The false security stripped away, there is less to cling to, but also more.