Because we’re down to only one car for the time being, I drove Sarah to her midwife visit on Wednesday. I didn’t think it would be anything special this time; she’s only at twelve weeks, and there had been no mention of it. She gave me that wife stare when I said I would wait in the waiting room, so into the examination room I went.
The midwife entered the room a few minutes later carrying a tricorder. I mean, I’m sure it wasn’t actually a tricorder, but it had a little sensor attached to a box.
“Let’s hear that baby’s heart beat,” she said. Sarah and I exchanged glances of surprise.
“Okay,” we said.
The midwife lifted Sarah’s shirt and smeared on some gel. Then she began to search my wife’s stomach, probing. The box squawked and squealed; each noise it made was like being jolted with electricity. She hmmed and ahhmmed. A few minutes went by with nothing that sounded like a heart beat.
“I hope it’s in there,” I said.
“Sometimes its hard if the uterus is slanted, and the baby isn’t very big,” the midwife said.
And then the sound.
Have you ever heard a hummingbird’s wings against a windowscreen? Or perhaps a moth? At first, it sounded like that. Then the sound grew stronger. dubdubdubdubdubdub. It was a tiny, fragile sound, but also strong, persistent.
“It sounds healthy,” the midwife said. And then the sound went away. But this feeling remained that even now, I’m struggling to describe.
Has someone ever praised you for something, and I mean truly, truly praised you for something, spoken with passion about the greatness within you? No–me neither, really, but have you ever felt a mixture of pride and embarrassment at a compliment? My face felt hot. My heart struggled to keep time with my child’s. And I felt the greatest mixture of awe and pride I have ever felt. Deep, abiding, profound pride. For a moment, I was absolutely consumed by a single emotion. The world fell away and it was Sarah, the emotion, and the sound.
It was one of the purest moments of my life. For that moment, I lived only in that place, without a thought for anything outside those beige walls.
I cried a little, yes, but more out of shock than anything else. It has been so long since I have felt anything that new. That foreign, that plain bloody strange.
The sensation faded a little, but I couldn’t shake this grin that must have been plastered on my face.
Prior to the sound, the baby was hypothetical, really; the only real change in my life thus far has been living with a slightly achy, nauseated Sarah whose boobs have become 25% more magnificent. It simply didn’t feel truly real until that moment.
I’m doing a piss poor job of explaining it, I know. But I had to record this here. I know I have more moments like this, but this one was my first, and I want to remember it for as long as I can. I hope I’ve given those who don’t have children some taste of the sensations, and perhaps reminded those who do what that moment was like for them.
I say I want to remember it, but there’s just no way in hell I can ever forget it.