Monday, January 09, 2006

Has anybody seen the baby?

Esther and I went to the doctor's office today for another checkup, nearly a week after the original due date (Jan. 3). The clinic employees consoled Esther. "I was hoping I wouldn't have to see you here." Esther had a rough night's sleep last night. She said the baby was very active and she had many contractions, though at irregular intervals.

Esther is still only dilated 1 cm. If she does not give birth by the 17th, a week from tomorrow, they may induce labor. They did an ultrasound. The only features I could distinguish are the heart, skull and spine. The rest looked like a milky nebulae, a cloudy stew of life. Its body is so cramped in the womb that I could not see its arms or legs, and its sex organs are covered up, so we couldn't figure out the gender if we wanted to.

A nurse took us to another room and strapped what looked like two plastic disks across Esther's bulging belly. The sound of the baby's heartbeat cadenced forth against a background of ocean surf, a lulling, gurgling white noise. Esther had a clicker in her hand to push when she felt the baby's movement. This lets the doctors know the health of the baby. A lower heart rate could indicate a health problem. But the baby wouldn't cooperate. It must have been napping. I tried to cajole him/her to movement by playing various ring tones from my cell phone against Esther's belly. Esther didn't like that though because the vibration made her want to pee. So I read aloud instead from a baby book, of course, and within a couple minutes the baby moved and kicked its sure to be powerful legs.

The days after Christmas, when it seemed imminent Esther was going to give birth, I was anxious and nervous about the whole experience. Now I'm bored and impatient. I am stuck here in DeKalb until that baby's born. I also have to keep my cell phone on me at all times (which I normally never do) and every call from Esther is full of anticipation.

I work 32 hours this week at Jewel, my first full week on the job. My hours are from midnight to 8 a.m. Yeowtch! And on Thursday I'm lined up for a substitute teaching job. Between classes, fatherhood and work, I don't see much sleep in my future.

No matter what, in 8 days or less I'm gonna be a daddy. I can't wait to hold you, little one, and get to know who you are.

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