Thursday, April 06, 2006

Nora Jones and the beautiful spine

Thursday, April 6:

Back to the genetic counselor’s office. This time, I go by myself. Mainly because I’m not sure what this appointment is for.

All I can think about is today is the JC Penney chocolate sale preview -- you know, where you go in and get a free chocolate bar whose wrapper gives you 30, 35 or 40% off -- and that’s where I’m headed after the appointment. But I’m not so shallow as to be forgetting about my baby. Nope, I plan on buying a few small items I didn’t know the small one needed before reading some of these dern library books. I also need some bigger shorts because my current ones are squishing me.

The office wait is hardly nothing this time, and I’m instantly in an exam room, pulling my pants down low for the ultrasound glop.

“Before we get started, do you want to know the sex?” the ultrasound tech asks.

I smile. “I’m supposed to say no. My husband and I made a pact. So I guess I should stick with it. We’ll let it be a surprise.”

(We didn’t really make a pact. But we have over-discussed it.)

The ultrasound takes longer this time because the technician is pointing and clicking on her screen to take measurements of everything: the head, the arms, the legs, the spine.

“That’s a beautiful spine,” she says spontaneously.

Note to baby: when you are old enough to appreciate this statement, I will tell you about your beautiful spine. If nothing else, you have that.

“What are all the measurements for?” I ask.

“That will tell us the weight,” she says.

Which turns out to be 10 ounces. Perfect for its age, she says.

That’s not even a can of soda.

When did I start caring about minutiae like this?!

Then I wait again, this time to see the doctor. The wait is longer than the first wait. Instead of seeing the genetic counselor, though, I see the physician assistant, a quiet, tall man -- the same young guy who pricked my finger last time I came in.

He is kind and is going over the results of the first test, which I already know about. The baby’s chances of having Down’s syndrome or one of the trisomy problems are way low. He tries selling me on amniocentesis anyway, telling me it’s the only test to take to be sure about these results and also other chromosomal problems not included in the first test. Because of my “advanced age.”

I’m pretty sure I don’t want to do it. I know there is a risk of losing what could very well be a healthy child just in the amnio procedure. My husband also doesn’t see the point because the idea behind the test is that if something’s wrong, you can end the pregnancy as long as you do it before the time is up allowable by the state. And we just don’t want to make a decision like that.

I have to go back in a couple weeks because the baby wasn’t cooperating (ah, my little rebel), and the ultrasound technician didn’t get a good look at the face. Apparently, if you see a cleft lip, that can indicate chromosomal abnormalities. So there’s another copay. But I guess it would be pretty cool to have a good picture of the kid’s face. Which my husband would keep all to himself, the baby ultrasound picture hoarder!

While I’m standing at the appointment desk, the physician assistant (PA) says to me, “You look a little like Nora Jones.”

I smile because people are always telling me I look like someone they know, and I haven’t heard this comparison before. ("You look like my cousin Odalis from South America," "You look like my best friend Felicity from elementary school," "You look like that Victoria person on my soap opera," "You look like Helena Bonham-Carter in A Room with a View," "You look like Charlotte on Sex and the City," etc.)

“I like Nora Jones,” I say.

“Do you sound like her?”

I decide his question isn’t too creepy and he’s just making conversation. “I like to sing her songs.”

Maybe for my next appointment, I’ll work on my rendition of “Sunrise,” “Come Away with Me” or “What Am I to You?”

I head evilly to Starbucks for a treat, but then I notice a Jamba Juice a couple doors down and go there instead for something healthier. Then I hit the mall, get my chocolate bar and use my sale wrapper to find the kid some cute neutral (praise the Lord!) stuff (finally!) in the newborn section full of Carter’s (shegotityeahbabyshegotit!).

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