Saturday, November 3, 2012

Goorak Lives!

So, if you've read my last couple of posts, you know I think I'm faking this whole pregnancy thing.  Well, on a good day, when I think I might actually be pregnant and all that ultrasound and pee stick stuff was real, I still like to worry that the baby has somehow died inside my tummy.  I mean, he's awfully quiet in there.  No kicks yet.  Nothing definitive, anyway.

I was worrying about that today, like I do, and texting a friend of mine.  I was lamenting that the floor I work on in the hospital has lost its doppler machine, and wondering if the progressive care unit I was sitting on that day might have one I could use to check and see if baby's heart was still beating.  She suggested that I go down to the OB department where they would probably do it for me.

Really?

Do they really do such things?  Would the nurses really be nice enough to just -- off the record -- check and see if my baby was still alive?  I mean, I had no other cause besides preexisting endogenous Crazy to think that the baby had died -- no bleeding or cramping or pain or fever or any such thing.  They'd be doing it as a favor.  It didn't even seem legal.

I went up to my home floor and asked a coworker -- one who had birthed two babies downstairs in the hospital OB department -- whether the nurses might do such a thing.

"I don't know," she said.  "Want me to call and ask?  I know 'em down there."
"Would you?" I gasped.  "I'd love that!"
"Sure," she said.

She called, and they said they would.  Well, to be exact, the nurse on the phone said they couldn't do it, but they could look away while I borrowed their doppler and went into the break room and did it myself.

Good enough for me.

So I went down to the hallway outside the childbirth center/OB unit.  Their door is locked to prevent infant theft (or to just limit traffic through such a sensitive area of the hospital).  I pressed the button on the intercom.

"How can I help you?" a voice asked.
"I, uh, need to borrow your doppler..." I said.
"Oh!  Come on in."  The voice chuckled.  "We heard about you."

Once inside, I was quickly taken under the wing of a very nice nurse -- a different one than the one my coworker had spoken to on the phone.
"So you want to hear your baby?" she said.  "How odd.  What a strange thing to request."  She winked.
"Yeah, uh, sometimes I just worry, you know?" I said.
"Sure," she said.  "Come with me.

She led me not to the break room nor to the restroom, but to an empty patient room.  She had me lie down on my back on the bed.  She spread a little goo on my belly.  As she searched for the heartbeat, she talked about baby kicks and demonstrated with a little tickle on my leg what the first kicks might feel like.

There were a few seconds there where I was worried she wouldn't find the heartbeat, and my fear was slightly consoled by the fact that in that event, at least I had had good cause to come to the OB department and get the baby's heart dopplered.  But I only had 10 seconds to pursue that line of worry/planning, and before I had had much time to think about it, a rapid, rhythmic swishing was emanating from the doppler's speaker.

"There it is!" she said.

I smiled, then closed my eyes for a moment, to let the beauty of that little heartbeat sink in.

Goorak's little heartbeat.

He was fine in there all along.  Just quiet.

I like to think about what, if any, Goorak's consciousness might be like right now.  I wonder if Goorak can feel emotion.  I like to think that Goorak is blissfully happy right now.  Filled with the
joy of existence.  He's so happy to exist.  He's never existed before at all and this is his first time.  I like to think he feels absolutely wonderful in my womb -- floating in soft, warm liquid, knowing no hunger nor thirst nor cold nor fear.  No real sensory stimulation whatsoever.  But maybe consciousness?

Pure existence. 

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