In the evening, I sat with my family for our Passover Seder. My wine glass was filled with blackcurrant juice, carefully selected to match the red wine that filled the other glasses. In the kitchen I had mumbled a carefully rehearsed excuse about antibiotics, conveniently echoed by an old friend who was also there. The Seder began:
“Let us be thankful, as we light these candles, for this moment of peace.”
My Good Friday had begun with a visit to Clinic One. In the waiting room, Sea texted The Doctor, asking her to pray. I faced the large fishtank and Mecca, closed my eyes, and drank some Holy Water. A minute later we were called in by Diana for the ultrasound.
“Let us be grateful for children and for the work of the week that is our fruitfulness.”
As I took my pants off, Diana answered the phone in the corner of the room. “I’ll be right there,” she said, “this will only take a minute”. A minute? She prepared the ultrasound wand in record speed and told me to lie down. I reached out and squeezed Sea’s hand quickly.
Diana hit buttons on the ultrasound machine: the quiet beeping was the only sound in the room. The screen was facing away from me, and I asked if I could see what she was doing. “In a minute.”, she replied and Sea explained that she was still measuring. “Does everything look okay?”, I asked, “Is it bigger?” Sea replied that the embryo looked the same to her, but Diana reassured me that the embryo was, in fact, bigger and that everything looked good.
“We have arrived at a time of year when everything is growing and opening.”
Finally, the technical work done, Diana turned the screen to face us. Bingo was bigger, though still not discernibly human-shaped. At the last ultrasound the heartbeat had been large and obvious on the tiny Bingo. Today, it flickered in the centre of a much larger frame. Wanting confirmation, I asked where the heartbeat was. “There”, Diana responded, moving the ultrasound wand slightly and pointing to that flickering. The heartbeat is now 152 beats a minute. Strong.
In a hurry, Diana finished the ultrasound quickly. As she handed us the new photo, she commented, “Your baby is cute!” A milestone! The first time somebody has lied to us about how cute our child is: at 7 weeks and 5 days gestation.
“Let us experience the people and events of our lives as if they were new to us.”
Dr. Text was at Clinic One, and in a better mood than at our last visit. He asked about how I was feeling, and I told him that I was fine. I explained that I had only had a bit of nausea, and that I hadn’t been vomitting at all. “I can write you a prescription for the nausea.”, he responded. “Uh, no, I’m fine.” Other than that the visit was brief. He increased the dosage of my thyroid medication, and we joked about selling Bingo on eBay. Then we were sent on our way, told to return for another ultrasound in two weeks. In the world of fertility clinics, two weeks somehow seems like a very long time to go without medical intervention.
“Let us drink a special toast to our children: may your lives be rich and satisfying. May you work to build, with people everywhere, a world of peace.”
In the evening, I sat with my family for our Passover Seder. They laughed about how there were no children present to ask the four questions or to find the broken Matzoh– that the “children” were now all in their 20s and 30s and that we would have to wait for the next generation. I smiled and drank the last of my blackcurrant juice during the final toast,
“L’Chaim– to life”.
Total Ultrasound Count: 30