Yesterday I scheduled our second (and final) fetal echocardiogram prior to Ewan's birth. We knew we needed at least one more at about 36 weeks, and until yesterday, that appointment had yet to be scheduled.
It felt so weird on so many levels scheduling that appointment. I felt excited. I felt tense and nervous. I felt as I talked to the receptionist like I was holding my breath, letting it out in a deep sigh when I got off the phone with her.
It's so close to my due date.
He (and I) will be so big!
The doctor may see more wrong than he saw before.
There may be improvements.
There might not be improvements.
Might things be worse?
Might things be worse?
There may be a miracle.
There might not be a miracle.
As long as he's inside me and as long as my pregnancy is progressing with relative ease as so many do -- without any real hiccups or drama (aside from the obvious heart defect, which is enough) -- it's easy to imagine anything: that everything is and will be alright, that we will sail through this. This is not to say that the reality of the diagnosis has become any less potent for me, and it's not to say that I'm blindly holding on to the belief that somehow, the doctor was misguided in his diagnosis.
It's just that as long as Ewan is in me, growing and thriving, things are good. He's safe in there. He's not in any distress.
But that fetal echo has one specific purpose: it will give the cardiologists at Children's Hospital the best possible pre-birth view of what they can expect to encounter once Ewan is born. And so this fetal echo means facing it: the day Ewan no longer occupies my body, the day I can no longer shield and protect him in the way I do now. The day my heart will break a little bit more, and a little bit more again. The first day of many where I will hold my breath and wait.
This appointment means facing the inevitability of that physical separation, facing the thought of letting him go, of trusting those who are best equipped to care for his unique needs.
I'm torn between the anticipation of meeting our feisty little punkerbelly, and just wanting to keep him in there forever. I don't think I will ever feel ready for that moment: the one where it suddenly feels like my heart is outside my body.
photo taken by james // processing by me