Went to the Obi-Gyn Kenobi’s office yesterday to learn which particular brand of bait-and-tackle our upcoming child would possess. Boy parts? Girl unit? Some squirming squid-like mish-mash, some Cthulhu’s beard of uncertainty lined with stinging nematocysts?
Of course, to discern this secret truth it was necessary to get busy with the ultrasound wand. If you’re one of those people with kids older than… shit, I dunno, 10?… then I guess they can see a lot more these days with ultrasounds. You tell my mother about the ultrasound and basically it sounds like they had to rip her open and shove a submarine full of tiny doctors in there to report back on the health of my unformed heart.
Our first ultrasound showed an adorable poppet with cartoon cloud fists who persisted in punching invisible ghosts. Our second ultrasound revealed a child sucking its thumb — or, it did until you looked at the 3-D ultrasound, which actually revealed some kind of greasy unformed polecat curled around a boulder.
So, this ultrasound, we didn’t know what to expect.
Mostly, the kid looked like some kind of… specter? Wraith? At one point the tech lady pushed in with the ultrasound and the child’s face peeled away, illustrating some sort of… howling monkey skull, some wrothful rage-filled incubus. I honestly wish she had snapped that shot as one of our take-home Polaroid print-0uts so I could show it to our spawn years later.
“You’re 13 now,” I’ll say. “It’s time to show you the truth. See this picture? That’s you in there. In your mother’s womb. No, no, I know. You’re right. That is so not the picture of a human being. That’s an image of an undead baboon, its flesh flensed away by the keening winds of the underworld, scoured free of the bones by sand born of the Devil’s dandruff. You’re not our child. You’re some kind of hell-imp. Which explains your nascent teenage behavior. P.S., stop stealing Daddy’s liquor.”
It was truly horrifying. Then she pulled back and sure enough, there’s the kid again, sucking its thumb in the womb. Did you know they did that? Suck their thumb in the womb? I didn’t know that either. They can do all kinds of shit in there. They suck their thumbs, they cry, they do robot dances, they put up shelves. They’re busy. No wonder they scream coming out. I wouldn’t want to leave my kickin’ pad either.
She continued noodling around in there like some kind of ultrasound ninja, doing all these clicky-clickies and boop-boops. She showed us some crazy stuff — like, the four chambers of the heart, lub-dubbing away. Then we got to hear the heartbeat, which really just sounds like some news guy broadcasting from inside a hurricane while construction work goes on in the background. I was pretty sure I heard some construction worker catcall in the background. He used the word “gams.” Do people say “gams” anymore? They really should. Maybe there’s a time traveler inside our baby? Yeah. That’d be cool.
Sometimes the ultrasound tech lady would get so close to the baby it was like a Magic Eye painting. I’d sit there wondering, “Is that a dolphin? Mating with a tugboat? Is that Lady Gaga?”
One point she zoomed in good and close and I was like, “Oh, hey, there’s the child’s little face!”
And then she was like, “These are the kidneys.”
“Are the kidneys part of the face?”
“Are you sure?”
Whatever, lady. You’re just a glorified joystick monkey.
At another point she asked, “When’s the due date?” And we told her, June 1st. I had no idea that I’d come home and find out that June 1st now meant our child was going to belong to the 17th Zodiac sign of Herpecin the Syphilitic Brine-Carrier. I mean, what the hell, people? I go to the hospital for a couple hours and I return back to find you’ve totally dicked up the Zodiac. Ophioucus? Ophicus? Ophiucus? Ohfuckus? Odie, from Garfield? C’mon, somebody’s just making that up. They’re just fucking with us. The astrologers figure we’ve had it too good for too long and now they’re just flicking nuggets of bullshit into our eyes. I’m onto you, astrologers. Your shit’s already not real, you can’t make it less real. What, are we going to add new Chinese Zodiac, too? “This is the Year of the Sugar Glider. Next year will be the Year of the Two-Cocked Coelacanth!” Are my Tarot cards broken now? Why does my divining rod only divine Diet Doctor Pepper? Someone went and broke all the mystic hoodoo!
Hrm. I feel like I’ve gotten on a tangent.
What I’m saying is, I gave the poor ultrasound tech lady a hard time, but she was actually quite nice. Right from the get-go she asked, “Do you want to know the gender?”
And we said, “Yes, yes we would.” We never bought into that, “But then it won’t be a surprise!” business. Really? Because it’s a surprise whenever I learn it. Whether I learn it at 20 weeks or when the baby karate kicks his way out of my wife’s baby compartment, it’s still news I did not know before. And knowing it at 20 weeks means we don’t get a shit-ton of “gender neutral” baby stuff. And “gender neutral” pretty much means “brown” and “yellow,” which are (perhaps not coincidentally) colors that are going to be coming out of the child at regular intervals.
Upon confirming that yes, we’d like to know if our child is going to want a ninja sword or a pink pony for Christmas, she instantly zoomed in real close and said:
“This is the turtle shot.”
And then she drew a circle around, well, what looked frankly like a turtle.
“Here’s the shell,” she said, pointing. “And here’s the head poking out.”
Then, just in case we were brain-diseased, she typed onto the screen, “BOY!!!!”
Which is, of course, what we’re having.
I knew it all along. See, during the first ultrasound, what was playing over the Obi-Gyn radio? Don Henley. “Boys of Summer.” And the first stuffed animal we bought for the tyke was in Hawaii — drum roll please, a sea turtle. Which is apparently a metaphor for “baby penis.”
I’m excited. At first I wanted a little girl, but now, I’m onboard with the whole “boy” thing. Frankly, I’m just happy he’s healthy. And that’s he’s not some kind of angry goblin hermaphrodite.
Oh, my wife wanted to ask all you people:
Need baby books. But not crazy-person baby books, okay? But we need to catch up on some baby-reading. Anything you have, shoot it my way in the comments below.
Our baby thanks you. Gratitude, after all, is a trait of the 17th Zodiac sign of Herpecin the Brine-Carrier.