Last Wednesday afternoon, Matt and I got to see the bean for the first time since our 18-week ultrasound. Same drill as before: we spend a few minutes in overwhelming waiting area, get progressively more nervous while waiting and staring at other mothers-to-be, we walk into the dark ultrasound room and make stupid small talk with the ultrasound tech while I climb up onto table and pull down the elastic "waist" of my maternity pants. I forget that the ultrasound tech is going to squirt jelly on my tummy and I gasp when she does, and then I turn towards the screen because there! right there! is that perfect little heartbeat.
And then I smile and cry a little and relax, finally, because the tech is saying things like, "there are the four chambers of the heart," and "there are the kidneys," and "look at those cute feet."
All of a sudden, time slows down and it's just me and Matt and our bean, suspended in that dark cocoon of a room, like we're all swimming around on that black screen while someone waves a magic wand over us so that we're projected on some other, different screen, and larger than life.
The bean looks and feels like a real little person now. It moves around during the day, making my belly and abdomen twitch. If you were watching me at all times, you would occasionally see me frown as the bean pressed on my bladder or stuck its little fist up and under my ribs, like it's trying to do right now.
We had a chance to find out if we were having a boy bean or a girl bean and debated the option right up until the very moment when the radiologist matter-of-factly asked us if we wanted to know the gender. It is an important detail that the radiologist was matter-of-fact; radiologists seem to never think about the patient attached to the magic wand, and speak only in abrupt, short sentences. "Let's wait," I said at the very last moment, and as the radiologist casually tossed some construction-paper-masquerading-as-tissues in my direction and walked out of the room, Matt smiled at me and said, "fine by me."
So we don't know whether it's a boy bean or a girl bean, only that it's definitely a bean. With a heartbeat, and a spine, and a bladder, and more or less Matt's nose.
I can't believe that there are only 9 weeks left in this pregnancy. It's 9 very important weeks, I know, but the fact that I'm almost 31 weeks pregnant means that I'm 3/4 of the way through the whole thing. Even though I know that time will slow down in these next 9 weeks, much like it sped up during the past 9, there is a part of me that just can't even wrap my head around this final home stretch and is eager for it to slow down. I know I will rue the day that I wrote this, probably sometime around March 16th, when I will read this post and think, "dummy, you tempted karma and basically asked for this to happen!" But right now, I want to freeze the moment, like a picture I could print out from the ultrasound machine, and carry it around with me.
I am 31 weeks pregnant. I am okay. Matt is okay. The bean is head down and ready to go, organs formed, Matt-like nose ready, arms waving and moving so much that it's almost impossible to snap its photograph.
It seems like forever ago that I first found out that I was pregnant. But it was 31 weeks, just over 6 months ago, and yet almost an entire lifetime. And then in 9 (probably 10) weeks from now, the bean will be more than ready, it will be HERE. I cannot put into words how amazing this feels for me, how far it feels like I've come. So I will say this instead: my arms get tingly when I think about holding it, my chest feels tight when I think about kissing its little head, and I am excited and nervous and scared and thrilled that life is actually about to become larger than life.
*The title of this post refers to something our hostess said when she seated us at a table last night. As I was taking off my coat to sit down, she said, "I thought you were smuggling something under there! Congratulations!" And it made me laugh out loud. Smuggling, indeed.