The Lovely Becky and I had a big test in our planned parenthood today: a 4D ultrasound of TBD. This was the test that could reveal a lot of Very Scary Things, and because of our history with procreation, we were proactively scared ourselves.
Our local hospital/trading post lacks 4D ultrasound capabilities (most of the moose and beaver do not have the required health insurance for it), so we had to travel out of state for the procedure. Our doctor was a white-haired, mustached German man who looked a bit like Blue from Old School. He talked with us about the procedure, and let us know that if TBD checked out okay today, TBD would likely check out of Hotel Womb okay this coming June.
Dr. Blue fired up the machine and showed us the pictures of TBD. Until now, most of the ultrasound images of TBD have looked like a cross between a Rorschach test and some variation of Cthulhu. In fact, just based on the previous images, if my child turned out to be an elder god with an octopus head who planned to destroy all humanity, I wouldn't have been surprised. Today, however, my child looked like a child. I could make out all kinds of features and see that TBD did not have an octopus head. That was a relief.
Rather than just do the pedestrian task of telling two overly nervous expectant parents that their child was fine, Dr. Blue decided to quiz us on developmental biology. "What is this black spot here?" he asked.
My inner monologue began to scream, OMG, IS IT CANCER?!! HOW CAN A FETUS HAVE CANCER?!!! TBD HASN'T EVEN STARTED SMOKING YET!!!
"The stomach?" TLB answered.
"Good. And we can see that the stomach is just fine," Dr. Blue replied before I could ask if it was stomach cancer.
The Q&A continued during the whole ultrasound. To be fair, Dr. Blue didn't know that my brief career as a pre-med student had lasted until my first chemistry midterm freshman year of college, when I got a grade low enough that I would be unable to go to a medical school in North America. He did not know that, while I provide a detailed summary of the major movie roles of Arnold Schwarzenegger, I could not tell him the basic purpose of each valve of the heart other than "to pump blood." He would let me hang myself with wrong answers until a) TLB gave the correct answer or b) we both demonstrated that we were products of the American educational system and just wanted to know if our child would have a promising career in sideshow entertainment.
All of his answers added up to healthy baby. No cancer, no deformities, no talons or leathery bat wings. TBD passed the test with flying colors.
Of course, this was a 4D ultrasound, which is supposed to provide 3D pictures of the baby. "This process can produce some spectacular images," Dr. Blue said, "if the baby cooperates." Which TBD refused to do. Every time Dr. Blue tried to capture a 3D image, our child would move or otherwise thwart him. The doctor managed to snap four blurry photos which looked could have been our baby's face or the image of Elvis. We faced teenage rebellion before TBD's first birthday.
"I know we're going to get ours on the back end," I said to TLB. "Everything will be fine, and then we'll hit teenage years and deal with drinking and sneaking out of the house."
"Or worse," TLB said, "our child will be a Republican."
Maybe the octopus head wouldn't be so bad after all.