This afternoon was my followup ultrasound with the perinatologist. Jarom had been at a lawyer-ish thing for the first half of the day, so he was able to come with me to the appointment this time. We were supposed to meet with the same doctor as before, but apparently he and another doctor switched schedules today.
I wasn’t a big fan of the new guy. I think he was Dr. B. He didn’t do anything wrong, he just seemed like he lacked the appropriate solemnity for the occasion. He showed us that yes, the baby has a stomach and a bladder, but they’re both empty. He also pointed out the adrenal artery, which normally makes a hat shape over the kidney – but in this case was virtually flat. He said he was sorry that the prognosis is so definite; in an effort to comfort us, he said the baby isn’t suffering now and won’t suffer after birth, since Tiny Baby will slip into a coma-like state almost immediately. Somehow the idea of my baby being in a coma wasn’t comforting.
Dr. B recommended that we talk to the nurses in the NICU so that everyone is on the same page, in case the baby needs medication or whatever else. I did my best to say I didn’t have any interest in going to a newborn unit or talking to nurses who can’t do anything for me. If I have only minutes, maybe an hour at most, to spend with Tiny Baby alive, I don’t want any of it to be used for medical procedures that will add nothing to Tiny Baby’s life. There’s no treatment that will prolong the baby’s life, so I want all of that life to be with me and Jarom.
After I cried a lot, and the doctor was still asking us what we planned to do and giving recommendations, he asked if we’re having a boy or girl. I told him through tears that we didn’t know. “Would you like to know?” he asked. “I can tell you.”
At every other ultrasound – except the one last week, when I’d finally given up – I’ve asked the sonographer or doctor if they could try to see if the baby is a boy or a girl. They all tried, but because there’s no amniotic fluid, no room for the baby to move around, and no way to see between the baby’s crossed legs, no one could tell. It’s been hard for me not knowing, because things feel a lot more abstract when I can’t call the baby by name or make many definite plans. So I didn’t have a lot of hope that Dr. B would be able to give us a clear answer.
But he did. Tiny Baby is a boy.