Friday, October 19, 2012

Prefect Children Pt. 1

This may come as a shock to some but I’m a Christian. I know, mind blowing isn’t it? I can still be in shows like HAIR and work on a horror film folks. Still the same me, just with a little faith in something greater than myself.  I am a liberal leaning Christian and my husband tends towards a more conservative Christian. So sometimes we don’t always agree on the fundamentals. We’ve had those fabulously heated arguments about the basics but because we love one another and can’t imagine a world where the other isn’t part of it, we always come to terms with our disagreement and try to see it from both sides, with mostly success.
Then along comes baby. And everything you thought you believed with every fiber of your soul is challenged. For starters, there’s a lot of things you don’t know and a lot of answers you’re expected to give without ever having known there was a question to begin with. It can be as confusing as it is overwhelming.
I feel a bit like they were making up for the first 3 months I was on set of my husbands first feature and there were all kinds of tests. Blood tests, urine tests, ultrasounds, more blood tests and on occasion a written exam… I’m kidding. Or am I?
These are a monthly part of the ritual now. Once a month you check in to make sure mama and baby are developing on target, because despite our differences there are some consistencies about every pregnancy that must be met. So October 17th I went back in for my monthly check up (I swear I’ve spent more time at the doctor in 4 months than in 6
years) preceded by a 21 point ultrasound, whatever that means.
It was the first time I really felt pregnant. This wasn’t just a little floating blob that may or may not be a fetus, but a living breathing (metaphorically) being inside of me. While the movement I felt left me feeling more gassy than anything at 18 weeks, I could really see baby for the first time. How baby loved to fully stretch out their legs from one side to the other.
Baby was sassy as could be, mouthing at us and not letting us get a clear shot of their face but distinctive poses to see a very healthy spine, legs, arms, fingers and toes. Not to mention a very strong heart.
We had already decided we wanted to know the sex of the baby, but we also wanted to make that a special moment at a reveal party, my mother-in-law’s suggestion that I loved.
So they put the information in a pretty little envelope, sealed, and then went to get the doctor.
Now this isn’t our normal doctor, it’s the doctor assigned to the unit for radiology and ultrasounds. Never met him before, he’ll never see us again. He doesn’t do more than introduce himself blithely and dive right in.
“Well your baby is healthy, but looks like they will have a bilateral cleft lip.”
Do you know what it’s like when blood freezes? It’s painful. You can’t breathe. Your whole body aches and ever muscle in your body tenses as if you’re lifting Atlas’ burden.
“Excuse me, what do you mean?” The doctor proceeds to explain that there is bulbous tissue around her mouth that is typically indicative of a cleft lip and or pallet. That it’s too early to know anything for sure but that the amount of tissue around her lips makes him suspect a bilateral cleft lip.
He asks a few personal questions about health habits of me. Do you smoke? No. Do you drink? Not since I found out. Is there a history of cleft or other birth defects in your family? No.
Well, then it’s just bad luck.
“Excuse me? Bad luck? My baby is not bad luck, you egotistical asshole! My baby is a blessing. You are the only bad luck that’s entered my life and your bedside manner is shit!” Never mind that this was inside my head and not what I voiced. I was trying too hard not to cry. I looked at my husband and he was in exactly the same place I was- ready to strangle the doctor, fighting tears.
We took our pretty little envelope with our card that revealed if baby was a boy or girl with us and somberly got back in the car. We hardly spoke.
Clefts, we had been told, were incredibly treatable and incredibly common. They are much more common among boys. That 1 in 700 children born will have it. But neither of us knew enough about them to have the slightest idea about what to do next.
So here we are, at a dark place. And the challenges to our faith and trust in God and each other were just barely about to begin.
To be Continued....

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