Monday, April 5, 2010

On hearing our baby's heartbeat

I wanted to capture its rich dimension, so as the man was smearing KY Jelly on my wife's mid-section, I started booting up my Olympus LS-10. The low battery screen started flashing at me right away. It wasn't going to happen. Luckily, I had my iPhone. Fired it up. Voice Memo stepped in and did its weak-kneed bidding.

So, what I captured isn't as crystalline and dynamic as I would have liked. But it's something. And by something I mean proof that the tangle of genes, atoms, and obscure shapes has a heart that makes technoish sounds, that it's alive, that everything is ok. Or better than. As you can hear the doctor say, "Nice and strong."

Before we went in, we heard that this sound can be life changing. Honestly, it was pretty cool, but didn't quite stir us in ways people'd threatened us that it would. Our eyes didn't leak. It was almost like, Oh, there's a beat. It's steady and rapid as gunfire, but almost phony.

Maybe it's the fault of the machine that delivered the sound. It pinched it. Stripped away too much organicness.

To me, the last ultrasound was way more holy shit-inspiring. Sure, there was surreal and limiting trappings of the screen. There was a dearth of real dimension. There was no real way to prove what we were seeing weren't just the ghosts of electronic pulses.

There was nothing to touch.

But still, when you physically see that caterpillarlike spine, the speck of heart flexing and releasing, well, everything in you gasps.

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