i dunno if joel was just extra photogenic, more so than most fetuses, or if the ultrasound technician was on some type of upper, but the day of joel’s last ultrasound, this lady printed out nearly an entire photo album of pictures of joel. a lot of them are the usual unidentifiable black and white blobs that have things like “foot” or “profile” printed on them, but a few came out really good. like almost creepy good.
like this picture i have of his little hand, pressed up against the wall of my uterus at one point, i guess. it looks like a perfect high five, every finger is in focus. i have it hanging on my fridge and i, of course, look at it all the time. it’s at eye level. it’s the first thing i see in the morning, it is there throughout the day as i go in and out of the fridge for ruth, getting cheese sticks hummus and the like, and it is probably one of the last things i see before bed. every time i see it, i think, “hi joel” or like he’s saying “hi” to me, waving. “hey mom, what’s up?” sometimes it’s as though his little hand is reaching towards me to make contact. i think i would like to touch it, it looks so perfect. it could wrap right around the tip of my pointer. he seems so close. yet, i know joel is not really in my freezer, just a quick door open away. he’s buried in tissue in my belly, floating in a warm pool of goo, developing every day, but still so small and unfinished, his eyes just barely opening. or so -i read.
yes, his entrance into the world is much more complicated and difficult (for both of us, i imagine) than just opening a freezer door. would that it were so. it’s strange how, even though birth is the most natural of things in the world, it’s where all of us came from after all, right? our mother’s va-jay-jays? even though it is so common and natural, it is not easy. it is the very definition of a primal struggle. him for that first breath, his life outside the womb. me for surviving the whole thing, to keep my body whole and well. the whole thing powered by things beyond each of our control. hormones. the uterus. and contractions thereof, which begin of their own accord and don’t let up till it’s through with its work. joel and i both have a lot at stake, but are really just along for the ride.
it just goes to show you that nothing in life worthwhile is easy. even love, which i didn’t always believe. love is actually probably the hardest thing, all said and done.
so, until that fateful hour, when we are both thrown into our whirlwind struggle, i look at his picture every day, of his perfect hand, the hand my body built, with instructions from his unique genetic blueprint, the perfect clashing of greg and i on a cellular level, (we clash on every other level, so why not?), and i feel his movements every day deep under layers of skin and subcutaneous fat, and i feel close to him. which i am. even though we still have a long way to go and in a sense, are still so far apart. yet there is no distance between us.