582 - Emma
It's truly magical. The discomfort of the cold gel, the fact that this stranger is touching me in ways I'm not used to, but also the whole nausea and painful body, it's all worth it.
The baby isn't more than a small blob on the screen, hardly recognisable as a human child, but it immediately brings tears to my eyes.
Lucien is holding onto my hand, his eyes fixated on the screen, and I swear I can see tears well up too.
"So as you can see," I hear her voice, but I pay no attention to her apart from that, my eyes still focussed on the screen. "There's your baby. They're moving a little, you see? On the right is their face," her little arrow moves along with her words, "two arms, two legs, and that right there is their heart."
"Their head is massive," I mutter, eyes glued to the screen. They move from where she pointed out a heart, which isn't more than some kind of flickering dot, to where their head is. The more I look at it, the more I tell myself I'm seeing facial features. A nose - does it look more like Lucien's or mine? Do I want them to have my nose, or would I rather they have his?
"That's normal," the lady tells us. "At this stage, all babies have big heads. Nothing to worry about."
"I used to have a big head as a baby," I remember the pictures I've seen all my life. "My older brother used to call me Watermelon Head when I was just born. Little shit."
I hear a chuckle come from Lucien, which allows the sonographer to also laugh.
"Now, if I turn this on," she announces. "You will hear the heartbeat in just a few seconds. Note that this can feel very surreal, so don't worry about the way you react, I've seen it all. Are you ready?"
I nod, my eyes meeting Lucien's, who also nods. It's absurd that the room goes from silence to a sound that almost resembles a train racing by on the tracks near us.
"That's...," I feel the words get stuck in my throat, unable to speak.
Kenna prepared me for this, and so did my mum, but even their speech on how intense it would feel don't feel like they do this feeling justice.
The room is only filled with the sound of a heartbeat for what feels like the longest time, spent staring at the little blob of human on the screen.
"I've made some prints for you," is the first words that sound. "Because there's currently nothing to worry about, I wouldn't specifically recommend an extra ultrasound, which means I'd like to see you three again in about two months, for the customary check up. Anatomy, sexe, etcetera. You'll just get a call about that around that time. For now, all I can tell you is to enjoy what's yet to come, and to make sure you keep healthy."
We've framed one of the ultrasounds, which is now in our living room with all of the other pictures. Lucien has put another one in his wallet as a keepsake, next to a picture of the two of us, to remember us when he's away.
It came just in time, because the days before he leave fly by, and I'm sobbing the morning of his departure.
I try to hide it at first, but combined with another wave of sickness it gets harder and harder to pretend all of these feelings aren't getting the best of me.
"It'll just be a week," he whispers against my hair when he's holding me. "It's over before you know it."
He's right, but my pregnancy brain can't comprehend that, and all I want is for him to stay. I need him to take care of me, of us.
The intercom rings, signaling his taxi being here to drop him off at the airport. I wanted to drive him myself, but I can hardly take an elevator ride down without puking, so driving a car doesn't seem like the best idea. Besides, crying so hard I see stars at the airport won't look too good.
"I'm going to miss you," he kisses my temple. "And you, too," he places a hand on my stomach, which is still quite flat, though I swear it grows a little bit every day.
"We're going to miss you, too," I breathe, pulling him against me again. "Please be safe."
"I will, trust me," another ring of the doorbell, annoyingly enough. "You, too. Take good care of one another. Don't," he looks down at my belly, "bully your mother too much, okay?"
As some for of answer, our other child, the one with fur and a loud mouth, screams at us, annoyed by the buzzing of the intercom.
"Maybe when you come back, I'll be big," I smile, though there's still tears in my eyes. "And maybe the puking will have stopped. They said it could happen any day, as I'm hitting second trimester soon."
"In that case," he rolls his eyes at the buzzing of the intercom. "Let me take a quick photo of the two of you before I leave, huh?" He takes out his phone, and after I've wiped the tears out of my eyes, I lift up the shirt I'm wearing - one of Lucien's big shirts - up, exposing my stomach. "Great with the nice blue backdrop," he smiles, the sound of his camera clicking.
"Now," I pout, "you should go, or your driver will absolutely murder you."
He kisses me on the lips, quickly, because he knows if he lingers there too long, the taste of whatever is on his breath might send me into another puking fest. "I'll call you when I get to the hotel, okay?"
"Please do," I nod when he opens the door. "And don't forget, you have a meeting with Eailyn on Saturday. I'll have hit the twelve week mark, so you can tell her - you should tell her, or she'll ship you off to Antarctica for months on end."
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