So now we have heard the baby's heartbeat. I'd like to say this was a transcendental experience, that it opened my eyes to the wonder of life, that I was overjoyed and uplifted in a way I have never been, or at least since I last saw Cats. I can't say these things, though, largely because I haven't seen Cats yet.
We went for our third doctor's visit the other morning. Once again there was no wait--this time I barely had time to pick up a pamphlet on maternity clothes and open it before we were called in. At this rate I'll never get any news of current events and I'll never find out who won the Great War. I'm beginning the think the tales of the waiting room are greatly exaggerated.
This time we saw the same doctor as we had on our first visit. Again she asked us if we had any questions, and again we didn't. Either we are the most well-informed people around or we are so hopelessly uninformed we can't even frame a question. Then she told us it was time to listen to the baby's heartbeat.
Now, at this point our baby was only about eight weeks or so old, and at this early age you can't hear their heartbeat with a stethoscope. You need much more sensitive equipment--in this case, a Doppler doodad, which looks rather like a Geiger counter. It sounds rather like a Geiger counter, too, so perhaps this is just another fake technological wonder like the ultrasound machine.
The doctor had Dawn pull down her skirt slightly and once again smeared cold goop on her belly. It's important for pregnant women to get used to having things stuck inside them and glop spread on their bellies, I've determined. Otherwise they might be very unhappy. After ensuring that Dawn was sufficiently goopified, the doctor began to run the small black plastic microphone over her stomach. After a few seconds, we heard it.
The baby's heartbeat sounded remarkably like a construction worker's voice. Apparently those Doppler microphones are so powerful, they can pick up even the sounds of your baby being built by the microscopic union workers that ordinarily just sit around the womb whistling at passing ova and getting paid by the hour.
The doctor smiled in slight embarrassment and moved the microphone around a bit so it would stop picking up sounds from downstairs or wherever. After another few seconds, we heard the baby's actual heartbeat. It sounded remarkably like a regular heartbeat, only after about thirty cups of coffee. The last time I heard a heart beat that fast was when my cat laid across my face. That little baby heart is going like blazes.
The whole heartbeat thing made Dawn ecstatic.
``I'm so excited,'' she said, shaking me. ``Are you excited?''
``Um, yeah,'' I said. ``Excited. Very. Yeah.''
I was clearly not excited enough, because Dawn gave me the cold shoulder after that. I was unsure of how excited I was supposed to be. I'd already seen a picture of the baby--or what they claimed was a picture--and seen the little heart beating. I believed the blood tests and so on. I knew she was pregnant. Hearing the heartbeat, well, this wasn't one of my concerns. I guess it was nice to know that it hadn't stopped between the ultrasound and now, but then I didn't think it would.
It is apparent to me that I am nowhere near as worried about this whole baby thing as Dawn is. People ask me if I'm scared. What's to be scared about? This happens all the time. I feel very positive about the whole thing: Dawn and I are fairly healthy, there are no hereditary problems we have to worry about, neither of our families has a history of difficult births--in short, while nothing is ever certain, there's hardly cause to worry. But worry Dawn does, and I can only conclude that it's a result of being female and pregnant, two things I will never understand.