As an undergrad, I was lucky if my papers went through a draft and a half before I turned them in. Now, I spend hours editing, rearranging, and basically picking apart everything I write for school. I had finished, more or less, my paper by 11:00-ish today. At 2:00 I was still running through it, searching for the occasional awkward phrase or word. When I finally decided I was done, I wanted to read through it one more time, from start to finish, to make sure I hadn’t overlooked anything. For this final read, I could barely keep my eyes on the page. If I wasn’t going to pick anymore, I had no interest in it, apparently. Weird.

Back to this morning’s sonogram. Little Girlfriend #2 weighed in at a hefty five ounces, estimated. Careful readers may recall that M. weighed 12 ounces on the day of her second sonogram (on St. Patrick’s Day!). Never fear, M. was 20 weeks along when we found out she was a girl. LG2 is only 16 weeks, so she’s still got some catching up to do. We had a high-resolution ultrasound this time. Freaky. For the first part of the scan, the images weren’t much different than last time, just slightly clearer. Then they kicked on the 3D effects and things got strange. Suddenly we could virtually see her face: eyes fused shut, ears looking like misshapen blobs. Skinny arms and legs with a prominent spine. It’s almost too much of a look inside your wife’s stomach. Yet cool at the same time. As I said earlier, all appeared to be developing on schedule. Measurements were right where they needed to be. Functioning organs that were visible in the scan seemed to be, well, functioning.

We took M. along with us but she seemed uninterested in watching the images on the screen. I kept telling her to look at the baby, which normally gets her attention, but she was too busy trying to get out of my arms and into S.’s. She had a minor meltdown, which I’m sure the tech and doctor loved. But what can you do?

Pregnancy is a series of steps. Once conception has taken place, things are out of our control. We can just wait and hope for the best. I think all parents consider the worst at some point, often just before check-ups like this. Hopefully, we’re reassured by what we learn in these visits. Sometimes, though, I wonder if we know too much. What if we found something today that wasn’t quite right yet we could do nothing about? Is it better or worse to know? We’ve been lucky enough to have no found any surprises (so far) with either of our kids. But you can’t really relax. There’s always another milestone in the distance. 20 weeks. 24 weeks. 28 weeks. 30 weeks. 32 weeks. 36 weeks. Every segment of the pregnancy is full of hope and excitement but always balanced with fears about things you can’t control. At times I think it was easier to be a dad back when we were supposed to be uninvolved in the process after making their DNA contribution! I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything, though.