We just returned from the hospital with our news: Balduino is actually Balduina. We’re going to have a baby girl and she’s healthy.
The bad news in all this is what’s happening in the rest of the world. Driving to pick up Marta before the doctor’s appointment, I happened to turn on the radio. They were talking about a shooting, and I thought at first it was the attack at a Chinese school I’d heard about yesterday. Then I thought it was another recent attack, the one at a mall in Oregon. When I realized it was a new one, and at an elementary school, I felt numb. Here we were heading off to measure the tiny markers of one small life (very small at that) and here were all these other people, on the other side.
I thought about those people, those parents and family members, during most of the ultrasound. The tech showed us our baby girls’ brain and the four chambers of her heart and her diaphragm and her two feet, one of them pushing up against the uterus, and her mouth as it opened and her spinal cord, which stretched long across her curled back, and which Marta said looked like a zipper. She measured her heartbeat and said it was perfect and then measured a dozen other tiny parts. She told us that our baby looks normal, would be normal and healthy, and was a girl.
And I couldn’t have been happier. In fact for a little while, I forgot about the shooting. I talked to my mom and got a text from my dad, who said “Good news we would loved either one,” in his typical mathematician way (aka, lacking all knowledge of punctuation or proper verb conjugation). My little brother called to congratulate us (as if we’ve done anything) and my friend Erica wrote “Oh! You’re going to have a beautiful girl. And oldest girls turn out awesome. We’re proof.”
But then when I opened up my laptop to write a short note here about the news, I found myself reading the other news-about the shooting. It hurts to realize that this is our world, these are our people. That there some of our people so destroyed–angry, mentally ill, numb–that they do things like this. And the rest of us watch and shudder and turn to each other and say how incomprehensible it is. And yet it keeps going.
I don’t pray, but my mind is on all those who lost someone today in this latest of shootings. This is a big and beautiful world we live in and yet sometimes it scares me numb. Our baby girl. My mind is also on her.