Sunday, July 20, 2008

Inside you the time moves and she don't fade

Well, we had the first ultrasound on Friday (after much wrangling with our crappy insurance company over whether or not they would cover a first-trimester ultrasound) to pinpoint the size and age of the embryo, because my OB wasn't sure after the oh-so-fun manual exam and my periods were irregular before we conceived, which means it's hard to narrow down the due date. TMI, you say? Sorry. So, the ultrasound:

The day we had it done (Friday the 18th) the embryo measured a size consistent with it's being 7 weeks 5 days old, which means I'm a little farther along than we initially thought. Which is good, because it means this wretched period of all-encompassing fatigue and pervasive nausea will come to an end earlier! Woo-hoo!

For those of you who, like me, are having trouble visualing just what the heck is in those pictures, here is a photo of an embryo of the same age:

It's mostly head at this point, as you can see.

That little round ball to the right side of the ultrasound photos is the yolk sac (not pictured in the photo), which will soon become detached as it ceases to serve its purpose (which was to generate new blood cells - that function is being taken over by the liver and the bone marrow).

Kind of freakish, isn't it? Did you even know human beings had yolk sacs?

It was nice to get the ultrasound, though. I've got the symptoms and the positive pregnancy test and all that, but it's still great to see the little sprout on the screen to confirm that all is well. (And that there's only one in there. Which there is. Whew.) We got to see the little heart going wubbity wubbity wubbity, which brought an involuntary tear to my eye.

It's pretty damn strange to have another living creature incubating inside you, even one that you made yourself and greatly desire - I think that's why there are so many horror and sci-fi films that directly or indirectly reference that fear of the alien creature inside of us.

For (an obvious) example, the movie Alien. What could be more explicit than the worm-like chest burster literally tearing someone apart as it makes its way into the world? How many women have had that nightmare in the days before they give birth? And in the third installment, when Ripley realizes she's been implanted and throws herself into the big steaming vat of molten metal, the chest-burster tries to escape and she clutches it to herself in an overtly maternal gesture. Perhaps the aliens (or the pursuit and attempted elimination of them) are Ripley's substitute for children - I think she has a daughter back on Earth (it's been awhile since I've seen the films) but she's in hypersleep so long that her daughter has already grown old and died.

In any case, the H.R. Giger designs for the first Alien (or "xenomorph" as they seem to be referred to in much of the online fan sites I've been browsing through) are strikingly similar to some early embryonic photos I've found. Although Giger always said he didn't get any inspiration from naturally occuring animals, the similarity is still there, and is enough to make you think, "Just what exactly is this thing growing inside me?"

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(For those of you who can't tell, the TOP photo is the Xenomorph...)

Or take The Fly, for another example (the 1986 version, that is, starring Ebony's favorite jazz musician boyfriend). The scene where Geena Davis is having a nightmare about her pregnancy with Jeff Goldblum's increasingly bizarre-acting Brundle(fly). She has a horrific labor and basically gives birth to a giant maggot, whereupon Brundlefly crashes in through the window and steals the little grub away. Although the scene doesn't actually occur in the reality of the film (she's dreaming), it is potent imagery nonetheless. What exactly happens when you combine two creatures' DNA to make a third creature? And how do you know there won't be some mistakes along the way?

I could go on and on, I suppose. Rosemary's Baby. The Omen. (The 1976 one with Gregory Peck, that is.) It seems to be a common theme in horror/sci-fi, perhaps because pregnancy is such a common occurrence in the world, and there are millions of parents and soon-to-be parents out there going, "What the hell is going to happen to us now? What are we bringing into the world?"

Or maybe it's just me, watching too many movies, as usual.

Thanks for reading.


Electric Mayhem said...

Yeah yeah, blah blah movies. Do the math for us and tell us what the due date is and when we'll know if Nolan will have a sister, or if it's going to be Nolan 2: Electric Boogaloo.

Zach said...

One of my favorite Ebony memories: her flawless and artful imitation of the Alien stomach-bursting scene.

Adams said...

Oh my goodness! Hoover, every time a friend of mine gets pregnant I swear that this time, I won't ask. But I can never help myself! I always have to know if they've seen that scene in The Fly where Geena Davis gives birth to that giant maggot and if, having viewed said scene, they ever had nightmares about something like that being inside them. Every time! I ask every pregnant woman I know! And that is WRONG. Because once I put that image in their heads, they can't help but think about it. But what you seem to be saying is that you nuts already have this whole pregnancy-nightmare thing figured out pretty well for yourselves. Awesome.

And by "awesome," I mean NASTY.

Except for the Brundlefly that me and Jeffs are going to make, after hours of sweet, passionate, smooth-jazz love,