Lend a hand (help). Give a hand (applause). Wring your hands (despair). Clasp your hands (prayer). Ever since we first developed opposable thumbs, the human hand seems to have permeated – to have become enmeshed – in how we talk and think. Michelangelo (who was probably gay, FYI – #family) didn’t paint God bringing Adam to life by touching Adam’s forehead or lips (or toes or ass for that matter): God reached out and touched Adam’s hand in one of the most enduring images in our history. So I wasn’t at all surprised when, during our latest ultrasound, the sight of our babies’ tiny but perfectly formed hand captivated our obstetrician, gestational surrogate, my husband, and me. (To be perfectly accurate, the obstetrician was equally obsessed with how symmetrically our babies’ brains were developing – “like perfect walnuts” – but that detracts from the overwrought hand theme I have going on here.)
The kids are coming along beautifully! One twin persists in being camera (ultrasound probe) shy, and apparently both of them are very modest because neither would oblige us with a look between their legs to determine gender. I hope this impulse to keep their legs together persists until adulthood. Anyway, watching them squirm about and luxuriously stretch in their respective amniotic sacs was completely surreal. They’re roughly 16 centimeters (or 6.3 inches, for those of us who refuse to cave into the metric system even if the entire rest of the world is using it) crown to rump length (CRL), and have heartbeats around 150 beats per minute (BPM). Very healthy, according to our obstetrician.
Also, although not all the labs from the first trimester screening are back, preliminary indications from nuchal translucency measurements appear to rule out genetic defects including Trisomy 18 and Trisomy 21. Our obstetrician considers measurements of 2.5 mm or higher concerning, and our babies had measurements of 1.3 mm and 1.5 mm.
We lucked out on this OB appointment in another way as well, and proved the old axiom that hand-made gifts can be more personal. In a baldly mercenary attempt to ingratiate ourselves into the good graces of our obstetrician and her office staff, my husband baked a batch of fresh cookies and presented them as a gift. Because gestational surrogacy is atypical and Intended Parents are not the patient, it can sometimes be easy to forget we’re here – so we wanted to leave a sweet reminder as it were. It turns out that the cookies (pecan tassies) remInded the doctor of her recently departed mother, whose house she had sold the same day we were there. It was a pretty schädenfreude moment, between being sympathetic over the doctor’s bittersweet memory and mentally high-fiving my husband over what would hopefully keep us more front of mind moving forward. Let’s hear it for the boy (and give him a hand)! And keep on growing strong and healthy, kids – you have the cutest little hands ever!