We arrived for my 38-week ultrasound wondering if this was the day our baby would be born. I showed no signs of early labor, but my obstetrician had suggested inducing if our child’s growth was not progressing well.
Through a series of sonograms, my husband and I had watched our unborn child slip lower and lower on a growth chart. And so I held my breath while sound waves and echoes illustrated what we could not see.
His measurements were still smaller than expected, but his heart rate and movements were reassuring. The doctor sent us home confused.
That night on the phone, my mother listened as I talked through hormone-fueled tears about amniotic fluid levels and growth percentiles. And as usual, she struggled to relate. “We never had this much information,” she said.
We were in the depths of pregnancy paranoia. What once seemed a magical transformation from embryo to newborn has become a nine-month research expedition, thanks to advances in ultrasound screening, prenatal testing and an explosion of Internet sites where expectant parents can explore every nuance of fetal development and every thing that can go wrong.