|Making a wish on Sophie's first birthday|
The picture was grainy, black and grey and white shapes, no movement other than the cursor, no sound other than the doctor's steady voice. The last time I had looked at such a screen, Oliver was floating around in my belly. There it is. There's her uterus, and there's the lining, she said as she rolled the wand over Sophie's stomach, glistening with gel. I bent over Sophie, one hand on her chest, the other on her forehead. I was holding her down. The doctor had turned out the lights in the room, and Sophie was fairly relaxed. When I looked into her eyes they were dilated, her pupils dark and as expressive as they ever are. I spoke matter of factly to the doctor, asking her questions and reassuring Sophie every few seconds or so. It's all right, Sophie; I know it's cold on your belly, but it's all right, I said, brushing the hair from her forehead. So, it's really hard to see anything, isn't it? I asked the doctor. I don't know how you do that. The last comment inane but I'm conversational, a social genius at best. When she was finished, I took the paper that lined the recliner and wiped the gel off Sophie's stomach. The doctor switched the machine off, and Sophie sat up.
Everything was fine. We went to the gynecologist to inquire about hormones, about puberty and its effect on her seizures. We talked about pheromones and Sophie's cycle linked to mine, her bad days making mine look like a carnival, a fun house. I learned that the uterine lining is very thin in Sophie, that the lining is as thin as a marathon runner's might be. I learned that the reason why she doesn't have periods is probably because of that and that everything else looks fine. I already knew that, though. Perfectly fine. We spoke a bit about estrogen and progesterone; the doctor wrote a prescription for progesterone. Let's try it for three months, she said, if it helps at all, you'll know by then.
I put Sophie in her stroller and wheeled her out into the Santa Monica afternoon. We headed east on Olympic Boulevard, saw glimpses of the skyline, silver and clear against blue. We saw mountains behind it, their tops iced in early snow. The cars stopped and started; we sat in a gridlock for over an hour and then another hour went by when twenty minutes would have sufficed. Brake lights blinked and the voices on the radio suddenly infringed on me. I turned them off and sat in silence with Sophie, our car moving along, a buffer from sirens and horns and gesticulating drivers with appendages where ears might have been.
I have now seen my daughter's brain and her uterus, one functioning abysmally for no apparent reason, the other functioning perfectly, for no apparent reason.