I look out the window that’s high overhead and see a gray sky. Scotland comes to mind and I’m flown away briefly to a few gray memories, before I journey back to the reality on the TV screen on the wall. A large metal fan oscillates back and forth, looking for a new direction to blow a little cool air. The lights are dim, and it draws my attention to the wall where it’s mounted. These walls have been painted pink. I smile.

I focus again on the black and white images on the screen. My brow furrows a little as I try to make sense of them.

There’s the bladder. Those are the kidneys. A mouse moves across a screen to direct my attention to two black circles.

The room quiets again, occasional boops and beeps breaking the monotony of the fan, gentle and steady, back and forth. I can see a spine, a rib cage.

This is an arm right here. Pulled up, almost behind the head on this side.

I smile because I’m laying on a table, my belly exposed and covered in gel, both of my arms are stretched back, hands cupped behind my head.

The baby is like me.

{Our first tiny heartbeat, almost four years ago… wow!}

HH stares at the screen with great interest, glances over and teases me for being teary-eyed.

“I can’t help it! It’s just so amazing!” I wipe away tears. Why try not to marvel? These glimpses into this secret world never cease to amaze me. This sacred sanctuary where fearfully and wonderfully, this precious life is being knit together, right here.

I wipe tears, keep staring.

Through the blur and static a face emerges briefly. There’s the face! See?

There’s an ear, a foot, we clearly see the tibia and fibula inside a tiny little leg. This is glorious.

“What’s the scale of that, to actual size?” I ask as she measures the thigh bone.

“That one? That measures 4.5 cm.”

HH holds up his fingers with about four and a half centimeters of space in between.

“Wow! Oh liefie.” This Afrikaans word is the first to come to mind — in my mind I hear old friends saying it to their small children, like “Lovey” or “Honey” or “Dear” but perhaps with a connotation of smallness. It sounds like the word for Love, as if you’re saying “Little Love.”

This little love is there on the screen — the tiny person, created out of love, who’ll someday be walking, talking breathing, from love. Love.

And I sway back and forth like the fan — thinking about asking, uncertain of whether I want to. There’s just one more detail about this little love we don’t know for sure yet that I sure would love to know.

We see crossed feet, I smile and marvel. We listen to the heartbeat and watch lines move across the screen. Like a tiny train, chugga-chugging in our direction, about to change our lives forever, the precious heart of this little love quickly beats, and I remember hearing the Bear’s heartbeat for the first time more than four years ago. Suddenly, everything was different.

My mind wanders back to that epic moment all those years ago, and then the big question comes, “Now did you guys want to know the gender?”

HH laughs and I grin from ear to ear. “Yes please!”

She moves the wand around for a while longer, an adorable little bottom emerges, I furrow and stare at the screen, almost holding my breath.

I am so thankful. And I’ll be thankful for whoever the Lord wants to give us — but I sure have been hoping for someone I could dress in ruffles and pink and polka-dots.

We receive the news, she types it across the screen, prints out a picture with a pointing arrow, but it makes absolutely no sense to me. I cry.

HH says his mind flashes forward to a wedding day in the distant future.

Two hours later, I’m back at home, and we’ve spoken to the grandparents far away in South Africa. They smiled across the computer screen and clapped their hands. I’m now holding my phone up to the lips of that heartbeat we first heard four years ago. He speaks it into the mouthpiece, not quite loud enough for his grandpa to hear it across town:

I’m gonna have a sister!

Sounds like pink and polka-dots are in our near future… and I’m ecstatic.