Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Choosing Joy

Faigy Schonfeld

But the ultrasound technician is taking her time and I begin to fidget. In the semi-darkness, I scrutinize her face. I wait, suddenly breathless

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

 Mishpacha image

Photo: Shutterstock


long wait at the doctor’s office is not what I wanted today, on Erev Succos. There’s too much joy in the cool autumn breeze. The avenues look like a massive circus, replete with tents of tinsels and gaudy decorations. I sigh, tired and happy, and wait.

The heady fragrance of pending holiday is compounded by the magic of a kicking little being inside me. It’s been a long pregnancy, as pregnancies tend to be, and I’ve been dreaming lately of baby fragrance, buttery skin, and delicious, tiny things.

The doctor, Dr. Keilson, is chirpy. “You’ll be outta here in a jiffy,” she promises. My mind is on dessert, (chocolate pie the first night — or apple cobbler?), when her voice snaps me out of my sugary ruminations. “So... we’re measuring a bit small.”

I startle. I’m in my ninth month already and so far, it’s been smooth sailing. “Oh.” I say, “Why?”

“Well, there could be a number of reasons. I wouldn’t worry yet. Are you eating right?” Dr. Keilson asks me about my diet, about my work schedule. Finally, she orders an ultrasound. “Just as a precaution,” she shrugs. “I’m fairly certain all’s well.”

Well, if she’s fairly certain, then so am I. I mentally go through my last-minute shopping list and wonder if I should bring a salad or kugel to tomorrow’s seudah. It’s only decent to contribute something. We’ll be eating all the meals at my parents — no flying off to the in-laws now, with the due date around the corner.

But the ultrasound technician is taking her time and I begin to fidget. In the semi-darkness, I scrutinize her face. I wait, suddenly breathless, as she sighs lightly, pushes back her chair, and leaves the room, telling me to wait for the doctor.

By now, my palms are cold, my stomach tight. I close my eyes and will myself to halt my monstrous imaginations. Then the door opens, light floods the room. The doctor smiles, too sweetly, pats dark bangs out of her eyes. Before she speaks, I pounce.

“The baby. Is my baby okay?”

“Well... we hope so,” she says slowly. My heart clobbers my throat as she continues. “It’s... the baby is small, worryingly small. And we’re not quite sure why. Everything looks fine.” She pauses. I want to shake her. 


“Hopefully, the baby is small, just because. You know”—she smiles again, spreading her arms—“some babies are just small. And they’re perfectly okay.”
“And if it’s not just because?” 
She shrugs. “Let’s hope it’s just a small baby.”
“But what if not?” I am begging, desperate, but I don’t care.
The doctor purses her lips. “Well, it can sometimes signify chromosomal abnormalities.”I am stunned. Quickly, she continues, “Like I said, everything looks fine, so let’s hope Baby’s okay.”
“Yes,” I whisper.

Related Stories

Tainted Coins

Riki Goldstein

Soon she brought a tray of food and some coins, which she extended to Avrome’le. She smiled at him. ...

Always a Reason to Thank

Leah Gebber

They’ve lost four young children to a rare genetic disease, but Rabbi Yisrael and Aviva Deren carry ...

Blast from the Past

Libi Astaire

Ever since Har Sinai, the shofar has been associated with momentous events. Nothing can beat a horn’...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"