HEARTBEAT...MUSIC TO MY EARS
(Full disclosure - This blog post I wrote originally appeared in a different venue. I added to it and have re-posted it here.)
Do you remember that corny Don Johnson song from the 80s? (Yes, Don Johnson once thought he could sing, like Eddy Murphy and Bruce Willis). The chorus was catchy: "Heartbeat. I'm looking for a heartbeat." Well the first time my wife and I HEARD our baby's heartbeat inside her tummy it was very emotional. My wife teared up. I teared up a few weeks earlier when the original ultrasound allowed us to SEE our baby's heartbeat for the first time. A previous miscarriage had resulted in an ultrasound where there was no heartbeat to see or hear. So hearing and seeing the baby's heartbeat on that occasion were moments of relief and excitement for us. Modern technology is marvelous. It allows fathers a glimpse into the life of their unborn baby. The child doesn't grow inside us, kick us, or get our attention in any way besides noticing the growth in the size of our spouse's belly. But now we get to see inside and I think that helps us feel less detached from the process, and more emotional about it. At least it did for me. They have been saying for a few years that technology would make it more difficult for the pro-choice movement. And now I understand why. When expectant mothers and fathers can hear and see their baby's heartbeat and development on a monitor, it becomes more difficult to terminate the pregnancy. If more men came to ultrasound appointments and saw and heard the baby alive in their partner's womb, there would be fewer abortions. It is no longer an abstract idea, one you can distance yourself from. The child becomes a living, breathing entity growing inside. And for me at least, that moment was a bonding experience.The baby doesn't live inside me, but from that moment I saw the heartbeat it began to live inside my heart. And so hearing (and seeing) my child's heartbeat was music to my ears.