BABY RAINLast weekend, I and the wife had an amazing encounter with modern prenatal technology – the 3D Ultrasound. Yeah, I know, 3D ultrasound is ancient technology. It is 30 years old.  For all I care, it could have been invented by obstetrician-gynecologist dinosaurs to determine the sex of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. But when it’s your baby right there being scheduled for the first photo op of his entire amniotic life ever, all technology in the world becomes modern and high tech, and beautiful.

So we decided to have this 3D thing for the same reason as those of other expectant parents: to determine if we’re not expecting a dinosaur. No, just kidding. But yeah, we wanted to take advantage of this technology that would tell us if there was nothing wrong with the baby inside. We would count the fingers and the toes and examine the nose, etc. Oh, it’s grandpa’s nose. No, it’s lola’s nose. Stuff like that. And on a deeply personal note, I wanted to know if the baby was not sucking at a bottle of beer instead of his thumb.

As it turned out, he’s grasping his umbilical cord and other umbilical cord-looking strips of slimy materials inside his mother’s womb (it looked like jungle in there), trying as much as possible to cover his face with them and making it difficult for the doctor to take a clear shot with her camera.

The gadget is called “ultrasound transducer,” but as far as we’re concerned that beautiful Friday afternoon, it was plain and simple camera.  We just wanted to have pictures taken of the baby before he gets tired of swimming in that thing called amniotic fluid and demands a breath of fresh air.

We can also use the pictures to make our firstborn feel guilty if he starts becoming a headache to his parents in the future. Fast forward 18 years. Son to parents: “Doesn’t anybody enjoy freedom in this house anymore? Why can’t I drink like a real teenager?” Pa and Ma to angst-ridden son: “Son, you’re still in school. See that picture on the wall? That’s how we loved you, son. That cost us P1,500. That’s a fortune back in 2011, you freaking idiot.” Son strikes back: “Stop the sentimental crap. I just want my beer.”

OK, where were we? Oh, as I was saying, we had a difficult time convincing the baby to let go of whatever it was that he used to cover his face with, turn around a little and smile at the camera. The doctor urged us to talk the baby into cooperating. I said, really? Talk to the baby?

At this point, the wife was automatic in her response. Wife: “Baby, sige na baby, turn around na. Pa-picture ta, baby. Gamay lang.” She said it in all sweet love only mothers are capable of having.

The doctor turned to me, wondering why I wasn’t doing my part. “Should I say something too?” I asked her. The doctor said, of course. So I said, “Wacky shot, baby, wacky shot!” Hey, doc, that’s the best I can do, OK? Don’t look at me like that.

And like a miracle unfolding on the ultrasound monitor before us, the baby turned around, cleared the slimy space in front of him with his little fingers, and frowned at the camera.

But why is he frowning doc? Is that how 30-week-old, amniotic babies understood “wacky”? But the doctor didn’t hear me because the ultra-exulted wife started screaming “Weeeeeeeeeeh, my babyyyyyyyyyy!”

A few minutes earlier, I yelled my silent “weeeeeeeh” too when the camera panned to show a cute little thing sticking out between the baby’s legs that I had been praying to see that day.

I smiled a warm father’s smile at the thing and said, “Rock on, junior.”

(SUN.STAR CEBU, FEB. 1, 2011)