Unicorns and Mermaids

August 31st, 2020

“In the Blood of Eden
We have done everything we can
In the Blood of Eden
So we end as we began
With the man in the woman
And the woman in the man
It was all for the union
Ohhh The union of
The woman
The woman and the man”

from “Blood of Eden” by Peter Gabriel/Regina Spektor


We had trouble finding the clinic. Karin and I had never been there before. We were meeting a few people. Two of them arrived when we did. They were a young couple. The girl was about seventeen months pregnant, and she was going to the clinic with her fiance. The young man’s mother and sister showed up too.

The clinic was hard to find because it was just an office tucked away in a bank building. Seeing that it was a Sunday evening, the bank’s parking lot was almost empty. We only figured out that the clinic was there after we saw a small sign that said, “My First Peekaboo”.

“My First Peekaboo” provides ultrasound images for pregnant women and their families. It is a chance to learn the baby’s gender. Up to eight people, including the mother-to-be, are allowed in the clinic to see the pictures of the baby. We went inside the office and spoke to the ultrasound technician, who was also the secretary. Actually, the tech was the only person there. I paid the entrance fee, and the lady ushered us all into a darkened room nearby.

The room had a number of fake electric candles flickering in the dim light. I felt like I was at a seance. There was a bed on one end of the room. The young woman lied down on it. There were a few chairs and a sofa. The tech sat next to the ultrasound machine. The wall opposite from the bed was basically one enormous projection screen. That is where we would all look to see the baby’s image. The young woman’s fiance sat in a chair next to the bed and directly faced the screen.

The tech had a prepared spiel. She got the machine going and said,

“Heart rate for the baby is 134 beats per minutes. That’s perfect.”

Then the Peekaboo lady asked us, “How many of you think it’s going to be a girl?”

There were a few voices saying, “Yes”, in the shadows.

“Anybody think it’s a boy?”


I didn’t know what to think, so I said nothing.

The young couple had decided, long ago, that they were having a daughter. I don’t know how they came to this conclusion, but they were certain that a girl was on the way. In fact, they had already decided on the girl’s name, and they had given little or no thought to what they call a son.

The lady projected the image of the baby on to the screen. It was silver-grey in color. My eyes were drawn to the pulse of the beating heart. It fascinated me.

The tech spoke again. “Okay, there we are. It’s a little boy! If you look closely, you can see his boy…uh, parts, on the screen.”

I couldn’t really tell. I looked away from the screen at the young woman. I couldn’t tell at the time, but she was quietly crying. Her man was staring fixedly at the screen, dumbfounded. He looked like he had been slapped.

I heard the girl say to him sweetly, “It’s all you fault.”

The tech chimed in, “Well, that’s true. The male determines the gender of the child.”


I turned back to the image. The tech had displayed a picture of the baby that was colored  a dull gold. It was difficult to make out the features of the child, but I couldn’t look away from the moving, living figure on the screen. I was amazed by what I saw.

I thought to myself, “For now we see through a glass darkly”. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Who was this child? What a wonder he was!

The tech printed up some photos for the young woman. The show was over. We all left.

Later, I talked to the young woman.

“You know, your baby is beautiful. He’s a miracle.”

She asked me, “What do you mean? Why?”

“I don’t know. Seeing him was like watching God at work.”

She shrugged.

I told her, “You can start the shopping now.”

The young woman smiled ruefully and rolled her eyes. “They don’t have anything for boys.”

I sighed. “Oh. I guess no unicorns or mermaids?”


Later, Karin came to me and said that the girl had spoken to her.

I asked Karin, “What did she say?”

“She said that I can start making baby clothes with dinosaurs.”






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