Yesterday was our 19-week anatomy scan for baby-in-progress. How cute is our baby? THIS CUTE.
But it looks more human.
The ultrasound technician was very young-looking. She asked if this was our first ultrasound at the hospital, and I told her we’d had a 12-week scan and an ECG.
I don’t know if these technicians know how nerve-wracking it is to be lying there in the half-light, listening to them take pictures as they probe around your belly with the slimy apparatus, their faces impassive… and never saying a word. I mean, I suppose I could have chatted her up, but I didn’t want to break her concentration. After a long string of minutes like this, ANYTHING they say is a relief. Anything to indicate that there are normal things going on in there.
I found this process difficult even before Sebastian, but obviously it’s worse now. It didn’t help when the tech said, in measured tones, “You said you had an ECG… What was it for?”
It was the second time I’ve explained to a medical professional, “We had a stillborn son last summer whose heart was too big.” She nodded but didn’t comment.
Then, after forever, she got up and said, “Okay, I’m just going to have another tech come in and take a look, and do a few more pictures.”
At least she had let me go pee near the beginning of the ordeal. Otherwise I might have wet myself at that point. The tech who did Sebastian’s final ultrasound had to leave the room a few times to “consult” with people… so now, for about 30 seconds, I was totally convinced something was wrong.
Then the other tech came in, and identified herself as Lisa. (I’m not sure I’ve ever been offered a name by a tech before.) I must have looked pale or something, because she immediately said, “Did Christine tell you why she called me in? She’s a new grad. We just have to make sure we check everything. Nothing’s wrong.”
Whew would be an understatement.
Lisa was positively animated, compared to most ultrasound technicians, as she talked with Christine about the pictures they were trying to get. She commented to me, “Nice baby to scan,” which I took as a compliment even though I can take no credit. I even saw her smile a few times, which I really appreciated.
Finally they called Sean in. He started grinning as soon as he saw the screen. I guess there’s lots of movement happening that I still can’t feel, because this kid was doing all kinds of tricks unbeknownst to me.
Baby did not exactly facilitate the detection of genitalia… but I guess Lisa found a way in between the legs. She said, “I don’t see anything there… so I think it’s a girl.”
I was genuinely surprised. I hadn’t realized how much I’d been assuming it would be a boy, just based on previous experience.
[Just a few days ago, it must be admitted, I said, “Wow, I hope it’s a girl!”, but there was a silly, bizarre reason for that. My mom was just telling Sean and me a story from the last time she took E swimming, when they met a little boy whose baby brother has E’s name. (This is always a little bit vexing, because we tried really hard to find an original name that wasn’t too popular but wasn’t weird or hard to spell or hard to pronounce or spoiled by someone I once taught…) The freaky part was that she told us the name of this older brother, and his name is the one we’d already decided to claim if Baby #3 were a boy – again, a name that is quite unusual but totally solid. My mom didn’t even know about our decision. We were dumbfounded… and I was crushed, because I was like, “We can’t have two brothers with the exact same names as two other brothers in the same city!!” SO STRANGE.]
I am still not totally convinced, because mistakes are made in identifying fetal sex often enough… but this will not be our last scan, so we may get a better look at some point. For now, we are happy to refer to our baby as “she”, and to start thinking about the unplumbed other half of the baby name book. It’s exciting.
(I hope E will/would not be disappointed to have a sister instead of a brother. I hope she would enjoy playing cars and dinosaurs and Lego with him.)
We also got to see a cool moment: baby’s tiny jaws opening, and baby’s even tinier thumb actually going in her mouth. We all got a kick out of that. In fact, Lisa crossed paths with us in the lobby shortly afterward and stopped us to say, “You know, I’ve been doing this for 22 years, and you almost never see that! Lots of parents think their kids are sucking their thumbs, but they’re not really. That was the real thing.”
So… hooray for hand-mouth coordination! Way to go, baby.
When we followed up with Dr. S. afterward (she’s great – such a difference from that other doctor), I was also told that fluid levels look great, all the parts look just as they should, and my cervix is long and “lovely”. The news can’t get much better than that, for the moment. So all in all, it was a good appointment.
By the way, in case you were hankering for a bullet list… here you go. When people ask why we want to find out the sex of our baby, this is basically what we tell them (it has nothing to do with stocking up on clothes of a certain colour):
- There are plenty of surprises surrounding birth (like when it will happen, how long it will take, what the baby will look like, etc.) – we just don’t feel the need for another one;
- We like to be able to narrow down the name list;
- We are uncomfortable calling an unborn child “it”;
- Suddenly, when you know, the baby seems so much more real and relatable;
- 40 weeks is a LONG time to wait to find out something so important, especially when you’re a naturally nosy/curious person;
- We were really glad that we knew Sebastian was a boy – that we could get to “know him” better, that we’d already chosen his name, that he was not just our baby but our son – before we had to say goodbye to him.
Of course, we are all in favour of waiting for the surprise, if that’s what floats your boat… but for us, it’s a no-brainer.