The (one and only) Ultrasound

There is a woman named CJane, you may know her as she is the sister of everyones favorite blogger NieNie. I think CJane is a fabulous writer and we happen to be due somewhere around the same week, meaning each time she writes about a pregnancy milestone I’m reaching the same one. One of her most recent posts, about ultrasounds, stirred up a storm of controversy. She’s at 20 weeks and she doesn’t think she’s going to get an ultrasound with this baby. Most of the commenters responded in shock, but I felt like I could have written the post myself (if I could write that well of course). If it wasn’t for That Husband I’m not sure I ever would have booked an appointment for my own. I’ve always thought sonogram photos were fun to see from other pregnancies, but I didn’t feel like I needed one emotionally.

After a few rounds back and forth with TH debating the necessity of an ultrasound to see our little one, the appointment was booked. The risks I could come up with from getting one include misdiagnosis (something I’m actually really worried about because it could classify my pregnancy as high-risk and deny me the home birth I so deeply desire) and the possibly unknown side effects from the procedure. When those are weighed against the risk of not getting one and missing a problem which could easily be addressed and solved before the birth logic won out and the appointment was scheduled.

Because I’m using a CPM getting an ultrasound is a bit different than what most experience when using a CNM or a doctor. My midwife doesn’t do them and so I had to contact a physician and set up an appointment. As with most midwives mine maintains a relationship with a doctor she trusts. She refers transfer patients to him (this would happen when complications arise and an out-of-hospital birth is no longer a safe option), and is able to provide her clients with medication, ultrasounds, and other medical options that wouldn’t be a possibility otherwise. I called the office of Dr. Clark, informed them that I was a patient at Gentle Beginnings, and asked to set up an appointment for a 20-week ultrasound.

That Husband was able to drive over with me and I filled out all the standard paperwork you see on a first time visit. I expected my appointment to be with an ultrasound tech, but the doctor walked in and introduced himself, sat down, squirted some warm lube on my belly (all doctors should invest in those warmers), and the baby’s brain popped right up on the screen.

It was…. anticlimatic. Neat, but not magical or incredibly emotional for either TH or myself as I expected it to be. I knew the baby was there. I knew s/he was teeny and tiny and mine and I just didn’t feel like I needed an ultrasound to help me feel more connected. How magnificent that the technology is available to those who need/want it but I won’t be seeking out anymore in the future.

I’ll tell you my favorite part though, watching the little legs kick and squirm. The arms waved, the mouth open and closed, the heart fluttered, but it was the sweet little legs that really won me over.

Baby looks as perfect as a wavy/blurry/virtually indistinguishable photo of a 20 week old being can possibly look, and TH and I can rest assured that all is well. And of course I don’t regret getting the ultrasound as it’s quite fun to have a photo to show to the grandparents. It’s the first grandchild on either side!

Look at that belly! It looks a lot like mine currently does actually.

Baby, you keep that thumb out of your mouth. We don’t want any crooked teeth and tears when we have to wean you off someday.

See those chompers? We’re also hoping for straight teeth. Mommy spends too much money on camera equipment to afford braces for you.

Isn’t this one freaky? It’s a straight on shot of the face and I don’t really like it. Luckily I know that baby will look a lot cuter when s/he makes their debut.

And no we don’t know the sex!

We’re keeping it a surprise because I want baby to be like a nice wrapped up birthday present. (The due date is the same week as my birthday, did you know?)

28 thoughts on “The (one and only) Ultrasound

  1. My sister in law is 23 weeks pregnant I think? And until they found out what they were having “Sophia” they called the baby “SHIM.” it worked:)
    Congrats:)

  2. Good girl!

    I hope you take that the right way ;) And I am so, so, so happy you guys came to the agreement that it was logical to have an u/s. While I can appreciate the concerns about any false positives that might have come from it – it just makes so much SENSE to find out! You seem to be preparing in so many ways for the actual birth – and I think caring for that child (whether it be one with special needs or not) is just as important, if not more so.

    I remember reading that post from cJane…for some reason I thought she was talking about a 12 week u/s and not a 20 week ultrasound – eep! No wonder the outcry!

    Can I ask you to clarify what you mean by not having one in the future? Do you mean, in this pregnancy…or future pregnancies? While for many the 20 week u/s is a bonding experience for many, I believe more emphasis should be place on the usefulness of an anatomy u/s…I hope you at least saw some value in it in that regard.

    Beautiful baby btw! Do you have any feelings of what it is one way or the other?

    Hannah Reply:

    I am really happy that you have chosen to have one ultrasound. I know you were worried about finding things out that would falsely make you high-risk. However you have said throughout your pregnancy that if you were high-risk you would take a more interventionery approach. That sort of necessitates you checking and I am happy that you did have this check so you know what’s what and go into your chosen birth fully educated about your status and needs.

    That being said, I don’t thing constantly scheduled ultrasounds are necessary. My mother’s ob (and the guy I hope to use if he is still working when I have children) said that he schedules them to an important check or two but other than that he felt they were invasive for mother and child.

    Hannah Reply:

    P.S. That Bub is crazy cute, even in smudgy black and white form.

  3. It’s so nice that your midwife has this sort of access for you, for while it may not be your need or preference for an ultrasound it may be for others, perhaps a deciding factor for/against an out of hospital midwife. I’m so happy you’re sharing your pregnancy experience with all of us – thank you. Your posts have gone a long way towards convincing my husband that a more natural pregnancy and birth is perfectly normal and safe.

  4. Awww! Beautiful Baby!…I have a pic very similar of my baby at 15 weeks ^_^

    I love to see Ultrasound pics and videos, for me is important to have an ultrasound, and the doctor says us that she’s ok. And of course have a beautiful keepsake to my little girl and she can see how she was growing inside and outside of my belly.

    I hope you can undestand…

  5. Thanks for sharing and for introducing us to cJane. I’m a new Nie fan (~three months?) but I hadn’t heard of her sister’s blog yet.

    I think it was a great idea to get the u/s and I’m happy it was a positive (or at least not negative) experience. I understand your fears about false-high-risk diagnosis. But – better to confirm that you’re not an actual high risk! It helps show the home birth naysayers that you KNOW you’re not putting TO at risk :)

    Hannah Reply:

    I don’t think it is fair to call all people who have expressed concerns nay-sayers. I would think, at least in my case, that it is more about concern than ideological ‘nay-sayin’.

    Just for the record :)

    Cristin Reply:

    Oh goodness. I didn’t say that all people who support an ultrasound are a home-birth naysayers or ideologically opposed to Jenna’s birth plan. I also didn’t say that all people who have expressed concerns are naysayers. I will rephrase. I think folks get a little defensive on here sometimes.

    The ultrasound’s positive results will help A) show home birth naysayers … and B) comfort those with well-intentioned concerns who ideologically support home birth but were worried about your health and potential for high-risk classification …. that you KNOW you are not putting TO at risk.

    Hannah Reply:

    That’s fine, I just thought I would point that out. Nay-sayers has pretty negative connotation, that’s all and the people who have expressed concerns have at points been written off as critical trolls (not necessarily by Jenna, but by others) who are just being nasty when it is the complete opposite.

  6. Hahah, I thought of you when I read that post. I am so paranoid I would want one every day but I think it’s personal and it really shouldn’t be a debate. Everyone woman gets to pick what they want to do with their own body, and that is something to celebrate!

    Jenna Reply:

    I don’t want to write a whole post about it (maybe I will but I likely wont) but I do wish more women would think about the impact their choice to over-medicalize their pregnancy has on healthcare costs in the US. We hear stories of women who can’t get health insurance when they get pregnant and no one ever talks about the reason why insurance companies are denying coverage– in part because birth is so FREAKING EXPENSIVE. And a lot of the costs aren’t necessary. Ultrasounds, NST, induction, epidurals, c-sections demanded by mothers who don’t want to push a baby out of their vagina, and on and on. If many, many ultrasounds and all of the medical procedures were really providing safer outcomes I could understand, but they simply aren’t. We want it all. We don’t want to pay anything for the birth, but we want all of the medical conveniences possible at the same time.

    Ok, I’ve obviously wanted to get that off my chest for awhile. Please know this wasn’t directed at you my dear friend!

    Emmie Reply:

    You will love this story, my friend works as a nurse at Cedars Sinai in Beverly Hills, which is a very expensive hospital. I know this because my bills are crazy high, even after good insurance…but that is not the point…my friend said that they do almost zero vaginal births. She said all of the women come in with perfect make up and say deliver my baby aka c-section!

  7. This is so interesting to me! I never thought of ultrasounds being used for anything other than medical purposes! I mean, sure it’s fun to see the baby but that’s just a perk, you’re really only there to make sure the baby (babies?!) are ok.

    Oh the many things I’ll learn when I eventually become a mother! :-)

  8. Congrats on a healthy baby! I know that, for most people, an ultrasound is just a confirmation of a healthy baby, but for others, it is life-saving! I think that having numerous u/s is ridiculous unless there is a legitimate reason (multiples/cervical issues/etc), but I think having one good u/s to make sure the heart has all 4 chambers, the kidneys are where they belong, etc., is a good idea! (I’m a mom whose daughter was diagnosed prenatally with some pretty significant kidney issues–knowing prenatally was vitally important for her!)

    And, I think it’s awesome you and TH have the ability to not find out the gender. You both are definitely much better with surprises than I am!

    Congrats again!

  9. Awww, love the photos of your little pumpkin! If nothing else, these will be a great keepsake for the baby book! :)

  10. I love the cute set of pumpkin and u/s pictures put together.
    I think it’s so easy to think that because everyone is having x ultrasounds that everyone should do the same.
    It’s good to hear from your experience and your research.
    Although you will not have anymore u/s are they checking for the heartbeat everytime you have a visit? I would that’s the most important things once they’ve checked that the anatomy looks good.
    Oh and other questions, I’ve heard about a dating u/s to give the estimated due date, how did they estimated yours? Just based on your cycle?

    Jenna Reply:

    Heartbeat is checked using a doppler, a device that doctors sometimes use as well.

    TH and I were only together during the month of July for a VERY limited amount of time due to a wedding I shot and my sister’s wedding so we only have two possible days of conception. For us due dates weren’t a problem. One important thing to note about due dates it that they are always estimated, never for sure, because they are just looking at the size of the fetus, comparing it statistically with the data they have, and then spitting out a number of when they think the baby will be born. It’s one reason that the thinking about due dates needs to change. It isn’t THE DAY YOUR BABY WILL COME, it’s just an approximation. Babies are full term anywhere between 37-42 weeks and mom’s need to start expecting their baby to come during that time period, not on a certain day.

    Cécy Reply:

    It’s good that you can point it down so kind of know what to expect in your “timeline”.
    I know the due date is only an estimate. Very few babies are actually born on their due date. However I know that Dr like to know that date and that they tend to be more interventionist past the estimated due date.
    Is it something that the midwives look into as well. If you are several days past your due date do they push you more toward hospitals (I know they do in France) or do they let nature take its course as long as the amniotic fluid and baby seem good?

  11. I’m so glad you’re publicizing your “alternative” thoughts. (I hope you take that the right way!)

    I’m planning on having a homebirth, and will either not have an ultrasound, or just have one. THE HORROR!!!

    If I have one, it will be just to ensure once again that the best place for me to welcome a child is at home with my husband and my dog and the midwife and assistant. Not a bunch of strangers.

    I wish you a peaceful pregnancy and birth. Whenever I get nervous I search “home birth” on youtube and watch the beautiful calm videos that people have taken of their births in the place they feel most comfortable–at home.

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