Week 20: Second Ultrasound – The Bump Diaries

Ultrasounds are always exciting – this was the second and possibly last one that we would get. This second ultrasound, as it was planned at 20 weeks could also tell us what the gender of our little baby was going to be.

Still struggling with all the itching and being made aware that it could be a serious pregnancy condition I was very nervous. Little one hadn’t moved for a while and movements haven’t gotten regular yet so I was panicking of what I may or may not see at the ultrasound.

As normal BF was calm leading up to the appointment. He always seems to be as cool as a cucumber all while I freak out so it was great to have him coming to the appointment.

For weeks we have been discussing whether or not we wanted to know the gender. There are so many pros and cons to both sides and even the morning of our appointment we still weren’t sure what our decision would be. For us the idea of keeping it a secret would be exciting and would stop people from giving us overly pink or blue presents. Find out though would let us be able to focus the baby name search down significantly and we would be able to stop calling our little one an “it” or go “he/she” in every conversation; we would also be able to start imaging our little family.

With the afternoon starting we made our way by bus straight to the hospital with bottle of water to drink. As at the last ultrasound I had been instructed to have a full bladder, I thought this would be the same so throughout our journey I was sipping away. By the time we got to  the hospital though I really needed to pee – seems my bit of a bump is squishing my insides.

As we arrived the room was almost full of others. Next to the only free places to sit together were a rather loud family. Last time we had an ultrasound we had decided to get lots of photos so that we could share them with family members – this time round we had decided on just one or two. There was only one issue with our plan – that loud family had broken the machine and now it was no longer accepting card payments. Having used the last of his change on the bus tickets, BF was left with nothing to pay. Everyone else waiting in the room had this issue – many partners had run off to get change but I managed to pull together some change so we could get one photo and BF wouldn’t have to run off.

The time passed and sat quietly whispering away in excitement – unlike our first appointment our appointment time came and went by. 15 minutes after it was scheduled I couldn’t hold it any longer – I needed to pee and someone prodding my stomach with an ultrasound wand was out of the question unless it was going to happen in the next 3 minutes. It was then and only then that I checked my paperwork and phone only to find that at the 20 week ultrasound I didn’t need a full bladder. Thank goodness!

With that I nipped to the loo and less than a minute after returning to my seat and feeling far more comfortable my name was called out. This was it, we were going to see our little one again. All of those fears bubbled up one last time. “Please oh please let there be a heart beat and that everything is fine!” rang through my head as I was asked to get up on the bed.

Up went my top and on went the gel that warmed up really quickly as it touched my stomach. This time I was at the hands of a new girl with a more experienced lady assisting her. The wand went on my stomach in a hard prodding fashion. Instantly they found the baby again in a peaceful pose. It was this point that BF exclaimed “It’s an alien!” to help calm my nerves as I gripped his hand to make me giggle. The giggling clearly woke up the little baby as it began to wiggle and move. The newbie then annoyed at the now awake baby prodded harder and harder as she tried to find a good position to view the heart. After a few minutes of the other lady trying to guide her and I think seeing how much pain she was clearly inflicting on me and bump, who was wiggling with every hard prod, she took over. She excused it as “I’ll show you what I mean and you can try later on to find it yourself” but she was so gentle and asking constantly if she was hurting me.

They spent ages looking over the heart and checking out all the key veins and arteries running to and from it to have me and BF geeking out in the corner over it all. We are nerds so love finding out all about this sort of stuff and so got to learn a long side the newbie where everything was. It also meant that we had even longer to coo and see the little alien slowly calming down back to sleep again as bump was no longer woken by laughs or painful prods.

Bit by bit we got to see them checking the spine, vital organs, head, brain and hands. My favourite part was when the screen was all black apart for two little perfect feet occasionally moving. It felt like we have been gifted with so much time to see every little detail of our little one as the new girl got to learn so much.

20 week baby ultrasound - the bump diariesAgain throughout there was talk of measurements passed and written down while Bf held my hand and we cooed away. It was a much longer appointment compared to our first one that a new lot of gel had to be applied. With all the measurements and learning that could be gleamed from our session the lady holding the wand told us that all the vital stuff was finished and did we want to know the gender.

We still hadn’t formalised an answer between us but in the thrill of it all we looked at each other and bf said “I know she really wants to know so yes.”

She giggled at us – I think she has been faced with many answers of over her years of doing this and I think she always loved this part. “Any ideas or predictions of what you think you might have?” she quipped leading on to BF giving a very quick break down of his family just having boys for the last 5 or 6 generations so it is probably going to be a boy.

“Well I have a surprise for you… it’s a girl!” Cue to very shocked parents to be – we really thought it was a signed and done deal with BF’s family history but here we had news of a little girls. It seems my recent dreams of holding a little girl were true! It was at this point I turned to BF to see one of the biggest and proudest grins from him I have ever seen as he squeezed my hand. We didn’t get long left to coo over our little girl as a final picture was taken and my stomach was cleaned up of left over gel before dashing to the loo one last time. By the time I had returned the picture was printed and the ladies were offering their final congratulations before we headed back out the hospital to go home.

As we caught the bus home we were both buzzing with excitement – it was clear that the news of the gender made this even more real for BF. I don’t think he ever imagined having a little girl either so a new sort of shocked excitement was waving over him. BF had gone from wanting to not know or anyone to know to sharing it with the world. It would seem that we made the best choice and all the way home we giggled to each other and tried to think of baby girl names with our new photo in hand.

What was your 20 week scan like? Did you want to know the gender? Were you surprised? I would love to hear all about your stories so please leave a comment below!


The Bump Diaries Week 12: The First Scan

Week 12 was a biggy – it was the first time we would have photographic proof about bump. Scary and exciting this was always going to be a highlight in the pregnancy as well as a clear worry.

You know that a key part of any modern day pregnancy is the ultrasound. It isn’t until you get pregnant that you realise that there are in most pregnancies two of them – one at 12 weeks and the second at 20 weeks. There are times when you might have a scan, such as certain high risk pregnancies or with bleeding, but generally you’ll only have two.

On all of the forums it was crazy as when I was barely 7 weeks there were women having scans left, right and centre. Turns out that a lot of women today go for private scans so that they can get confirmation early and meet their little bean sooner. It came up between me and BF – having a scan before Christmas would be a great way to tell the family but was it really worth the money? Would it be better if we just found another way to tell them (we did through gifts which you can see here) and we could wait. So we waited. And waited. And I am really glad that we did.

Upon telling the family we were asked a couple of times if we had a scan yet or when the date was – it wasn’t just us who wanted to see the new addition to the family. If we had done it before, they would’t have been involved in the build up to this moment and gave us a reason to go and visit some of my family in Bournemouth with the photos. Rather than just a “is she or isn’t she showing a bump” focus it was all about the photo – something that I am really grateful for. People staring at your stomach when you just look fat is not comfortable.

Now I have had ultrasounds before but they have not been baby related – in fact last year I had two. I know the procedure quite well; drink lots of water and try not to pee. Since getting pregnant all I do is pee – BF now says that I a three states, “need to pee”, “too full” or “really hungry”. I’ve sat bolt right up in the middle of the night and yelled “I NEED TO PEE” before falling asleep and snoring moments later… When you are pregnant you pee… a lot!

At the last few ultrasounds I have had a lot of water to drink two hours before hand and been fine but this time I struggled. I struggled so much that an hour before, against what all the paperwork tells you, I went to the loo with the promise of drinking a whole little bottle of water. I don’t think that it helped that just before BF and I disappeared to the hospital for our appointment that we celebrated with a meal in a restaurant – the day had finally arrived after all and neither of us could believe we would see a picture. It was also still playing on our minds that something could be wrong but that is why drinks were involved; he had a beer and I had a wonderful mocktail.

When they send you the letter with the date of your ultrasound, along with “try not to pee and drink lots” you get information about how much money it will cost for x,y and z of photos. We had decided that screw it, we wanted the biggest package of 8 as it meant we could give them out to the family. Upon entering the ultrasound ward there are signs everywhere that tell you “You must buy the number of photos that you want before you go in for your appointment!” After settling down and drinking the last of my water we sorted out our photos then starred at this little piece of paper hoping that everything was ok.

As a specialist ultrasound ward just for pregnancies, the other other people in the room waiting with us were pregnant women alone or couples. It felt strange, the walls were bare and the room was full of dread and excitement at once. Our appointment was booked for 3.10 but we had turned up early as it was a windy cold day so we both just wanted to curl up somewhere warm and wait. They must have been having a rather efficient day in the ward as by 2.55 we were already in  trying to get my short arse up onto the chair and wiggled into the right position.

As soon as I was in the right position, top went up and gel went on my stomach and boy was it warm. In the past whenever I have dealt with ultrasounds the gel has been cold so it was weird that not only was this gel warm but it felt like it warmed up as it was smeared across my belly. The ultrasound lady put her wand on my stomach and gasped – turns out she had found our little bump straight away! Not only had she found it without even starting to look but our little one was in the most perfect position for what she needed. She was quickly rushing through lots of photos and doing measurements talking to her assistant who was busy in writing everything down while we just gasped… there was our little baby with its nose, lips, and heart beat as clear as day. Soon the wand moved sideways and we saw a top view as she went through the babies brain before returning the the side on view to find each hand and foot quipping “Sorry I’m doing this so fast but your baby is in the most perfect position that I want to get all this important stuff before they wake up or move; we’ll then be able to slow down and get photos for you!”

We didn’t care though – we were still just in awe of seeing our little one being alive and well with the little heart beat flickering quickly away. As she went through finding everything she needed, our ultrasound lady would quip “It was as if they knew just the position they needed to be in and when” or “You have a little poser!” and “They must be sleeping – they are so relaxed with their feet crossed and so still!”

It  turns out that our little one had “made her day” as it was just so perfect. Now with her vital details checked it was now time for her to get photos for us to keep. Rather than the 8 that we paid for we ended up with 10 as she happily took more and more of this little sleeping bump. Being pregnant, despite peeing only an hour before, as soon as I could I rushed out to the loo only to come back and find that all of our photos were ready and printed. We stepped out of  there before our original appointment time!

Photos in hand it was time to navigate through the hospital and have my blood taken. Although you know about the ultrasound, unless you have had a baby you don’t know about the vast number of different and weird tests that you have to take throughout the pregnancy. Almost every time you see someone they will want a sample or measurement of something. In this instance it is for a combined sampling test to see if there could be any issues with the baby such as downs.

This is where the next wave of worry hits – yes there is a heart beat but what if something is wrong! As I have a member of my family with various disabilities there were added worries. Unlike before, the waiting room we sat in waiting was high up with views overlooking the Palace Pier as the sun slowly set with colour and noise around us. This room was filled with people who had been in the other waiting room, all with their photos still in hand along with others waiting for other maternity services. The atmosphere was so different – for most people there wasn’t a worry or excitement, it was just a normal appointment.

People came and went; time seemed to slow as we waited. Soon it was 45 minutes and we were still sat wondering how long it would be – it felt like we would never leave that room until finally my name was called. This was it; time to get prodded with a needle.

I hate needles; I can’t stand to see them or go into people, especially me. When BF had to have an IV put in when he was ill I had to leave the room and even seeing the tubing going into his arm had me freaking out internally all while I tried to be supportive and not faint. All that aside, as long as I don’t see the needle before, during or after I am ok having injections or blood taken. Every time I have to explain “I’m bad with needles!” a face of dread flashes across their face; I have seen how bad people can get with needles and it has involved an 11 year old being held down by three health professionals… the relief though when I tell them it will be fine just don’t let me see anything and keep talking.

BF is brilliant on the other hand – he has donated blood and is fine to see all sort of blood and guts. For him it was funny watching me trying to keep talking about anything I could think of that wasn’t needle shaped, in this case food, and catching the interesting (to him) procedure of taking blood. As soon as the needle was out I couldn’t help but let out “I’m such a woss!”

The nurse tried to disagree but BF just laughed, he knew this was scary to me and knew at this moment a “you’ve been so brave!” was not the answer I needed… I needed to feel like a woss – this was my coping mechanism or what they had done was really as scary as my mind made needles out to be. Plaster on my arm and it was over – all the tests were over and I had the photos of our little person to share with who we wanted.

When it comes to tests, sometimes it can be weeks before you get a result and in this case we were told “if you don’t hear anything by Monday it is all fine” was a relief. We had a deadline of when, if any, bad news would come and it was only a few days away. We only had to wait and we would have the all clear – then we could start spreading the news.

All of those weeks of worry and excitement were over and now a new chapter of the pregnancy started – we had proof, there was a heartbeat and it was now about the rest of pregnancy and beyond.

Did you have a good experience getting your first ultrasound? How did your go? Did you struggle with the blood tests or not peeing? I’d love to hear your stories so share them below!