Thursday's appt was probably my 2nd favorite to date (just behind see that 1st little heartbeat on the screen). We arrived at 9:10a and left right about 11a (EST). These people were thorough!
We did the general info, relatives' health survey thing upon our arrival. It was the strangest thing filling in spots with "mother" and "father" and actually be referring to ourselves! Craziness. Thankfully, I have a bit of background in genetics and knew that we didn't have to include every little health issue that uncles, cousins, and great-aunt-twice removed had. Allergies and vision issues are not something that you can pick up as defect on these scans!
We then were taken back with a genetic counselor to go over the family history and discuss risk factors and such. I'm such a dork and thought it was super awesome that she was drawing out our pedigree! None of the health issues anyone in either family has is considered a genetic/inherited risk or birth defect. She did reassure us though that it is definitely better to be thorough and do these types of checks than to "wait and see"- Better to be safe than sorry, pretty much. I pretty much found myself reiterating that the only defect we were actually concerned about the baby having is a heart issue. They asked if we were interested in any amniocentesis or CVS or other screenings. All I want to know is that the baby is healthy. Sure, it would be great to know if it had this or that disability to prepare.
And then it was time to go back and let the real fun begin! We were told to tell the tech right off that we were trying not to find out the sex. She said she'd do her best and have us turn away when they do in to scan that region. After she loaded my belly with what would be about 2 handfuls of jelly, we were off! Baby was in a great position for the scan, laying side to side in my belly, just folded in half with legs up and over the head. She was able to get awesome shots of the heart and everything looked A-okay and 100% normal! The rest of the scan was just icing after that.
We worked our way from head to rump (since baby was a sandwich). It was incredible to see the amount of detail they were able to get. We could see brain structures, each chamber of the heart, the stomach filled with fluid, the bladder, the kidneys the major blood vessels, each and every vertebrae in baby's spine, all the little bones in the hands and feet. Apparently, baby has the correct number of bones in its pinky finger even! The tech seemed to be mightily impressed that I had any clue what she was looking at as we went along. I'm no stranger to ultrasounds (not at this point) and I've done my research.
Baby was incredibly cooperative with it all and pretty much stayed in the exact same position throughout the scan, just moving the limbs a bit here and there. It did have its head tucked to chest which made capturing facial things a bit more difficult, but the tech was able to get what she needed. My favorite part was when she was checking the face for any defects (nasal, cleft lip/palate, etc). We got a shot of baby's chin, mouth and upper lip and nostrils. And then it swallowed! Not only was it adorable, but it showed that baby has that ability and that the fluid was going where it was suppose to since there was fluid in the stomach.
We finished the scan with the all important between the legs shots. We turned our heads, closed our eyes, and held each others hands.
I'm not going to lie. I'm not some great fortress of patience and resolve. I was so very very VERY! tempted to just turn my head and see. I one point I opened my eyes. Just in my peripheral vision I saw some red and blue flashes. The imaged flow of blood. Most likely from the umbilical cord. It took every single ounce of self-restraint I had to not look up at the screen. Heck, I strained to see if I could make something out from that side glance! After a few seconds of only seeing a grey and black haze of jumbled shapes, I squeezed my eyes shut until she cleared us to look.
The tech was great at the secret keeping though. She didn't label the images as Boy or Girl. Just Gender. That way parents-to-be couldn't count key strokes. She even filled out the info to send over to my OB as "Gender- normal" rather than any confirmed sex so that they wouldn't accidentally spill the beans in excitement. I will also admit that I'm really glad she set the screen back to the start of the scan, because I was 100% trying to see if one of the pics on the monitor showed the all important "parts". Not that I could make out any details from the ~1in pictures, but I tried!
The perinatologist then came in and talked with us about everything from the scan. he agreed that everything looked great, normal, and healthy. He did ask if we were interested in a fetal echocardiogram, just to make sure that there isn't any irregularities that the anatomy scan didn't catch. Those things are even more refined and high-def than this Level2 scan was and would pick up any slight rhythm variation, murmur, hole or flow issue. As it is also non-invasive and we really want to make sure baby's heart is 100% a-okay, we scheduled that too. Plus, it will be another opportunity to see the little. That's in 4 more weeks.
I was pretty nervous going into the scan, though. Not that I thought the baby wouldn't be alive like for previous scans. I'm reassured often that that is not the case with the little bumps and thumps I can feel now. I was just so scared to know or find out that the baby had some misdevelopment that would make living on its own without my body as its life support system either impossible or extremely difficult. The fact that everything was completely normal and average was a larger relief that I think I can put into words. All I can keep thinking is "healthy."
It's more beautiful a word than pregnant to me these days.