This week has been a rollercoaster. All the fear and nerves built to fever pitch and then we went for our scan. As discussed in my previous post, we found that all looks good and normal (one of the only times in life where that word is the highest level of awesome) and that we will be welcoming a little girl into our world.
There were however some aspects I didn’t mention abut the scan itself. My appointment was for 1h45 on Tuesday and as most mommies will know the 12 week scan is the nuchal scan where they screen for the probability of Down Syndrome and other chromosomal disorders and potential heart defects (all terror inducing in themselves).
The scan can only be done in the very brief window between 11 weeks and 13 weeks and 6 days, as it is only during this time that the nuchal translucency (a collection of fluid at the back of Baby’s neck) is clearly visible. This is because once Baby’s lymphatic system is fully developed, which should be by the 14th week, it should naturally drain away any excessive fluid (or so Wikipedia says). To make things further complicated, Baby has to be lying with her back to your spine, facing up towards your belly button and her neck has to be in a natural relaxed position in order for the measurement to be taken. They need to measure this space twice to confirm a reading, they enter this number into a box with all Baby’s other measurements and a blood test result, as well as the visibility of Baby’s nasal bone in the scan, to get the probability in relation to your age group that your little one might have some kind of potential defect (and yes, all the probability, might have’s, some kind’s and potentials are necessary, as no matter what your results, they could be wrong).
Our Baby would not keep still for even a second during the first scan at 2pm, she spun and twisted and turned and waved her hands and kicked her feet and lay on her side facing us and away from us and on her tummy, but not even for one second would she lie in the position the Doctor needed her to. I was sent to the bathroom to see if the combination of walking and emptying my bladder might help to no avail. After roughly half an hour of us watching in awe as she squirmed around with Doctor prodding and shoving and bouncing my belly to try get her to move into the right position and trying “both kinds” of scans (other mommies will understand that reference), Doctor seemed a bit exasperated and suggested we go for a coffee next door and a walk and return in half an hour to see if Baby had settled a bit and we could do the test.
At this point we had seen the nasal bone was where it should be, had counted the fingers and toes, listened to the heartbeat strong and fast, watched as they lit up the blood moving in and out of the heart clearly showing all 4 chambers in full working order, done all the general measurements which were spot on and confirmed a due date of 22 February. Our two main reasons for being there – the nuchal measurement and the sex – remained illusive, so the general nerves remained as we walked next door for something to drink.
Half an hour later we were back in the waiting room and chatting to other couples and hearing their experiences (while I sulked internally looking at other mommies further along that were half my size – a story for another day). Eventually we were called in, I lay down, she took one look with the scan and pointed out the Braxton Hicks contraction that turned my uterus into a bean shape with baby facing straight towards it and not moving anywhere as long as it lasted and we were once again sent off to walk around for another half an hour. Of course, I instantly had to Google Braxton Hicks Contractions, as although I had heard of them, I always thought it was something that happened late in pregnancy right before Baby was due. I was relieved to discover that they generally start at about 6 weeks and continue throughout pregnancy, but were only usually felt by mommies in later pregnancy. So we walked around, I phoned my mom and sister who were waiting anxiously for news, to update them and we chatted a bit before the freezing cold wind chased us back inside. Returning to the bathroom for the 4th time since I arrived and rubbing my belly while pacing up and down the waiting room, I felt much like I was awaiting a visit to the principal’s office.
On the first try, Doctor was able to tell us we were expecting a girl and while we both very quietly repeated “It’s a girl” over and over, she also managed to get one clear picture of the nuchal space which was a perfect 2.14mm and then our little girl rolled onto her side and that was that – no amount of prodding or shoving or bouncing was going to make her move back into the right position. By now, the Doctor had pretty much given up and because we were only 12 weeks and 4 days along, she decided it would be better to return next week Tuesday to get the second measurement. I have been led to believe that this is a simple formality as the measurement taken was clear and she assured us there was no evidence of any swelling at the back of Baby’s neck; so we are sticking with “all is well” and we will get to visit with our little girl again next week.
Our first reaction to the news we were having a little girl was terror as you all know; this seems to have lessened, although it comes and goes. We are struggling with names a little and the one we like best has not received very positive reviews from family or friends which of course upsets us terribly, but also makes us doubt ourselves which means the search continues for now. By the night of the scan I felt as if I had been beaten around my tummy and insides from all the shoving, poking and prodding from the scan, which has left me feeling strangely upset and tearful. This was further exacerbated by my visit to the physio, but I will write more on that tomorrow or Sunday.
Overall, it has been a rough week emotionally and I am left feeling vulnerable and emotional and constantly close to tears. This is also stirring anger in me as I feel like we should be happy and celebrating our little girl. This weekend we will go and buy her something; we have bought other baby clothes and items over the years but they have all been bought with the thought of another baby in mind and I find this upsetting too. So my mission for this weekend is to choose something special just for our little girl. I will be sure to post a picture of it as soon as we do.