October 23rd, 2011: We were only on our third month post-quitting-the-pill. I was charting, so I knew I was already four days late. I took the test first thing in the morning and that plus sign lit up before I could even set the test down to wait for the required three minutes.
One of the more agonizing waits was the time between taking the test and going to the first doctor’s visit. They won’t see you until you’re at least 10 weeks along since there’s not much they can do other than give you the same urine test that you take at home. By 10 weeks, they can sometimes find a heartbeat with the doppler and see the tiny gummy bear on an ultrasound.
I had to find a new practice to go to also, since I had been going to a nurse practitioner down south and I needed to find someone in the city. I did some research and liked looks of the birth center at UCSF. They also have a great midwife program and my first visit was with a midwife.
After the standard weight check and blood pressure test, and the midwife came in to chat. There wasn’t much I didn’t already know, since in the time between the positive test and the office visit I had basically read everything on the entire internet having to do with pregnancy.
One thing I didn’t know was that I have a tipped or retroverted uterus. Basically, my uterus points back to my spine rather than forward, meaning there was no way the doppler was going to pick anything up and the little portable office ultrasound couldn’t see anything either. When those two tests failed to find anything, and not knowing yet why, she offered an internal ultrasound. That was an experience. It took a bit of searching (real fun) until she found my uterus, but then we got our first glimpse of the little gummy bear shaped 8 week old with his tiny blip of a beating heart. Seeing that was really special, but sadly, we have no pictures of that time.
We do have photos from the 12 week scan. At 12 weeks, they do an NT (nuchal translucency) scan. The main purpose is to look at the fluid and fold at the back of the neck. Low fluid can be an indicator of Down’s or other chromosomal abnormalities. You also get a fantastic shot of the whole baby.
Everything looked good at that scan. The next glimpse we would get of the baby would be the anatomy scan which is usually done around 20 weeks. We went in at 19. It was amazing. They are basically looking inside the baby to make sure all the bones and organs are in place. They can also tell the sex at this scan, but we chose not to find out.
All the bones of the spine where in place. I specifically asked for a print out of that one because it was just so amazing to see.
I would get to see the baby several more times on the inside. As my blood pressure was trending high, I started antenatal testing at 36 weeks. It came with an ultrasound to check fluid levels and 30 minutes of sitting on the monitor to make sure the baby’s heart rate was reactive during movement. I got some good views of his face, but it was nothing like seeing his face for real when we finally kicked him out.