The night before our 20-week anomaly scan I lay in bed wide awake with my eyes open and mind racing. What if… kept recurring through my head, and it didn’t help that I was aware the alarm was set at an ungodly hour so we could get to our appointment in plenty of time.
On this freezing cold morning we drive to the hospital and inevitably arrive 45 minutes early for our appointment. I only grumble a little bit that we could have spent that time in bed, and we settle down to wait in the hospital café (which is actually quite pleasant). I have a drink, go to the ladies a few hundred times, and eventually we find ourselves waiting to be called. The sonographer then mispronounces our surname. A bad sign?!
In the event, everything is fine – heart and other organs all seem to be present and functioning, head circumference is acceptable and my placenta is in the right place! The only thing the sonographer cannot see completely clearly is the lips. She assures us they seem fine, but she cannot say with 100% certainty. Next to everything else that could potentially go wrong, the possibility of a cleft lip seems so minor that we barely give it a thought – if it turns out this does happen, we can correct it with surgery and it’s not exactly life-threatening! However, I subsequently meet with my aunt and she tells me about the controversial practice of aborting babies with cleft lips. I couldn’t believe it – I find it shocking that parents would consider this a disability, or something they couldn’t live with if their child had it.
Anyway, back to our baby. It is an incredible experience to see him/her again on the screen, wriggling and kicking away. It is reassuring to once more see evidence that there is still a little person in there! The baby seems so much bigger than at the 12-week scan, and looks like it has a proper face. It is also fascinating to see the delicate spine and the heart pumping away. The sonographer lights up the different chambers of the heart in red and blue so we can see the blood travelling around.
Before the gel was even put on my tummy, we made sure we told the sonographer we want a surprise. As it happens, we watch the screen the whole time our baby is there and there is never any indication of dangly bits or lack thereof! At no point does she tell us to look away from the screen, so perhaps it was never obvious, but our baby’s legs don’t seem to be crossed or anything. Perhaps she just assumes that as first parents and clearly laymen, we won’t recognise what we might be sneakily looking for!
It is over all too quickly, although we had been in there for nearly half an hour. It is now tempting to look into getting a 4D scan so we can see our baby some more, but at the same time, it’s exciting to think that the next time we see them it will be in person!
Afterwards, we are given photos and a page of results. Everything looks pretty average, which when it comes to a baby is good news. With one exception: our baby’s abdominal circumference appears to be on the 90th centile! This means that only around 10% of babies of the same age have bigger tummies. Oh dear. What can I say – like mother, like baby! I tell my Mum about this and she reassures me that both my sister and I had particularly round tummies as babies. So it must run in the family. Well, I’d rather that ran in the family than, say, extra large heads (ouch!) In addition to this, the length of our baby’s thigh bones are a bit shorter than average. So we are fully expecting to meet a short, barrel-shaped baby in a few months’ time!
Might be chubby but knows how to kick a football (possibly)