Today is the day of my first ultrasound. I am exited….. I am anxious. I feel trepidation. I feel fear. I don’t know what I feel. It is a very simple procedure. It is noninvasive. Thank God! No one is going to poke me with a needle. I won’t be alone. Sam promised to meet me at the doctor’s office. So here I am, waiting. Lately, it seems like I am spending most of my time in this office. By now I know every picture on the wall. I have read all the magazines and am used to the antiseptic smell that clings to every object. The nurse finally calls my name. The big moment has arrived and Sam is nowhere in sight. We are almost ready to begin.
“Hello Sofie. How are you feeling today?” says the technician. “This is your first ultrasound. It’s very simple. I am just going to squirt this jelly on your tummy and you can watch the monitor on the right.”
I turn my head toward the monitor. This is such an emotional moment. I feel a tightening in my chest and my eyes fill with tears. Before they start spilling out and overwhelm me, the door opens and Sam walks in. I scowl at him resentfully.
Noticing my tears, he sits by me, holds my hand and says, “I am just in time.”
We turn toward the monitor and watch together. At first, I don’t see anything. It is a gray blur, just static. Then we hear the baby’s heartbeat. It is incredible. It is so fast and strong. I can’t find words to describe the magic of the moment. My worries and tears all fade away. I squeeze Sam’s hand tight, and we look at each other in wonder. I still can’t distinguish a thing on the screen. Where is the head, the hands, the feet?
“Look!” says the technician, “these are the hands.” And suddenly, I see the littlest and the most ethereal hands. “This is the head,” she continues. The picture becomes clear. I can definitely see the body. It is curved. Oh! There are the feet. I reach out and almost touch the screen. This is our baby.
“Do you wan to know the sex of the baby?” We were expecting this question but still don’t know the answer.
The technician is eyeing us with a knowing smile. She waits patiently. Our joint spontaneous response is “NO!” she shakes her head and with a broader smile says, “Good Choice! I am going to take the first picture of your baby and you can keep it.”
Sam and I are returning home. We are quiet, each one deep in thought. I am holding in my hand a small black and white photo. I keep glancing at it. It is the ultra sound picture of our baby.
To think that I almost cancelled my appointment! I was terrified that the ultra sound would be harmful to the baby. I called the nurse practitioner; Debra, a million times and she very patiently went over the procedure.
It is a non-invasive procedure. It is performed on the surface of the skin. High frequency sound waves that are not perceptible by human ears are transmitted through a device that is placed on the skin of the abdomen. The sound waves bounce back and the echoes are converted into images and videos visible on a screen.
I was not comfortable with the whole idea. Even though I knew that radiation was not emitted as in an X-Ray.
“Do I really need to do the Ultra sound?” I kept asking Debra over and over again.
“It is recommended. We would like to make sure the pregnancy is progressing normally.” Was her answer.
I was torn between two conflicting emotions. On one hand I wanted to make sure that the baby is all right and on the other hand I was terrified that the ultra sound would be harmful.
There is a strong urge in me to protect, to shield. The baby’s well-being has become my first priority. So it is with a lot of trepidation that I went to the doctor’s office today.
I look down at the photo in my hand. I really can’t see anything. It’s grainy and blurry. But I heard the baby’s heartbeat strong and fast. Everything is all right!