Don’t Drop It: The 2nd Ultrasound

by tinysneakers

It takes a brave, brave nurse to hand my husband a $20,000 transducer and say “here play with this- but don’t drop it.” She has clearly never met my husband before.

ultrasound transducer

But that’s what she said, and that’s what he did. He played with the transducer and he didn’t drop it.

Yes, my husband gave me an ultrasound. An experience in itself if you ever come across the opportunity. Sure let’s you know the tech knows what they’re doing.

ultrasound machine

This particular ultrasound was an ultrasound we almost didn’t have, but I’m so glad we did.

First Trimester Screening

The first trimester screen is a combination ultrasound and blood test. Around 11-13 weeks, they measure a space in the back of the baby’s neck called the nuchal fold. If it’s too big, it could indicate a problem. They combine the measurement {the nuchal translucency} with the blood test and your age, and give you a more precise estimate of your risk of chromosomal defects like down syndrome, trisomy 21, trisomy 18, and cardiac defects.

While I thrive on being prepared and over-researching the crap out of things, I knew we’d still have another chance to find out if there was a risk of genetic problems at the 20 week anatomy scan; no need for another test or ultrasound. I had no plans to do anything different if there was a defect, so I didn’t need to know so early.

nuchal fold test first trimester screen

But then the midwife said something that made me reconsider. She said it’s a great time to tell if the spinal cord’s closed; aka if the baby may have spina bifida. {The test doesn’t specifically look for neural tube defects, it can just help alert them of a problem.} The ultrasound combined with a different blood measurement a few weeks later {an AFP} would give you a pretty good indication of spina bifida or other spinal cord defects, even more so than the anatomy scan since sometimes they just skip right over that.

Why was that any different than learning about Down’s syndrome? There are measures that can be taken during labor and birth that can minimize the complications of spina bifida, like having a c-section or being in a hospital that can do emergency surgery {aka not my hospital}. Umm yes please, I want to know if I need to do those things!

So we did the 1st trimester screen.

13 week ultrasound

The tech spent an hour going over each and every little tiny body part. I was flabbergasted at how much had changed in just 6 weeks. My little blob-a-ma-doodle was now significantly baby shaped. You didn’t need any notes and arrows typed on the ultrasound picture to verify that it was in fact a baby you were staring at. No wonder you feel like crap the first trimester- you’re busy doing some serious stuff in there.

fetal growth

My new favorite person, the tech in room 5, went over every single inch and explained every single little thing to us. We saw kidneys, we saw a bladder, we saw arteries and veins, we saw chambers of the heart, eye sockets, a nose, and a little lower lip. We also got a few waves, flips, and turns. We saw uterus; we saw placenta. Dude, that thing’s huge. We even got a secret stolen usb drive with some pictures.

first trimester ultrasound

And of course, the husband got to do his own photo shoot with the little bug. Awesome was the word of the day.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Eleanor@eatinglikeahorse August 31, 2011 at 3:51 pm

That’s gorgeous! Must have been such an amazing moment for both of you 🙂


Amber August 31, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Your baby is already so attractive! Stunning profile!

And she was totally brave to let him hold the ultrasound wand.


Kate August 31, 2011 at 5:03 pm

I love that she let your husband have a turn- that’s awesome!


Keri August 31, 2011 at 7:15 pm

I *love* reading your blog Heather!!!! So exciting <3


Marci August 31, 2011 at 8:06 pm

That is so cool! I have nuchal test tomorrow! Hoping the results don’t take too many days. We’re ready to spill the beans!


tinysneakers August 31, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Our official results took fooorreevvver, but I learned what measurement they were looking for before I went in and watched the number on the screen when she did it. And I asked her…she’s not supposed to technically, but caved and told us it was fine. It never hurts to ask. 😉


Kristen @ The Concrete Runner August 31, 2011 at 8:30 pm

OK, jealous that your hubs was able to do that! After our 20 week anatomy screening, I wanted to become an ultrasound tech. Seriously, coolest job ever! Ours sounded very similar to yours – can’t wait til your 20 week scan! Are you going to find out what you’re having?!


tinysneakers September 2, 2011 at 8:47 pm

I don’t think so…but the husband’s still trying to convince me otherwise. And I would love to be an ultrasound tech- I wish I knew what a cool thing it was before I went to college. 😉


Jen September 1, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I love that your baby waved “hi”1 Mine has not been quite as friendly 😉

We only did the NT scan just because I’m a paranoid freak and wanted another ultrasound. Thankfully, our results were fine… as I’m sure yours were!


Sarah Jayne September 1, 2011 at 3:42 pm

I love this. I have goosebumps. E’RYWHURRRR! There, that makes this comment a little less gushy mushy. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us…!! Bebes are ummm about 5 years away for me, but I totally love reading about baking them!!! 🙂


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