Surviving the night before my 20-week ultrasound felt exactly like agonizing through Christmas Eve when I was a kid. I spent the night staring at the clock, counting the hours until morning arrived.
It's only been four and a half months, but it feels like I've been pregnant forever. The last time I had an ultrasound, I saw what looked like a chubby worm wiggling inside my uterus. It was cool. But freakish, too. All I've known about this strange, squirming creature since then is that it's been making me sick
I couldn't wait to know something more.
My husband, Daniel, and I had decided early on we'd want to find out the gender. We figured we'd have enough surprises on the day the kid is born. Why not enjoy one of the surprises early?
Nine a.m. finally rolled around, and we checked in at Maitri in South Burlington. A nurse eventually ushered us into the ultrasound room, and I started to get nervous. What if the baby was missing a limb? Or worse, what if there wasn't a baby in there at all? I'd read about psuedocyesis
I needn't have worried. The doctor squirted some (warmed up!) jelly on my belly, pressed down with her magic ultrasound wand, and there it was: our baby. And this time, it was unmistakably human. There were a pair of arms and legs and a massive skull.
At first, the baby was curled up tightly in the fetal position. "How cliché," the doctor joked. It was cute, but didn't bode well for determining the sex. If we couldn't get a good look between this baby's legs, we'd never know.
In the meantime, there were plenty of other things for the doctor to check. She measured the brain, traced a cursor along the fully formed spinal cord, pointed out kidneys, the stomach and the diaphragm and zoomed in on the beating heart, a massive thing with four fluttering chambers. We passed over a whole face — with eyes, two mini-nostrils and a mouth — just as the baby let out a huge yawn.
It was astonishing: There was a real person in there doing real-person things.
It started moving. It raised up its arms and kicked out its legs. The doctor dragged her wand back toward the baby's crotch area to see what we could see.
"Oh, wait!" she said, "Looks like you've got a girl."
That's when I started crying. I'd been telling everyone — myself included — that I didn't have a gender preference. But I heard the word 'girl' and felt a rush of joy. How incredible, after all these weeks carrying her, to learn something about this girl, to watch her spring to life.
Now to start thinking about names.
Megan James is the managing editor of
Kids VT. She'll be blogging about her pregnancy until the baby arrives — hopefully in early May.