Scans. Very exciting days. 12 week, where you get the ‘yes there’s definitely a baby in there’ confirmation and its your first glimpse of your son or daughter to be. The slightly alien like creature is normally projected on screen by the Sonographer for you to see. I was instantly amazed at how big it was … but was soon told that actually it was only about 2cm big, which lets face it, is a good thing at 12 weeks giving birth wise! My Sonographer also casually announced that I had a 7cm cyst and then moved on to talking about something else. wow wow wow wait what? A cyst that was currently four times the size of my foetus?! I was slightly alarmed and needed clarification. But apparently they are fairly common – in brief, sometimes when an egg is released from its follicle, that follicle can fill up with fluid temporarily but will 9 times out of 10 deflate on its own and disappear within a few days/weeks with no harm or discomfort to mother or baby. Otherwise, all was well at the 3 month mark.
The 20 week scan. This is when the fun really begins. The previously mentioned cyst was no more which was great news and my baby looked a lot less alien like and seemed to be developing some excellent limbs which were squirming about all over the place. The level of detail they go into is fascinating. The length and width of everything possible is checked – head, upper and lower legs, upper and lower arms, spine etc. Things you haven’t thought of (thankfully or you’d drive yourself mad) like if your baby has a cleft pallet or two eye sockets are monitored and by far one of the most amazing things is seeing the 4 chambers in it’s heart. They also look at where your placenta is positioned. Mine was at the front, which wasn’t a problem but they said it may act like a cushion so the baby kicking may not feel as prominent at first. I believe some issues can occur if you have a low lying placenta – placenta praevia – this is where the placenta is at the bottom which can be partially or fully covering the cervix. If this is still the case towards the end of your pregnancy, the baby’s natural ‘exit route’ is blocked, therefore you may be required to have a caesarean section.
Occasionally the Sonographer would go very quiet and squint at the screen – this put me slightly on edge and I had to fight every instinct to ask immediately if there was anything wrong. However thankfully, I’d heard from plenty of Mums to be that this often happens because they are concentrating rather than there being anything to worry about. However, that said the 20 week scan is your last scan for a good while so I maintain that if you do have questions or there’s anything you’re worried about, always ask.
The 20 week scan is also the time where in most cases you can find out the sex of your baby. I say in most cases, as I’ve heard that sometimes the little one just won’t play ball (pardon the pun) and gets themselves into positions making it impossible for the Sonographer to tell. We opted not to know. Then bizarrely our Sonographer said ‘oooh is it weird that I know and you don’t?’ ….. not sure that’s entirely what she was supposed to say professionally, but there we go!
The NHS don’t currently provide a 3D scan, however you can pay to have one privately. Caught up in the excitement, we decided to do this. Hmmm …. I’m not so sure about it. I don’t know really what I was expecting but ultimately you see a yellow version of your baby that looks like it’s been carved out of cheddar cheese. I was so weirded out by it I asked the Sonographer if that was what all 3D scans looked like, just incase in fact somehow my baby was more cheesy looking than others – apparently not.