Hello Folks. Yesterday I accompanied my lovely wife to the doctor’s office to take a sneak peek at the kiddo in utero, and boy what a cool little ‘field trip’ that turned out to be. For those Dudes out there who have never had the pleasure of spying on a fetus, I’ll give you the down and dirty…
The first thing that happens when you arrive for your appointment is the pregnant woman (we are going to call her Momma) gets her vitals checked out. It is important to make sure that Momma is on track with blood pressure and weight gain. We don’t want the baby to be hungry or tweaked out, so a quick check of the vitals is imperative. Everybody loves a chunky baby, right?
Next, Momma gets interviewed by the Nurse. There is a long list of questions that the nurse reads out, which I can only guess was written by a military interrogator. I’m not quite sure what some of these questions had to do with pregnancy, but if anyone can tell me what “when was the last time that you ate a peanut butter sandwich after watching the episode of Grey’s Anatomy when Izzy over-sympathized with a dying patient?” has to do with incubating babies, please let me know.
After the nurse is happy with the answers to all of the questions, you are moved to an examination room. Here is where things start to get a little interesting. There is a small television monitor plugged into an outlet alongside the exam table. This is the ultrasound machine. This nifty gadget is what the Ol’ Sawbones uses to photograph and monitor the baby. I’m not entirely sure how this device works, but I assume that it runs on the same principals as SONAR. Like a mighty Spruance Class Destroyer tracking down Soviet subs, this precision instrument pings sound waves through the soft tissue of Momma’s belly and gets a return off of the baby, which is displayed on the screen for our viewing pleasure. I wish that I could have been given free reign over that apparatus for fifteen minutes. I could have literally looked into some bodily mysteries that have always eluded me, but that is for another forum. Back to the baby…
Next, the Doc squirts some aloe-vera type stuff all over Momma’s belly and begins to rub a probe around until we get a good heartbeat from the baby. This part can be particularly stressful. I find this akin to an elderly man scanning the beach with a metal detector, patiently canvassing miles of sandy shoreline, listening for that sweet soft beep. Once you have located the baby’s heartbeat, you are ready for the fun to begin, but do not let the brevity of this description fool you, dear readers. It can take an awful long time to pinpoint the baby’s tiny heartbeat. I don’t know where our little gremlin (this is a pet name, I assure you) could have possibly been hiding, but it must be part ninja because it dropped a fetal smoke bomb and disappeared for a good two minutes. Vanished. Kapoof. After a couple of very long minutes of searching, we found it and relaxed a little. We still had a few things left to do; we had to get a look at our little miracle and do a little prenatal paparazzi-ing.
Once the heartbeat is found, it’s face time. This is when you get up-close and personal with the baby. The Doc switches out the previously used probe for a small instrument that looks like a paddle. This is used to peer through Momma and into Baby. The Doc moved that paddle all around my wife’s belly until she found the ‘sweet spot’ where we could get the best look at our new addition. Now, my wife is only 13 weeks along, so I wasn’t really prepared for what I was about to see. I expected to see a little tadpole-ish dude or dudette looking up at me like an alien who has been trapped inside my wife and cannot figure out how in the heck it got there. Boy was I wrong! The little person that appeared on the screen before me actually looked like a tiny little human. Not a tadpole, not an alien, but a human being. Granted, I couldn’t see a lot of details and this machine was definitely not an HD Sony Bravia, but I could certainly ascertain that this little guy looked a lot like me. It already had arms. It had legs. The little chap had the whole kit and caboodle! From what the Doc said, the only body part that has not formed at this point is the lungs, but it’s all gravy because the baby uses Momma’s blood for oxygen. Kind of spooky, like we have a sparkly little Edward incubating in my wife! Living on blood…yuck.
Back on topic. I’m pretty sure that the baby takes after me because we have a tiny show off on our hands. As soon as we got a good view of the fetus, it started cart wheeling all over my wife’s placenta. This baby was dropping it like it was HOT! We could see the little arms moving. The hands were opening and closing, the feet kicking, the booty shaking. Our kiddo was a rockin’. I must admit that this was a pretty cool experience. The Doctor takes some snapshots of the baby while explaining what you are looking at on the screen. The pictures, kind of like second rate Polaroids, are printed out of the bottom of the machine. Just like the photo booth at the mall, but free! Either way, the snapshots never really come out exactly like what you are actually looking at on the screen. The picture labeled “Baby’s Head and Arms” came out of the printer looking like a dragon that was attacking a medieval castle, but we accepted the portraits none-the-less.
The last thing that the doctor does is some measuring. Doc uses a digital tape measure to figure out if the baby is on the right track, growth wise, and lets you know the age. Cool stuff. Our baby looked good to go, so we were both very happy. All in all, it was a great experience. I enjoyed spying on our little one. Now we are waiting for our next visit when we get to see if my superior genetics have produced another son or if my wife’s secret prayers have been answered for another daughter (I know you want another girl Baby!) Either way, I’m glad that all was quiet on the “southern front”. Until next time, stay classy.