We recently celebrated our little baby boy’s first birthday. It was very exciting and also a very emotional time for me as his mom. I remember getting a card in the mail from CST (Canadian Scholarship Trust) wishing Q a happy first birthday. As much as I knew this day was coming, seeing those words on that card made me burst into tears. (If you are mom, you will understand)
This brought me back to thinking about the day he was born and then even further back to the day we found out we were pregnant. We didn’t get an ultrasound until 20 weeks with Q, because everything was going great and we were pretty sure about the dates.
I remembered going for my very first ultrasound, when we finally found out we were pregnant the first time around. It was not the best experience for us, that very first ultrasound, but the second one was amazing! (I will talk about why later on so keep reading)
So here is what you can expect!
To see your baby
When your doctor sends you for your first ultrasound, it is to ensure the due date and the baby’s progress so far. At the end, you get an ultrasound picture from the tech to keep. The tech is not allowed to tell you anything about their findings. They only do the scan and the doctor interprets the results.
I’m sure you have probably seen this on TV, but when you get there, you lie down on a bed and lift up your shirt, to reveal your tummy. The tech puts some gel on your lower abdomen and then uses a probe to scan the area. Using sound waves, you will see a picture on the screen of what’s going on inside.
You may not see much during this first ultrasound. The baby is quite small in these first stages. You may not hear their heart beat at this point either; a baby’s heart starts to beat at around 6 weeks. You may see and hear it if your ultrasound is around the 8 week mark.
Drink lots of water
You have to drink a lot of water about a couple of hours before the appointment, and you cannot empty your bladder until the tech tells you so. Be prepared to use those kegel muscles! (also you should be doing kegel exercises throughout your pregnancy; they can help with delivery and recovery after labour)
There can also be an internal ultrasound scan, if the tech has trouble finding the baby or it is very early in your pregnancy. It is not painful at all or anything to be worried about, just a more direct way to see the baby.
After the tech is done taking all the measurements, you get a picture of the little miracle in your uterus! Your doctor will go over the findings with you at your next appointment.
How many ultrasounds will I get?
Usually, you will only get one or two ultrasounds during your entire pregnancy. You will get a dating ultrasound around 8 weeks, then another one at 20 weeks to see how baby is doing. At the 20 week ultrasound, you can also find out the gender if you wish!
If you don’t get good news
I hate writing about this because it was a painful experience for us, but I want to give someone else out there hope if they are going through a similar situation.
At our very first ultrasound, close to Christmas that year, we were told we were 99% going to have a miscarriage. The tech couldn’t find a heartbeat for our baby. She said it looked like there was a pregnancy, but that something happened and it didn’t evolve past the first stages. We were supposed to be at the 8 week mark and by then there should be a heartbeat; however, there was no heartbeat.
They said it was very common for this to happen and that we could try again. That it happens in 25% of cases. Like that’s supposed to make me feel better somehow?
I felt heartbroken. It was the worst news I had ever heard. I was completely devastated.
They told me to go to the doctor that same day and to come back in two weeks if nothing happens. So, I went to the doctor, who repeated these same horrible news, and then proceeded to wait for the next few days for something to happen.
The waiting was the worst. Except, as day by day went by, nothing happened. It was after Christmas when we had our second ultrasound scheduled, two weeks after our first one. I had read anything I could find online about miscarriage and what to expect, and if you really are going to have one.
Turns out, if the due date is wrong, and you are actually 4 weeks along, not 8 like they thought, you would not hear a heartbeat. You would not see much on the ultrasound. You would see exactly what we saw, just the start of a pregnancy.
So, if you got these news, there is still hope. I pray that this is the case for you too if you are going through this.
We got the best news at that second ultrasound. We learned we were six weeks along and everything looked good. There are no words to express the relief and gratitude I felt that day. It was a miracle! Nine months later, we had a healthy baby girl!
If you are going through a difficult time and need someone to talk to, please feel free to reach out and I will get back to you. I cannot imagine the pain of losing something so precious, but I was very close to it. My thoughts and prayers are with you <3
I loved getting a 3D ultrasound, with both babies. It was so cool to see and I would definitely recommend it, though they are a bit pricey. They say the best time to go is between 20-26 if you want to see amazing movements. Between 25-28 weeks is recommended if you want to see more details and a closer image of how baby will look like at birth. We went around 28 weeks with Q and I wish we had gone earlier, because he was bigger and had less room to move around, therefore we could see less clearly.
Also, if you are in the Lower Mainland, this place is great!