When I went in for my first pregnancy ultrasound, I was under the impression that the entire situation would be exactly like the scenes played out on television and in movies. I figured I would stay in your clothes, the technician would put jelly on my belly and push a remote-looking thing around until he or she saw my baby. Wrong. There are many things about pregnancy ultrasounds that no one tells you; things that aren't shown on television or in movies; things that, honestly, every new mom should know, as this wealth of knowledge would definitely make those ultrasound visits much, much easier.
Every single one of my ultrasounds was unique and, during every single one, I did not know what to expect. Sure, I had a general idea of what was going to happen and what was expected of me and what I would be learning and/or seeing, but I never knew for sure what would happen when I walked through my doctor's office. I wondered if the technician would be able to find my baby or if I would get pictures. I wondered if they would be able to tell me the sex or if something would be "wrong." I wondered a lot of things, honestly, and the undeniable fact that, hey, I had never done this before, only added to my curiosity.
Pregnancy ultrasounds can be a bit nerve racking, simply because we don't every talk about what to really expect. There's no denying that, once the ultrasounds are over and your baby is in your arms, there are a few things that would have found helpful to know before going in for pregnancy ultrasounds. Here are, just a few, of mine.
They Will Do All Kinds Of Things, As Soon As You Get There
When you go in for an ultrasound, you are not just going in so you can see the baby. Be prepared for a flood of pokes and prodding, by doctors and nurses, to check your iron, among other things (my least favorite part). Most importantly, sure you need to pee when you arrive, because they will be wanting a urine sample. Ugh.
They Will Be Exciting...
This can be true whether it is your first child or fifth child, your first ultrasound this pregnancy or your third. Getting the opportunity to see your baby and hear a heartbeat is something everyone looks forward to. It's pretty incredible to look inside yourself and see the human being you're actively growing. I mean, that's just amazing, you guys.
...But They'll Also Be Scary
While seeing your growing baby and listening to a heartbeat is the literal best, the ominous chances that something could be "wrong" is the absolute worst. Every ultrasound visit I attended, while wonderful, was also tainted with the slight possibility that something would be wrong with my baby, or myself.
They Will Not Always Be Painless
When I was pregnant with my daughter and went in for my first ultrasound, I was still in the first trimester. Since I wasn't showing, they had to do an internal ultrasound which, you know, sucks. Not only do the put a camera inside of you to see the baby, but they also twist and turn the camera inside of you so that they can get the best pictures and views of the baby, with little-to-no regard for your pain tolerance. Ouch.
You Will Get Pictures Each Time You Go
This is the best part, you guys.
You Will Learn A Lot
This is a time you can ask your technician all kinds of questions and I promise you will learn a lot. If there is something "wrong," your technician won't be able to diagnose a potential problem (that's the doc's job), but if things are going swimmingly, you can ask questions about the baby's heart size or what that one little dot on the screen is, and your technician (more often than not) will be happy to oblige.
You Can Do 3D Ultrasounds, So Just Ask
Sure, they're a little creepy, but 3D ultrasounds are a thing and, if you want one, all you have to do is ask. Technology is pretty great, you guys.
It Is, Sometimes, Difficult To Find The Baby
When you go in for your ultrasound (especially your first ultrasound) don't be surprised if you can't find the baby. In fact, plenty of people have trouble finding their baby the first time. After all, the ultrasound is black and white and grey and has all kinds of indistinguishable shapes and "negative spots" and your growing fetus is, really, the size of a tiny bean.
It May Take A While Before They Can Determine The Sex
Determining the sex (if you so choose) can take a while. It requires the baby to be cooperative and, well, I'm sure you know that babies aren't always up for playing by the rules. As difficult as it may be, try to be patient. Your technician knows all the tricks to try to get the baby to cooperate and will do his/her best to be able to tell you the sex of the baby (if you would like to know).
The Sex They Tell You May Be Wrong
Sometimes, though, the technician will be wrong. Like I've said before, ultrasounds are difficult things to read, simply because they aren't in color and really are a big conglomeration of shapes. Don't be surprised if the technician tells you one thing and when the baby is born, you find out something completely different.