Now that I'm staring my son's second birthday in the face, I'm pretty nostalgic these days. In the middle of planning and buying presents and trying not to give him the bike we bought him (it's hard to wait, OK? I am so excited), I am revisiting the past almost-three years and remembering what it was like to get pregnant, have a baby, and raise that baby to be a, now, almost-two-year-old. One of my favorite memories was the firs time I heard the words "you're pregnant," and all the things every mom thinks during her first ultrasound that I definitely, definitely, thought.
My pregnancy was extremely unplanned. I couldn't have been more shocked when the ultrasound technician not only confirmed that I was pregnant, but that I was pregnant with twins. My pregnancy was very difficult and, at 19 weeks, I lost one of my twin sons, however, that first ultrasound was the moment I realized I was going to be the mother of twins, even if one died and, when I birthed him, would never take a breath or a cry. It was the first time someone looked at me like I was (or at least, could be) a mother, and while it essentially was the beginning of a very painful road, it was also the beginning of the most amazing journey; one that ended with my son; one that has made me a better human being.
Because that first ultrasound can have any woman feeling excited and nervous and anxious and scared and any other number of juxtaposing feelings that really shouldn't exist simultaneously, but do, a woman may silently think a slew of valid, hilarious, wonderful and scary things. If that's not the perfect example of motherhood, I honestly don't know what is. So, with that in mind, here are a few things every mom thinks during her first ultrasound, because it's weird, you guys. It's wonderful and scary and weird.
"Wait, So That's The Baby?!"
During my first ultrasound, I remember the tech moving the screen towards me and pointing to not one, but two little dots. "You're definitely pregnant, with twins." Um, nope. Absolutely not. No way.
I told the poor, kind, completely capable technician that she clearly didn't know how to count to two, because there was just no way. Again, she pointed to two little dots. "Those are your twins," she said. "Those dots are babies and, yes, there are two." It's pretty insane (and incredible) that two tiny specs on a black and white screen can change life so quickly.
"The Baby Looks Like A Bean From The Burrito I Ate For Lunch..."
I remembered thinking that the dots looked like beans I had probably eaten earlier in the day. I mean, I know the ultrasound technician goes to school and is trained to do the task at hand but, um, are you sure you're not just looking at my stomach and, in turn, my lunch?
"How Is That Tiny Little Bean Making Me So Sick?!"
I know the science behind morning sickness, but it doesn't make it any easier to accept. How is that tiny little bean of a fetus (or two, or even more) making me sick all damn day? How is that tiny little speck calling all the damn shots? Why is that little nugget telling me what I can and cannot eat, and randomly deciding that rice with ranch dressing (hello weird cravings) is a good idea?
"Alright, Ultrasound Tech, Easy With The Gel..."
Look, I understand it's purpose and appreciate when you either heat the gel up, or at least give me some warning before putting that icy cold goo on my stomach. However, be frugal with that stuff, OK? It's sticky and it doesn't wash off very easily and it's a weird feeling. Don't use half a tube on my tummy. Not. Necessary.
"Oh No, I Don't See The Baby..."
Just like Rachel from Friends I, too, had trouble differentiating a fetus (or two) from negative space on the ultrasound screen. Wait, that's my badder? Oh, a kidney? So where, exactly, is the actual mini-human I'm growing? Oh, that little dot. Got it.
"...Oh Wait, There's The Bean. I'll Just Keep Staring At The Speck."
I stared at those two little specks on that tiny screen forever. Really, it was out of complete disbelief. I thought that maybe, if I kept staring at the two little dots my brain would catch up to my current reality. Eventually. However, it was also my shameless attempt to keep my eye on the fetus' and, you know, not "lose them" again.
"Don't Cry. Don't Cry. Keep It Together. Don't Cry."
This is an exercise in futility, my friends. However, it's a valiant one and one that I have definitely tried a time or two (or seven).
"Do You Think They'll Let Me Take An Extra 20 Or 30 Pictures Home?'
While I didn't say this thought out loud, I did, eventually, make this request. I have no shame, what can I say. I wanted all the pictures. I wanted to laminate them and pass them out as business cards. "Look guys, I'm in the business of baby-making, now. My body is literally working as we speak." I was so excited (and scared and overwhelmed and did I mention scared?) that the more pictures I had, the more real my pregnancy felt.
"I Already Owe My Mom So Many Apologies..."
The list just kept growing throughout my pregnancy (sorry for the constant morning sickness and fatigue, mom) and labor and delivery (so sorry for the pain) and now that I'm a mom (sorry for everything). However, it didn't take very long for me to realize that I would be apologizing to my mother for a very, very long time.
"Wow, This Is Really Happening"
Even if your pregnancy was part of your plan and something you've been working hard at experiencing, it can be a surreal moment. My pregnancy was a complete surprise and not at all planned, so my brain needed a while to catch up with the situation at hand. It was just, well, unbelievable.
"Please Don't Let Anything Bad Happen"
If you're one of the 1 in 4 women who will experience a pregnancy loss or miscarriage in her lifetime, that first ultrasound can be just as anxiety-inducing as it is exciting. You want to feel nothing but absolute joy and bask in that moment, but the fear that something will go "wrong" creeps it's way into the corner of your brain and threatens to ruin your day. It's normal. It's natural. Hell, you're human; there's no way you can help it.
"Oh No, We're Going To Listen To The Heartbeat Now..."
While I was exciting to listen to the heartbeats, I also just knew I was going to lose my sh*t and cry like I've never cried before. Crying in front of total strangers isn't necessarily my "thing," so I wasn't too thrilled for the emotional rollercoaster I was getting strapped in for.
"...Don't Cry. Don't Cry. Keep It Together. Don't Cry."
Seriously. All. Freakin'. Appointment. Long.
"That Is The Best Sound I've Ever Heard"
The sound of those heartbeats. I mean, wow. It was incredible. It was unbelievable, yet there they were; beating in rapid succession and creating a sound I didn't know I needed to hear. It's magic, you guys. Just magic.
"Ultrasound Techs Are Emotional Terrorists"
I love you, ultrasound technicians, but you guys are emotional terrorists. I mean, dear baby Jesus, you should come with a warning. Something like, "Will use gross gel to make you cry a bucket of happy/nervous/scared/excited tears. Proceed with caution."