The Ultrasound

Morning sickness was not an appropriate term. All-day sickness would be much more accurate, as it rears its ugly head morning, afternoon, and night. Not an ideal feeling, especially when you need to compete in a bike race. Incidentally, graviditetsillamående means pregnancy sickness.

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Lisa finishing the Biking portion of the Tjej Swedish Classic.

Nevertheless, the summer had gone by. Lisa’s stomach had grown. But we were still in the beginning phases of pregnancy. In the right light, at the right part of the day, you could still see the outline of her 6-pack!

But we had passed the 12-week hurdle. The Swedish ultrasound typically takes place during week 18 or 19.

We were at the very beginning of week 20, having just come back from a vacation in Croatia. And we were quite eager to complete the ultrasound.

We entered the waiting room and sat patiently, exchanging small dialogue, as we both sat there in anticipation.

“Lisa,” a midwife called. We promptly nervously stood up.

“If you would like to be a part of the study, please come this way,” she said.

False alarm. But we went anyways. Uppsala Hospital is a teaching and research hospital. As such, this was our third research study that we were asked to be involved in. It involved having a sample of her blood taken, although currently there was no purpose to the study–apparently that would be created later. Being researchers, Lisa (we) agreed to partake anyhow.

We came back out to the drab waiting room. A minute later a voice called.

“Lisa.”

After some basic pleasantries, complete with handshaking, name exchanges, and eye contact, we were off and walking down the wall.

I couldn’t help but notice that every midwife was woman.

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We went into the room. It was empty, except for a large complicated-looking machine, a larger flat screen tv, a hospital bed and an extra chair. We quickly assumed our respective positions.

I asked if I could take a picture. “No, not in here,” the midwife said in a stern but soft voice.

The midwife wasted no time and proceeded to check out Lisa’s tummy.

Holy shit! There’s my kid! On that big screen! That’s my child!

Even now, two months after getting the ultrasound, I tear up thinking about it.

Having studied father-child relationships within healthcare for years, I knew what to expect. I knew that most fathers feel their first true feelings of parenthood when they see the ultrasound. I knew that Lisa was pregnant. I knew I was already connected to my child.

But seeing my baby up on that screen gave a whole new sense to being pregnant. And Lisa also felt more closely connected. How could you not? (or at least that’s how we felt).

We couldn’t help ourselves from holding each others’ hands. Touching each other, while we stared at this screen showing our baby.

In the meantime, the midwife was performing her exam. Silence fell upon the room.

The midwife was extremely nice and friendly and tried to provide the best answers she could; and she did a good job.

Lisa, I noticed, said a lot of emotion-based statements, such as “oh wow, the heart is beating so fast. That’s so cool.”

While I asked a lot of statistical-type questions: “how many beats per minute is the heart beating?”

We were both concerned–but Lisa made statements as though the glass were half full, while most of my statements were seen as the glass half empty.

I noticed I was constantly concerned about “what if,” as in “how wide should the head be, and what if it’s not that wide, what does that mean?”

The midwife answered my questions without putting either of us into a panic. Without me asking questions though, the midwife never talked, with two exceptions: One at the very beginning: “do you want any of the extra tests?”

“No,” we replied unanimously, having already read a brochure and decided ahead of time that they were not necessary for us.

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Information pamphlet we received before going to the ultrasound, making us aware of the various tests parents-to-be can get.

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And one at the very end: “do you want to know the gender?”

“No, we’d like it to be a surprise,” Lisa replied.

“Well I’d like to know,” I said half-jokingly. “You could just whisper it to me.”

“No I can’t do that,” the midwife replied.

It wasn’t completely clear if she took me seriously and just wanted to respect Lisa’s wishes, or if she thought I was joking and therefore played along.

Either way, we were given a diagnosis of–“as far as I can tell, based off of the ultrasound, everything looks good.”
She continued noting, “But you are actually at the beginning of week 19 instead of the original guess of week 20. So your new due date is the 25th of January 2016.”

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Week 19!
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