Today Mr. Wetzel and I went in for our first ultrasound scan. Our baby is 34 weeks and a few days old. The results? Everything was normal.
For those of you who don’t know…
As I mentioned previously on the blog, we hadn’t planned on getting an ultrasound because we didn’t feel it was necessary for our situation. We weren’t scared of ultrasounds, and we didn’t have anything against them. We just didn’t think they were necessary given the fact that our pregnancy was progressing so normally.
At our last midwife visit, my belly measured 2 cm too big, and Amy Gordon (our midwife) recommended that we get an ultrasound as a precautionary measure. She was concerned that there was too much amniotic fluid and that the fluid was causing my belly to get big. On her recommendation, we decided to go for it.
The details from the ultrasound…
As it turns out, there is nothing wrong. There is exactly the right amount of amniotic fluid. The baby is 5 pounds 4 ounces, in the 49th percentile for weight. The heart rate was normal and healthy. Baby is positioned well for birth. The ultrasound tech just kept saying “normal,” “normal,” “average,” “normal,” “healthy” to describe everything.
When the M.D. that Amy referred us to, Dr. McMahon, came in to go over the ultrasound results and answer any questions we had, I really appreciated it that she cared about our perspective and decisions to avoid ultrasounds up until this point. She supported our decision to use a midwife, and said that she loves midwifes. Dr. McMahon made a point of asking us if our views and desires had been respected up until that point. I was so happy to be referred to someone with medical expertise that was open-minded, supportive and wanted to be informed by our opinions and decisions as the parents.
As we went over the ultrasound pictures, Dr. McMahon was exuberant about our little one. At one point, she said, “I know you didn’t want an ultrasound at first, but I might as well tell you: your baby is perfect.” That seemed to be her favorite word to describe the baby: perfect. She used it over a dozen times.
She answered the questions about amniotic fluid right away, and then went on to tell us about our baby’s other features. While she was examining the baby’s heart, we had a sweet exchange:
McMahon, “Your baby’s heart is very strong. It’s perfect, just like everything else.” She looked at me and saw I was neither surprised nor relieved. “But you already knew that as the Mama, didn’t you?”
I said, “I already knew I was going to love the baby’s heart no matter how perfect or imperfect it was.”
McMahon sat back and smiled, as if she rarely if ever heard a patient respond this way. “I really appreciate your attitude,” she said. “We really do end up loving whatever God gives us, don’t we.”
An ultrasound is a neutral thing, neither good nor bad. It’s how we use it that assigns meaning to it.
I’m glad Mr. Wetzel and I decided to get an ultrasound, because I believe it was the responsible thing to do in our situation. But, if we never have a red flag in a pregnancy again, this will be our last ultrasound. We’re not afraid of ultrasounds. They are useful in certain situations. We just don’t believe they are necessary unless we have warning signs that merit the consideration of medical testing. I suppose our overall attitude could be summarized thus: “If it ain’t broke, don’t test it.”
If we were able to bless Dr. McMahon with our attitude and our expressions of unconditional love to our baby, then I am grateful to have had the chance to do so.
Just because we have “a perfect baby,” Mr. Wetzel and I are under no delusions that parenting will be easy or that our child will actually be perfect (if such a thing really exists). We are grateful that our child is healthy, but we don’t expect perfection from our little one. We expect our baby to be exactly what he or she is: a baby. A person. Someone who learns, grows, makes mistakes and has difficulties to overcome.
The ultrasound today didn’t change anything for us; however, I think it showed us a reflection of who we are. We never cared about results. We do the best we can to care for our baby, and we lean into each other, as well as our community, for support along the way. We seek relationship, not statistics and confirmation of normality. In life, we want to set the examples for our child of unconditional love, intentional joy and deep faith. And we started a long time ago.