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Don't Hesitate to Ask

Ashley Fraxedas

34w1d- I learned an invaluable lesson today: It doesn’t hurt to ask, especially when you’re pregnant.

After an emotionally disastrous 32-week appointment, I’m happy to say today’s 34-week visit was completely redeeming — I snuck in an apparently forbidden extra ultrasound. After 20 weeks, as long as everything is going well, you don’t get another sneak peek at the baber. This didn’t bother me for a while. But then 32 weeks hit, and the every-two-week-appointment rigmarole was starting to wear me down. Blood pressure. Check. Fundal height. Check. Heart beat. Check. What about the other stuff? How’s the amniotic fluid? How’s her lung functionality? How’s her positioning?

We hadn’t had a medical ultrasound in months, since back when she was a mere avocado. Now she’s a large cantaloupe! Oh the changes! I was in serious need of some positive reinforcement. I needed a pacifier, something to hold me over for the next few weeks. It’s like the time between vacation days off of work, or the time between feedings when you’re a baby. You’re fine for a little while, but then your body screams for a long weekend or more milk. The lull between 20 and 34 weeks was proving to be too great for me. I needed to see her. So I finally got up the guts to ask for an ultrasound at my last appointment. My doctor indulged, though hesitantly and with a look on his face that said, “You’re ridiculous, and you need to chill out.”

Today was the greatest doctor visit since my 20-week appointment. First, I lucked out and got a different ultrasound tech (this one was much warmer and nicer!). She checked all the vital organs again (everything’s looking good), measured the abdomen (chunky and healthy), measured the head (getting huge) and gave me an all-around thumbs up on the baby’s physical development. I finally got my positive feedback that I so desperately needed as a first-time mom.

Now that I’m so far along, I was also curious as to how she is positioned. Turns out, she’s already head down! Woohoo! No wonder I’m feeling so much low pressure. And to appease everyone who’s telling me, “You’re way too small for 34 weeks,” Abby weighs more than the average 34-week baby — 5.1 pounds!

But the best part? It made Jason and I realize that we’re so close. Abby is now a full-fledged baby that doesn’t even fit on the ultrasound screen. The first time we saw her she was the size of a grain of rice. Today, we got to see her opening and closing her eyes. We got to see her sucking on her little hand. And I’m fairly certain that she waved ‘hi’ to us. Our baby can now function in the real world.

What a difference a few weeks can make. I left my 32-week appointment in tears. I got tenuous answers to all my anxiety-ridden questions and not even a hint of positive reinforcement that things were going as they should. Why didn’t I feel comfortable requesting this ultrasound weeks ago? Today, in 20 minutes, I got peace of mind that my baby is healthy — I have enough amniotic fluid, she is growing steadily, her vital organs are functioning. I wasn’t asking for an unreasonable favor. This is the doctor’s job.

With about 6 weeks left in my pregnancy, I’m re-inspired. I now feel like I can sit back and enjoy the rest of my pregnancy. Peace of mind — and all I had to do was ask.

Did you get any ultrasounds after 20 weeks? What brought you peace of mind during your final pregnant weeks?