Sunday, 3 March 2013

12 week scan

For the vast majority of women in the UK the first confirmation that their pregnancy test isn't a mere chemical blip and morning sickness is more than wishful thinking is their 12 week scan.

Not so for me.

Thanks to the IVF I had a scan at 6 weeks - where I saw a heart beat. A scan at 8 weeks for a glimpse of what looked like a frog. At 10 weeks it had transformed into a praying mantis, with tiny little arms doing what looked like extravagant feeding gestures.

But the 12 week scan is still special.

Not just because it is the first time you get scanned through your stomach rather than having a dildo shoved up your bits. After five rounds of IVF and more scans than I can begin to count, I don't mind a bit of internal action, but there is something of a graduation about having an external scan.

It isn't just because this 6 centimeter long thing in your uterus suddenly looks recognisably humanoid. So at last I could start to believe that the blob of cells is shape-shifting into something baby-like.

It is because it is a massive relief to have made it this far. There are still no guarentees. But the 12 week scan is such a huge milestone in terms of chances that you will go to term.

The scan itself was a shocker. I thought I knew what to expect. I was smug about remembering not to whip my pants off and just baring my belly. Every other scan I'd had took a few minutes, a quick check for the heart beat, measure the length and I was out.

Not this time.

It took about an hour, they measured EVERYTHING.  The Doctor pointed out the anatomical details and we'd give what we thought was an appropriate response; "Good it's got one" we murmured, when she showed us the brain; "Two is excellent" was our response to being shown two eyes; "That's lucky" when she pointed out it had kidneys.

I've read about other people's scans and how they wished it would last forever, this magical experience of seeing the life inside them.



Ten minutes was facinating, twenty minutes was diverting, but after that ... well I figured we'd seen enough, it looked good to us. By the forty minute mark the husband and I 'fessed up afterwards he was wondering whether it'd be rude to check his emails and I was contemplating a nap.

Every so often to get Doug into the right position the doctor did what I can only refer to as etch-a-sketching me. Furiously rubbing my stomach with the scanner so the ripples of flab re-aligned the baby (BABY!!) to a more visible position. She did at one point have to resort to the dildo-cam for a particularly tricky measurement.

The amount of detail they can go into was astonishing. I knew they'd measure the nuchal fold to check the likelihood of Down's Syndrome but they went further measuring the blood flow to the liver and how a specific valve in the heart was performing. May I remind you at this point the whole thing is a mere 6cm long.

The conclusion of the scan combined with a blood test is that this baby has a 1 in 54245 chance of having Down's Syndrome, odds we are very comfortable with, so we aren't going to have to make a decision about having the amniocentesis.

I was petrified every day between the positive pregnancy test and the 12 week scan that I was going to lose the baby. Every single day I was convinced that something had gone, or was going, wrong. However since the scan I have been much more relaxed I still can't get my head round the idea that I might have an actual baby but, bizarrely, I am quite comfortable with the idea that I am genuinely pregnant.


  1. To quote the immortal Del Boy: 'It's a BAYBEEEEE!'

  2. Jeez. That is a long scan. I was still nuts with anxiety after 12 weeks, and bought a baby heartbeat monitor that looks like a child's personal stereo from the eighties. Pink.

    You're welcome to borrow it! x

    1. Thanks for the offer but I think that would make me paranoid. Sorry the 'pox kept you away today.

    2. No wozzas. Let's set up a date soon, whenever you're feeling better. Need to see bump!!!!!!!!!!!


  3. An hour?!? I'd have been checking my emails, with a "Let me know when you're done, so we can hear a summary" to the doctor. I guess I had some that were long, but I don't think any of them took an hour.

    Don't worry - there's a while to adjust to the actual baby part of the whole thing!

  4. We were high risk with twins and having problems and sometimes ended up having scans every week (or more than once a week) towards the end. I felt guilty admitting to people who only got to see their babies once or twice during a pregnancy that (after seeing that everything was OK each time) it got boring after a while...

    And, every time, the sonographer would say things like "here are the kidneys, here is the bladder, here is a leg" and we'd make those same "ooh, ah, uh-huh" sounds because we weren't sure what else to say!

    Even with the scans, I don't think I truly believed there would be babies at the end until they actually came out!!

  5. Amazing nuchal test results - don't think I've ever heard of a result so low!

    I'm with you on the long scans - 20 week scan is even longer.... We had a trainee doing ours and walked out 2 hours later. All I wanted to do was fall asleep once she'd told us the sex.

  6. An hour does sound long, though "from the other side" also very fascinating. I'm so happy everything looks good with Doug!

  7. Aw yay!! My first trimester screenings were always pretty lengthy too. So glad that Doug is doing well! :)

  8. yay doug! I loved the 12 week scan, so cool to see it actually look like a baby and moving around like babies do.

  9. This makes me happy in my heart.
    (I got bored during my scan too).

  10. Doug... has "dug" in .... WONDERFUL !!!

  11. I'm so glad to read this news, and very happy for you at those odds (and that there's no reason for an amnio). And, yes, that 12 week scan is exhaustive (and kind of exhausting, too).

  12. That is great news. I havent checked your blog for a wee while as been busy with the boy but am beyond delighted. All of my favourite IVF etc bloggers are getting pregnant and popping out babies. Thank goodness for the test tube. Delighted for you. We are embarking on project sibling - bonkers probably - so am reentering the blogosphere so will be following your pregnancy til its happy conclusion. Hx (bachelorsbutton)

  13. Just found your blog...

    Congrats on the good scan and the good odds. Mine were also in the 1 in 50,000 range. Feels nice. But holy moly, that is a LONG scan! I think our whole appt - scan and discussing results - was maybe 30 minutes? Crazy.


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