Sunday, August 28, 2011

First Introductions - Meeting With Ultrasound

 Well - I guess it's time to introduce you to the newest part of our lives - though it's still a long while before this one makes it's way into the world proper. I'm happy to say that T-chan and I are expecting our second child, due in early March 2012. Actually, it's been a long time coming... and not a particularly easy time for us trying for our second child. We were very lucky with L-kun, and had no dramas whatsoever. Well - in the conception part at least, but that's a different story. It was very different this time around however; not least because we're both almost 5 years older (and everything starts falling off, or falling apart at our age).

Now we don't know the sex yet (that'll most likely wait till the 20 weeks scan), but we do have a working name. Before L-kun was born (we only named him after birth) he was simply "+1". A very Google-friendly non-gender-specific-sort-of name. Well, I guess it may come as no surprise that our new baby will henceforth be known (temporarily) as +2. Of course, some times the working title sticks - so we should be careful.

Now as many of you know the first trimester is generally the most tricky... so we haven't really been advertising this too much. So I'll just give you a recap of the story so far.

At 9 Weeks
We had our first obstetrician visit at 9 weeks. Now unfortunately our previous obstetrician was unavailable (apparently sailing around the world - literally). So we had to choose a new one. That's a difficult process - as it's not like you really get a chance to hear a lot about them except through word of mouth. Now it turns out that we chose one that delivered at the hospital we wanted - and that friends of ours were already with him (and were happy).

During the first consult we got to see our first ultrasound of +2. For all that we were trying to keep a lid on our expectations (after a long time trying) it was really exciting to see the first images of the little one.

Now the following vid was actually taken using my phone, so the quality is not so good. Babies at this age don't look much like anything other than a slightly bumpy jelly-bean. But the amazing thing for us was when the jelly bean started moving it's arm and leg bumps.

One of the reasons I won't mention the obstetrician is because in the end, we didn't like the experience at the first consult. Apparently, it's actually not that uncommon for people to change, so if you're having second thoughts, please consider changing. The thing to remember - especially if you're a private patient - you are the one paying the bills, and you are the one that should be happy.

At 13 Weeks
We've just had the normal 12 week (actually it was 13 weeks) screening ultrasound (which tests for Downs Syndrome). Now I know that parents are the only ones that ever really get excited about ultrasounds, but I am completely blown away by the experience we had. We didn't have the 12 week scan with L-kun (as we were either still in Japan, or had just returned), so it was truly remarkable to see what 4 weeks difference made. +2 had gone from a rather large jelly-bean with sort of bumps for arms and legs to something that actually resembled a baby. It was astounding (at least for me) to see the baby actually sucking it's thumb already at that age.
And no - we aren't the proud parents of Pinocchio - that's +2's other arm.. sucking it's thumb

I was also amazed at seeing the baby move it's fingers around, opening and grasping ...I wish I had video to show you all (yeah, I know, I'm sure you're all glad I don't). When I see this image, I just visualise those tiny fingers circling around mine and T-chan's finger.
+2's left hand... saying hello to the world.

One of the purposes of the ultrasound is to measure the size of the fluid at the base of the neck, which along with other measurements provides an indicator for the statistical likelihood of Downs. The baby was definitely active, rolling around and whilst I might hesitate to say playing, I would say being quite energetic. Which is good news for us, but makes taking measurements hard.

The screening test is not mandatory, and when you've seen images of your baby, things suddenly become much more real. And to be honest, they give parents this test not just to prepare themselves mentally - but to give parents a choice (enough said on that red button topic however). Luckily we found out that there's a very low risk of any problems associated with Downs. I can't really contemplate it being anything else but good news - but I'm sure there's many people that do face bad news at the 12 week mark. Thankfully that bridge looks like one we won't have to cross.

After all - when you look at the ultrasound, you can start to see a real face - a real person. And a whole life of possibilities streaming forth in digital illumination.

It may not be the face of God, but for a parent, it's pretty damn close!


  1. Congratulations. That's great news.

  2. Thanks for that. There's few things that can compete with the feeling of becoming a parent - even for the second time.

  3. Congratulations! I hope L-kun is looking forward to his new baby brother or sister. There's 5 years between me and my older brother, and it was like having a third parent, which was great until I was a teenager! Fingers crossed for a comfortable pregnancy!

  4. Hmmmm - I'll look on the positive side. It's a bigger gap than we'd hoped for, but better late than never. There were 4 years between myself and my nearest sibling, and that worked out ok. I guess in the end it sort of depends on the children.

  5. Congrats and good luck for the remainder of the pregnancy! My wife was chronically ill for the first trimester of our second child but by the time the second trimester kicked in the sickness had lifted and she just enjoyed being pregnant.

    On a side note, the Japanese gene in our first kid appears stronger than the gaijin gene whilst it is the reverse case for the second child. The second child has more western features.

  6. Thanks reesan. T-chan's been doing it tough right now (in fact even well after 13 weeks she's still suffering a lot from the occasional dry - and not so dry - retching). I have to say, it's times like these that I appreciate being a male. That and avoiding the whole bowling ball through the urethra thing.

    I'm so looking forward to seeing how our second child will turn out. Whichever side dominates. I'm not really sure about L-kun for example... to me the Caucasian side dominates, but many people think he looks more asian in appearance. In the end, it doesn't really matter too much if they've got all the right number of bits and pieces and are healthy.

    As for T-chan, she's just waiting for the day she can enjoy the pregnancy again!

  7. Congratulations!
    L-kun will make a good older brother.
    My brother is 5-year younger than I, and we have been very good friends.

  8. Thanks Muravej!... Yeah, I think that the age gap can be a good thing or a bad thing... basically depends on the children. There's a 4.5 year gap between me any my nearest sibling, and I think that didn't hurt at all.