The Long Version of the Ultrasound Story

So things have been a bit busy here in the office, hence my having neglected to write this tale up sooner. It’s long (okay, really long) so if you want to read the tale of the bitchy receptionist, the great penis discovery, notes on gender ambiguity and more, and you’re feeling like a veritable novella, enjoy! Otherwise, have a happy Fourth of July.  Drink a beer or three on my behalf, please. Mmmmm, beer…

The Waiting Room

As you can imagine, the husband and I were quite excited about Monday’s ultrasound. We booked it through our doctor (he doesn’t have the equipment so it was off to the local high risk specialist’s office for neat-o high tech diagnostic what not) back in mid May and the paperwork was sent over in late May. Needless to say, I was a bit miffed when we show up for the appointment on Monday and the receptionist says rather unhelpfully that she doesn’t have any appointment for me in her system, and seems rather put out when I ask her to check again. I then get a brief lecture from said lady about how I can’t just walk in here without an appointment and that the doctor is busy and she doesn’t have any idea when he’ll be able to see us. Yeah, me no happy at this point.

So I call my doctor’s office and the charge nurse (I presume) says that the appointment was definitely booked (so I’m not crazy or making shit up or just plain wrong), the paperwork was faxed over and offers to speak to the not so nice receptionist to straighten things out. At this point I walk over to the window to hand over my cell phone and lady-not-so-nice notices someone just opening the door to the office and declares “I have to deal with actual patients right now, I can’t talk to you – have them call me here” in a maximally bitchy/dismissive tone. I ask the nurse on the phone if she could call the office as “the woman here is being quite rude and refuses to take your call right now.” She said she’d take care of it, and she does (I think she refaxed over the paperwork). You rock, nurse-lady!

So what does queen bitch say – nothing, at first. I get up to collect my insurance card from her 5 minutes later and she says, very curtly “So you know, I wasn’t being rude – I just can’t have people come in here who don’t have appointments…” at which point I just walk away from the window and sit down because the longer I listen the more likely I am to tell her exactly what I think of her (and being I am still at her mercy to see the doc, I shut my piehole). Yup, I just love the sort of customer service that a) presumes the mistake is obviously the customer’s fault and in no way could the notion that the service provided messed up be entertained or investigated and b) upon learning that the service provider is 100% at fault, believes the solution is to say nothing to the customer indicating that a resolution was found and instead proceed to rudely explain how she wasn’t being rude because sometimes people come in without appointments (even though I was not one of those people).

Yeah, I was fuming. Was it probably made worse by the fact that I am a hormonal pregnant lady who was anxious and excited about finding out if her baby is healthy (and who wasn’t exactly thrilled about the idea of potentially having to wait another month to reschedule)? Absolutely. Should someone who is the receptionist at a high risk obstetrical practice probably have anticipated that I would be a little sensitive and maybe act a bit more, yes I’m going to say it, human about the whole ordeal? Definitely. It’s not like I was at the god damn dry cleaners or something. And hey, I do deserve some credit here – I did not yell, I did not raise my voice, I did not accuse, I just solved the situation and (rudely, I admit) walked away in the middle of her lecture. I did not pull a “this is supposed to be one of the most memorable days of my life and you’ve ruined it” hissy fit (not that I even feel that way, but it would have been satisfying to say). For me, I was a fucking angel.

And so we wait. We have no idea how long we should expect to wait, as queen bitch isn’t exactly being forthcoming (and I’m not about to talk to her again if I don’t have to). The husband isn’t exactly good at waiting, especially in a situation that could be described as indefinite, but he is also sorta afraid of me when I’m pissed, and doubly so when I’m pregnant so he just sits there uncomfortably. I attempt to read a magazine but I’m too annoyed so every couple of minutes I spout off another “that was completely unnecessary…” or “what I really didn’t appreciate was…” and the husband just nods obediently, like he’s watching a wild animal work it’s way into a frenzy and there’s nothing to be done about it but try not to make things worse.

After about a half hour, they call our name. Not bad, really, as I was busily contemplating how I was going to refuse to leave the office until I was seen by the doctor if they tried to wait me out. Yes, I am crazy, but I was pretty much like this pre-pregnancy. This is why friends have me call customer service numbers when they can’t get anywhere with [insert large corporate anyone prone to give customers the run around]. We all have talents, mine just happens to be bitchiness (again, my poor, poor husband).

The Ultrasound Itself

The nurse was super nice and I plopped myself upon the table and exposed my bulging belly, which she squirted with jelly stuff – warmed jelly stuff I might add, which is a nice touch (I know, warmed jelly stuff sounds gross, but it totally beats frigid jelly stuff any day). We begin the show, so to speak, and it is pretty damn incredible. The baby’s still there and the heart is beating, which is all I needed to see to put my mind at ease and enjoy the ride. The rest is just fun – here’s the brain, there’s the abdomen, now I’ll light up the blood flow in the heart, you get the idea. My husband asks where the baby is in my belly to orient himself and she says the small one’s head is just above my belly button and his sitting on my bladder (I could have guessed that!). One leg is somewhat crossed under him and the other is in a pike position against his chest (that would explain the weird kicking coming from either side of my belly). My husband looks at my midsection with the full realization that I am basically an alien host and nods in approval.

And then the moment of truth – we see penis. Okay, so what we really see is a fuzzy longish blob next to what is clearly a leg, but I’ll take it. The nurse draws an arrow pointing to the small one’s package and types in “it’s a boy” on the screen for the print out. The husband and I are practically high fiving each other at this point, but I can’t help but think that the kid is one day going to find such a blunt ultrasound printout to be nearly as embarrassing as the inevitable naked bath time pictures we’ll show his first girlfriend. Awesome.

The nurse hands us a print out of images a la photo booth and we giggle happily as she bids us ado, adding that the doctor will be in shortly. Yup – it’s a pretty fuckin’ cool moment when you find out your kid’s gender, I’m not gonna lie. Screw the bitchy receptionist, leg cramps be damned, you can’t rain on this parade. I’m having a son. Hell yeah.

The doctor comes in and he is everything everyone’s told me he’d be – a super sweet and quirky Indian man who could be a case study in perfect bedside manner (both gentle and informative). He starts flipping through the stills the nurse took and explaining why each shot was taken and what he sees – the brain development is examined both to check for indicates of Down Syndrome and other abnormalities, and our kid looks fine, etc.

When we get to the crotch shot, my husband, now hedging his bet, asks if they ever get the gender wrong and the doc briefly explained that sometimes folks declare a girl when there’s an absence of a clear winkie, but that you really have to look closely at the genitals to be sure things aren’t being hidden in the picture. He then looks at our picture and says “Either that’s a boy, or you have a daughter with an enormous clitoris.” I realize he was joking but neither the husband nor I managed to eek out a very convincing laugh (that’s just what my husband wanted to contemplate – it’s not a only a girl, it’s the next Jenna Jamison). Amusingly, when we went back to live belly shots, the doc made it a point to get several additional pecker-confirming pictures to put our minds at ease (oh the penance for a joke gone awry). Of course, we now find this hilarious, but I would pay untold dollars for a picture of my husband’s face upon hearing the word clitoris leave the doctor’s mouth.

The doctor then continues to play around with the ultrasound machine and we get a great profile picture of the small one sucking his thumb. He’s got long legs like his mom (proportionally speaking) and it looks like he may have the husband’s nose (thank god). Is it weird to think your kid looks cute from an ultrasound? Is that creepy? Or corny? Or weird? Has our pact to admit if our kid is funny looking already gone out the window a full three months before he’s born? Not like we didn’t see that one coming…

At this point I think the doctor has been indulging us for almost a half hour, and we are loving every minute of it – he even played around with the 3D imaging to try and get a good shot of his face. He prints out some more pictures, wipes off my jelly-covered belly, shakes our hands and sends us on our way.


I call my mom and she shrieks with excitement, and then starts to cry. Yup, I have a healthy little boy in there. Rad.


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