Ultrasound Rollercoaster

On Monday, Will and I prepared with excitement for our first ultrasound with Baby A.  As we drove to our appointment after dropping the kids off to stay with my mom (who had graciously agreed to take off some time from work to watch them), we discussed our hope that Baby A would be active enough during the ultrasound that we could watch him/her move around and that the tech would not only be able to get the shots and measurements she needed to get, but that we would be able to discover our little one’s gender.  I am a planner.  The thought of not knowing puts me into slight panic, as I want to get rooms painted, furniture prepared, and clothing situated.  Both Eila and Asher had graciously given their mother peace of mind during their respective ultrasounds 5 and 3 years ago, and I hoped and prayed their sibling would follow suit.

In our hurry to get out the door so we wouldn’t be late to our appointment, we decided it would be best to grab breakfast on the way rather than eat at home.  So Will and I stopped at Bojangles and I proceeded to get a cajun filet chicken biscuit.  I had joked with my MOPs group a few days prior about needing to eat or drink something that would get the baby moving and was advised orange juice and/or teddy grahams, but ended up with the biscuit.  I remember thinking, “maybe the spiciness will be effective”…I thought about adding on a sweet tea but decided that probably would be too much and that I should stick with the almost gallon of water they wanted me to drink 30 minutes prior to the appointment.  Looking back, this was probably a very good call, or the ultrasound may have been even more of a roller-coaster than it already was!

We arrived at our appointment and filled out the requisite paperwork.  My favorite part was being asked on one form “Describe your condition” to which I responded “pregnancy”.  The next question was then “How did you end up in this condition?” I left that blank.

We were called back quickly and I was so ready to see our little one that I didn’t even take the tech up on the opportunity to use the ladies room, despite the fact that I had consumed the prescribed amount of water on the way.  We got started and I was once again in awe of the technology that allows me to see our little one in the womb with the placement of an instrument on my stomach.  I don’t think I could ever be less than amazed by this process.  As we began to see our baby, I couldn’t help but tear up a little- we have never waited so long to see one of our children in utero before because with both Eila and Asher we had the initial 8-10 week scan.  I was thrilled, as was Will.

Our tech soon began to comment on how our little one was positioned in a way that was making it difficult for her to record the needed info.  Baby A (throughout the duration of the ultrasound) was head down with legs and bottom in the air hanging over the head.  But this does not mean Baby A was still.  Oh no.  Baby A decided it was a great day to prepare early for the USA gymnastics team and proceeded to perform somersaults and twists like I have never seen.  Neither of Baby A’s siblings were even close to as active as this little one was this day!  I seriously do not want to know what would have happened if I had consumed the sweet tea I considered buying that morning.  The cajun filet biscuit alone sent Baby A into joyous flips and headstands.

Ironically, my fear that the baby wouldn’t move enough became quickly laughable and then frustrating.  The tech managed to measure the head (which is measuring right where it should be), the kidneys, see the feet, get a shot of the face (but never could get a profile shot), etc.  As she tried to get the heart, she soon commented that she just couldn’t get an adequate view of all four chambers- she could see them, she thought, but couldn’t put down on paper that they were, in fact, all there, because she didn’t have the clear documentation needed.  Drat Baby A, slow down in there.

Also a challenge was the umbilical cord.  She wanted to be able to verify that the cord was a three vessel cord.  When that proved tricky, she decided to rest from that endeavor and aim to check out gender.  I was ready.  Earlier in the process, she had pointed out what appeared to be the tell-tale three white lines that would mean we had a little girl bouncing around in there.  After this, however, the tech kept commenting that she kept seeing a protrusion as Baby A danced around.  Hmm.  I didn’t give this much thought, as it was hard to see much of anything clearly- although I have to admit, with the way the baby was moving, it did cross my mind multiple times that we may be dealing with a little guy here.

I have never had such a determined tech, and thank God for her.  Even as the intercom kept beeping ever few minutes with “Code 99: Ultrasound”, reminding us that, yes, there were other people waiting, she patiently set her mind to confirm heart and cord.  At this point I went to the bathroom in hopes that Baby A would shift to a better position.  This didn’t seem to work.  The tech then went out of the room to ask the radiologist to come in and see if he could pinpoint 4 chambers.  While the tech was out of the room, Will and I sat and prayed that Baby A would give us the ability to have the three questions of heart, cord, and gender answered definitively.  Meanwhile, the tech reported that the radiologist said with the baby moving so much he didn’t see why he should come in and that we should just schedule a follow-up.

I’m feeling frustrated, and honestly guilty, as I want to kick myself over consuming that blooming biscuit (Will kept reminding me that the biscuit may have not had anything to do with it, but still).  As the tech decides to try for just a few more minutes, God generously answers our prayer and gives us 2 out of 3 answers.  First, a concrete 3 vessel cord shot.  Secondly, a moment where our little one goes spread-eagled (still upside-down) and indicates to us all that is it highly, highly likely that we are having a baby boy!

I did not realize how convinced I had been that it was a girl (I had been right with both of my other kids) until that moment.  I was stunned.  And I remained stunned as we left, knowing we would probably be coming back for one more ultrasound to confirm that there are, in fact, 4 miraculously beating chambers in our little one.  Even after this ultrasound went almost an hour and a half!

Needless to say, I had to do a paradigm shift as I processed that we are having a boy.  I had worked out everything in my head- from beds, to painting, to the fact that we would have more of a wardrobe in place because Eila has been ever so gentle on her clothes compared to Asher!  Don’t get me wrong- I am truly joyful and thankful that we are having a boy, and a healthy one at that (I’m not worried about the heart anyway, but after seeing little guy moving like that and hearing such a very strong heartbeat, I’m REALLY not worried).  But I did have to take some time to mourn the thought of a little girl.  There’s a reason the Bible says in Proverbs (chapter 16, verse 9) “The heart of man plans his way but the Lord establishes his steps.”  Or Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”  And amen for that, because His plans are certainly better than mine, and He knows that a second little boy is exactly the right thing for our family.

After the initial shock and need to re-lay some plans, I am growing just as excited by another little guy as I was another little girl.  But if for some reason, the belief that a child’s activity in the womb is a predictor for activity outside the womb proves true, please begin to pray for me now. 😉

The Waiting Game

My mind has been going like crazy the past few days.  This is mostly related to the SheSpeaks contest I entered (see last post if interested).  I wrote my entry before reading all the other entries already posted, which is a Very Good Thing.  If I had read the other posts first, I may not have ended up submitting mine as I think the incredible competition would have succeeded in intimidating me.  Of course, I prefer to think that I would have entered anyway, as I do believe I only did so based on God’s leading.

But still.  Now that the deadline to enter has come and gone, I am now aware that I am up against approximately 186 women.  Yikes!  And many, many of them are not only talented writers, but the message they convey in their entries is heartfelt and memorable.  I am proud of many of them on the one hand, and on the other, my competitive nature comes into play.  I keep re-reading my entry post and compulsively reading those that others wrote, and am fighting that little whisper of “It’s not good enough” that I sometimes hear.  Contests really bring out my insecurities.  I’m working on giving this to God- I know this opportunity is not meant to throw me into internal chaos.  That internal chaos is all my doing, not God’s.

Yet…there is something else this contest is bringing out.  When I first decided to enter, I didn’t care as much if I won.  If I’m being super honest, now I do care.  I really want to win, because the more I think about it, the more I realize what an incredible opportunity it is.  But either way, just entering to win the SheSpeaks conference scholarship has taught me quite a bit about what God may be calling me to do, and what my reaction may be to these plans.  I didn’t quite realize until writing my entry that I was starting to feel a call into women’s ministry (I still am not sure I like “saying” that out loud–it makes it too real).  I thought I would go for the writing track if I won.  But in the process of writing, my desire changed to attend the ministry track.  I know that the change in desire was courtesy of God because it totally surprised the proverbial socks off of me!  So whether I win this contest or not, I have felt excitement bubbling up in me over the past few days that I haven’t felt in awhile.  Excitement over the future, my future.  Excitement about God’s plans for me.  Excitement over opportunities to minister to others and serve the Lord that I never thought I would be open to.

But I am also nervous.  About all those same things that are filling me with excitement.  And I have to wait until next Friday before the three winners are announced.  I. Am. Not. Good. At. Waiting.  Guess I’m a work in progress in that regard as well, because one verse God keeps putting in front of me is to “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14).  And I’m nervous because whether I win or not, I’ve now put my desire for women’s ministry out there (as well as my hesitant willingness!), and with that comes a form of accountability.  My friends and family will ask me about it, and of course, God isn’t going to stop working on my heart and laying His plans for me just because I may not win a contest.

Hence my mind going like crazy.  This is a lot for me to absorb.  And I know this is a somewhat random post and rather “rambly”.  I’m using this post to process and sort things out.  Sorry ’bout that for those of you still reading!

And may God bless all of you as you learn of plans you didn’t know were in the making!