My 22 week anomalies scan happened 7 weeks ago and I am still haunted. The word anomaly is enough to put the fear of potential ‘mutancies’ into any normal run of the mill mom. Just say it to yourself: anomaly … anomaly … anomaly – my baby is anomalous **shudder**. And then pluralise it: anomalies **double shudder**. Great!
On my second visit to the scanographer, memories of my first scan plague my mind. The first time the scanographer put the scanny-thing (I prefer ‘scanny-thing’ to probe thank you very much) on my belly at fourteen weeks, I literally had one eye shut and the other half open – thinking that perhaps I had imagined being pregnant: perhaps my body had been playing tricks on me and nothing would be there. Well, the little jumping jelly-bean on screen dispelled those fears rather rapidly. And I left thanking my body for being most reliable. This time, for the anomalies scan, I also had one eye half closed as I anticipated a third leg, missing arm or perhaps a horn sprouting from my baby’s forehead. The third leg thing is way weird (I mean there’s no way I would be able to sew three-legged trousers) but the whole one-armed unicorn baby thing would be totally manageable – I am definitely qualified to file down a horn and cut off a sleeve. After all my worrying, what three and a half hours of scan revealed … yes, three and a half hours … is that we are having a little girl **yay** who is as stubborn as her mother, and that I have no need to sew or file or cut as of yet.
An ‘anomalies scan’ means that every part of the baby is checked thoroughly. My baby cooperated nicely … in the beginning. She moved and posed beautifully for the scanographer, and even did a yoga move by putting her toe in her mouth, making her father giddy with excitement. But then she decided that being cooperative is not as much fun as sleeping. She refused to show her fifth finger, her right leg and her spine, neck and skin. So I was prodded and poked and shaken, and after two hours of having my poor belly exposed and manipulated, the scanographer declared that as the baby was refusing to budge, she may as well do the cervical exam. May as well do the cervical exam. I managed to restrain the “What the fuck is that for?” that has almost solidified on my lips, I took a breath and euphemised my expression to “is that common practice?” To which the very nice scanographer replied that it was, and that most women did have it as it was useful in determining the risks of pre-term delivery but that it was an individual choice. So while I contemplated having an object shoved up my vag, I figured, what the fuck … I have to push a freaking baby out in six months, I may as well get used to the humiliation and degradation of having my genitals exposed. So I agreed to the damn exam. The scanographer whipped out something that looked like a dildo – and all I could do was control my language and hope to the Lord God Almighty that I have a loose vag if that thing has to go in it. She then told me to remove my pants and wrap myself in a sheet.
So there I am lying on the bed with my legs spread waiting for the giant dildo-thing to be inserted … to spare you the details, lets just say that Mr Dildo-thing did not have his way as only the tip is used to measure the birth canal. I do not understand the logistics of how the instrument is used; all I will say is “Thank You God! And apparently I have a 37mm cervix, which is good (for anyone that wants to know). Well done to me. So with the exam out of the way, we get back to the scan … and is baby cooperating? Hell no! After half an hour of trying, I am sent on a walk and instructed to ingest lots of sugar – basically to send the foetus on a sugar-rush so that she is glucosed into action. One would think that a giant Starbucks hot chocolate and muffin would send the baby into an epileptic fit as it frazzles the few brain cells she has developed – but noooo, on she happily sleeps. So I am then instructed to jump up and down, I am rolled and shaken and prodded yet again … to no avail. Here’s my theory: because my growing belly has been mistaken for a drum by my baby’s dad, our baby girl has developed a high tolerance of any form of external botheration.
Three and a half hours later we emerged into the real world with instructions to return in two morning’s time so that her spine, neck and skin can be checked for anomalous signs of mutancy … okay so the bit about anomalous signs of mutancy was left out. And I am glad to report that on my subsequent visit, my darling baby girl was perfectly positioned and her neck, skin and spine are all beautiful. The only mutancy lies in my single veined, single arteried umbilical cord, which usually has two arteries (and a single vein). So my poor baby may have to bite a hole in her cord and use it as a straw in the third trimester if she finds herself starving and unable to grow due to a deficiency in blood flow. I have another scan at 34 weeks so I’ll keep you updated.