Now in her 18th week, our OB, Dr. Robert Levine directed us to Seattle Ultrasound Associates at Swedish Medical Center for a more sophisticated image that would carefully measure fetal development. It would also allow us to discover the sex of our babies. While in some ways the ultrasound image is a crude visual representation, nonetheless I find it strangely beautiful and captivating. I’ve watched as our babies seem to play tennis with each other, arms waving back in forth in ways that seem synchronized. Yesterday, I watched as they took careful measurements of every aspect of the fetuses. In the process, I got to see their internal body structure with their little spinal cords waving as if in a breeze. This image reminded me of the imprints of dinosaur skeletons found in fossils.
The first one the technician worked on was a boy. I knew it would be because of 17 offspring over 2 generations in my family only one is a girl. We seem to have some kind of male hex. As the tech switched to look at the second child, I caught my breath. In the usual views where she had previously detected the first child’s genitals, there were no signs of a male organ (for the second child). That meant a girl was possible. As the exam progressed, the tech grew more and more certain it WAS a girl. I was shocked. I was dumbfounded. Could it be? A second Silverstein girl? When the doctor later entered the room and told a disbelieving me that he was 98-99% certain it was a girl, it slowly began to sink in.
Now, we’re going to have to work extra hard (and it won’t actually be very hard since we’re planning to love them equally) to pay special attention to the male twin. It will be so easy to fall into a pattern of showering the girl with special attention due to her “special” status.
We know her first name will be Miriam and her second either Anna or Rose (all named, following Jewish tradition, for deceased grandmothers).
I’d like to thank the ultrasound lab’s manager, Janna Bottem, who agreed to convert a hard drive image from the machine into a jpeg which I could use for this post. According to her, this was not an easy procedure and not something the lab usually does for patients. So thank you again.
Not being certain whether Ms. Bottem would come through for me (she did), I had earlier brought a video and still camera to the exam. But the technician informed me that photographing the monitor was prohibited, since it might interfere with her ability to focus on the monitoring process. I can appreciate this concern. But why don’t they realize in this digital age that some patients (like me) might want high quality digital images of the ultrasound images they’re producing. I haven’t yet examined Ms. Bottem’s image, so I’ve taken the hard copy printout of the ultrasound they gave us and I’ve scanned it into a jpeg and uploaded it for display here. It’s a fairly good (though by no means excellent) representation of the original monitor image.
I can certainly see that a camera that emitted a flash might interfere with the ultrasound exam. But I can’t see the problem with a video camera. I think this regulation is a bit fuddy duddy in nature. These docs are thinking only of their narrow medical focus (which is important, don’t get me wrong) but not at all about the needs of their patients. The ultrasound, as I said above, is a wonderful image and it is only natural that pregnant moms and dads might want to share it with family, friends and blog visitors like yourselves.
For earlier posts about our adventures in in/fertility, see:
The Infertility Scourge and the Nuclear Transfer Dream
First We Take Manhattan…in Which We Make Pilgrimage to New York City to Make a Baby