The 20-Week Picture Thingy

We pull in to the parking lot about 30 minutes early. We enter the medical plaza, look at a map of the grounds, find the imaging center, and head in that direction. Reilly walks beside me on my right. We pass through a long corridor and glance into other offices. They look crowded.

This is the longest hallway in the history of the universe. I find myself tearing up a little. I switch my water bottle to my left hand and ask Reilly if he wants to hold my hand. He grabs my hand and we smile at each other and then I look forward and catch the smile of a woman walking right past us. A brief moment of eye contact. I can’t help thinking that maybe we were cute to her. And that I wouldn’t blame her.

We enter the imaging center. We walk up to the reception desk to check in. The receptionist confirms our address and insurance. Reilly hands her a credit card, which she processes, then she instructs us to sit until someone calls us, which should be in just a few minutes.

The waiting area does not have a lot of people at all. There is a youngish mom with a boy who appears 6 or 7 years old. A man in scrubs calls her soon after we sit down. I wonder if everyone there has to wear the same color scrubs.

There is an elderly couple. The man helps his wife fill out a questionnaire and I hear him say, “Speak honestly.” She looks nervous and self-conscious.

The receptionist comes out with a clipboard. She asks me to sign one of those releases or waivers that has to do with the equipment. With the form signed and dated, she heads back into the reception area.

There is an elderly man sitting to our right. I notice only two things about the man. He reads a hardcover book about Winston Churchill. He also happens to be wearing khakis whose waistband come to a place on his torso that would seem beyond fashion or even comfort.

The waiting room television plays at the perfect volume for a waiting room. One of those local news panels (that come on after the actual news) is talking about hair color. One of the ladies thinks that blonde is the most popular hair color in Utah, because she sees blonde hair all the time. But one of the men says that brunette is actually more popular. The ladies look surprised. I ask Reilly why they’re still talking about this, because they have been talking about it since we sat down. Which hasn’t even been for five minutes.

A lady in scrubs swings open a door and calls out my name. Reilly and I then walk toward this lady and follow her through the door. We follow her through another door with a plastic sign that says “Ultrasound in Progress.” After we enter she closes the door.

The lady is the ultrasound tech. She instructs us to put our things on the far counter. I put away my purse and take off my coat and cardigan. The tech dims the lights then tells me to lie down, so I step onto the stool next to the bed because there is no other way to get onto the bed without looking like a sea lion flopping her way onto shore.

I lie on the bed, which is covered in a long sheet of that hospital paper. I feel a little bit like a kindergartner during one of those activities where you draw around each other’s bodies. I rest my head on the pillow and the tech asks me questions about due date and miscarriage history and if this is my first pregnancy. At this point the tech notices that I’m looking straight up at the ceiling and asks if I need another pillow. I stack the pillows so that I can comfortably see the television screen.

Reilly sits in a chair to the left of the bed. He hasn’t talked. He watches.

The tech asks me to bare my tummy. She tucks towels above and below the bump then squeezes a generous amount of ultrasound gel on it. I smile and say that I like when the gel is warm.

The tech asks if we have any guesses. Reilly says not really. I say that friends and family have a lot of guesses, and I ask her if she’s seen more of one gender than another. She says she’s seen more boys, but there have been girls, too. That’s a weird answer, but I do not tell her this. We’re excited, either way.

Reilly notices the tech is ready to begin. He stands up and looks at the screen.

The tech gets to work and discovers the gender pretty quickly. An image appears on the screen and she asks again if we have any guesses. It takes us a bit too long to figure out what we’re looking at, so we say no. She points out three little lines, which means that Baby is a girl.


Tears begin to fill my eyes, but I make myself talk. I say that’s great. I look up at Reilly and say that we’re having a girl!

Heartbeat: 137 bpm.

The tech comments how strong the legs look. I often tell Reilly that my calves are strong because I’m short and I have to tippy-toe all the time. Maybe Baby inherited this.

Throughout the session we laugh, and as she takes all the necessary measurements, the tech giggles about how cute Baby Girl is: her profile, the way she moves her arms, positions her legs; her nostrils, lips, chin.



The tech views and points out several angles that further confirm that Baby is a girl. She laughs when Baby Girl seems to move away from the pressure of the monitor-wand thingy and puts her arms in front of her face and wants to be done with it all.


Reilly is going to make a wonderful father to our daughter.


I coo and “aww” more in that half hour than the rest of my whole life.

A little discussion.

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