Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The most sonographed baby in the world

We had another scan this week. This was our 7th scan. That's right, the seventh. Most women have two scans: one around 10 weeks to date the baby, and another at 20-odd weeks to check the development.

So, why so many for us? Well, neurosis accounts for at least one of them: the 7 week viability scan we had, the week before our wedding. (I just wanted to be sure the noble sacrifice of not drinking on my wedding day or honeymoon was worthwhile.) We've also had to have a couple of extra ones because our uncooperative baby won't get into the right position to provide some critical measurement or other.

Today's scan was not strictly essential. At our last checkup the midwife's tape measure suggested my bump was 1cm too small. Now I know fine well that if I'd eaten a big lunch before the appointment my bump would have been at least 1cm bigger. Maybe more if it was a curry, or beans, or something else, well, gassy. Still, we agreed vehemently with the midwife that we really should get that checked out, and signed up for the growth scan.

We like the extra scans because we like knowing what she's up to in there. She's pretty camera shy, so we never really get a clear view. We see a clenching fist, a kicking leg, a dinosaur-esque spine, and a nose, but rarely are all those parts assembled in a way that makes her look like a human baby. She's more like a collection of perfect but randomly sorted parts.
Last known sighting of our baby in profile, about 2 months (and several scans) ago

All of this slightly unnecessary care and attention make me very glad of the NHS.

When I was researching this post (I know, sounds odd to me too, but I really do do at least 5 minutes research before some of my posts) I looked at some US websites. I wanted to check because I had the impression that in the US most women get three scans - the same 10 and 20 week ones as we get here, and a third one towards the end of the pregnancy.

Silly me. Of course it isn't that simple. It completely depends on insurance provision. So I found women on one chat forum talking about only having one scan as they had to pay for any extras. Presumably lucky ladies on gold-plated plans could be scanned at the drop of a hat, like we are. But ouch, they (or their employer) will be paying a lot of money for the privilege.

So - without wanting to get all socialist on you (I know how TLOML hates that) - I do feel very lucky to be able to exclude money as a factor in my decision making where healthcare is concerned. The NHS really is bloody brilliant.

Admittedly we recently waited for 2 hours to see the midwife because of crossed wires on reception. But when I turned to TLOML and said 'doesn't this level of service enrage you, with your American standards?' he shrugged and said 'I'm just glad it's free'. Me too.

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