HerBaby: Bronwen’s 20 week scan

Bronwen Stead

When my husband and I had our first appointment with our midwife at the Continuity at Centenary Hospital program (CatCH), it was the first time that anyone had done a comprehensive health history for both my husband, Andrew, and I.

I have been going to the same GP since I started school and had just assumed they were across my medical history. Given Andrew is also fit and healthy in his day-to-day activities, it had never occurred to me to raise our health history before this point. I should also mention I have had a number of previous medical conditions, including an autoimmune disease that required chemotherapy treatment, and a mild heart condition, and my husband needed heart surgery as a baby. Our poor midwife!

When we relayed all this to her she took it in stride and said she would consult with one of the doctors. While not anticipating any problems, it was agreed that they would send us for a specialist scan at 20 weeks to have an extra thorough look at bub, especially at its heart.

I put the “specialist” part to the back of mind and was eagerly anticipating our next scan! From very early on in our pregnancy, I had said I would like to find out the gender, whereas Andrew would have been happy to leave it as a surprise – though he comes from several generations of two boys so he has always assumed we would have a boy.

For me this was less a matter of practicality (umm, there are seriously limited gender neutral children’s clothes these days!) and more about my bonding and attachment with our baby. From the beginning I had felt so strongly that it was a boy – I find it a bit hard to explain. It wasn’t based on anything concrete; it was a completely innate feeling.

Coming up to the scan date, our friends made their guesses as to what we were having and, interestingly, most said a boy too! This feeling wasn’t at all a matter of preference – we have said from the beginning all we hope for is for bub to be healthy. A very dear friend, who has since had her baby, had the same innate feeling that her baby was a boy and it turned out to be a girl! I felt that it would take me some time to get my head around it if my feelings were wrong – though a girl would have definitely been welcomed!

It wasn’t until the day of the scan that it struck me we had to attend a specialist centre. The consequence of my tendency towards optimism and putting it to the back of my mind was that I didn’t feel prepared if any issues were to be identified, and it was definitely not something we had discussed in any great length. I was definitely feeling nervous on the way there and while we were waiting.

We had a very friendly technician who invited us in and reviewed our health histories. She asked if we wanted to know the gender and that definitely moved my mind from anxious to excited, which escalated even further as soon as we started the scan and bub was on the screen. I absolutely love the scans; it is just incredible to see our baby wriggling around, and while the girth of my stomach tells me bub is getting bigger it was amazing to see the changes since the last scan.

After doing some quick basic checks our technician confirmed for us that, yes, we were having a boy! While we were super happy, on later reflection we thought she might found us to be pretty relaxed with the news. I think since we had expected a boy we felt a bit “Of course, it’s a boy!” yet if she had told us it was a girl I think Andrew would have fallen off his chair!

The scan went for quite a while – approximately 45 minutes. All bub’s organs were checked, his measurements taken, heart thoroughly checked out and all seems to be developing as expected, and he is progressing well. Our technician tried to do some 3D pictures but our boy just wouldn’t sit still long enough for that! After the scan we were given all the images on a CD, and we took ourselves off to a café to call our family and share the good news that Baby Boy Stead is happy and healthy.


Andrew’s perspective…

Leading up to the 20-week scan I was very excited. I had a pretty tough morning at work that day, but having the scan to look forward to certainly kept me motivated to get through. When it was suggested by our midwife through the CatCH program that we see a specialist, I was not particularly concerned. Even though I was born with a heart defect that almost killed me multiple times before I was 18 months old, I knew that it appeared to not be a genetic condition and, as such, I felt confident that it wasn’t something I was going to pass on to our baby.

Initially I was pretty keen to keep the gender a surprise; however, as we were approaching the scan I was certainly getting more and more excited to find out what we were having. The technician was very friendlyand chatty throughout which put both Bron and I at ease. As Bron said, I come from a long line of boys and had always just assumed I would have boys, however, at the start of the pregnancy I was having dreams about a baby girl! As a result I wasn’t nearly as confident as Bron but when we were told “It’s a boy!” it certainly was a sense of “Of course!” rather than surprise.

Our technician explained everything we were seeing on the scan and what she was taking images of. This is really helpful because a lot of the time you have no idea exactly what you are looking at! Seeing fingers, feet and a little nose were certainly my highlights!

The idea that this scan is possibly the last time we see our little boy until he is here in the flesh is a bit sad and to be honest I don’t think we will be able to hold out. The possibility of us getting a 3D scan is high to say the least just so we can see him again. The scan experiences are the biggest highlights for me thus far; it is truly magical what the human body can do and it just keeps making me appreciate what Bron is doing at the moment.

Bronwen Stead

Bronwen loves to celebrate life and all things Canberra, which is why she is passionate about writing for HerCanberra and promoting the amazing people and activities that Canberra contains. She is a mother, wife and a creative with a passion for wellbeing and health. More about the Author

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