Our 3D Ultrasound Experience

Our 20-week ultrasound way back in June (which feels like ages ago) was a wonderful and memorable thing: not only did our baby get a clean bill of health, but we also got to find out her gender and see her in more detail than ever before. However, it also came with a bittersweet realization when the doctor informed us that it would most likely be the last ultrasound before delivery.

I’ll admit that I’d gotten a little spoiled in this regard. Through the early stages of the pregnancy, it seemed like they were doing routine ultrasounds at every other appointment, and I just loved seeing the baby and how she was growing. It was a little sad to know that this would be the last one.

But I’d heard of places that did elective 3D ultrasounds, and since there were a number of these located around Chicago, I began researching them a few weeks ago. While many seemed to be pushing fancy, expensive packages — teddy bears with a recording of your baby’s heartbeat, 3D postcards, web hosting for photos and videos of your ultrasound, etc. — it seemed like a basic 3D ultrasound session would be really, really neat.

Just to be safe, though, I asked my doctor whether that sort of thing would be a good idea, and she actually recommended against it — not because it’s in any way harmful or dangerous, but because she didn’t think it was worth the money. Apparently the quality of the images you get isn’t always the best, and she’d actually had patients come in after their 3D ultrasounds all distraught, frantically wondering why their baby was so deformed.

While slightly discouraging, this advice didn’t completely dissuade us from trying a 3D ultrasound, although I think it meant we went in with lower expectations than we would have otherwise. We ended up selecting a place called First Peek Ultrasound since they seemed to offer the best packages for the price, plus their location was convenient to get to by public transportation. And since they recommended doing it at 28-32 weeks for the best results, we ended up going in last Thursday, at 31 weeks.

After arriving for our appointment and settling into a dark ultrasound room with a giant TV on one wall, we found out right away that Baby Hart is a little gymnast: apparently she’s sitting comfortably in a breech position with her feet up by her forehead. It turned out to be pretty difficult to see her face, since either her arms or legs kept getting in the way, but here’s one of the few clear-ish shots we were able to get:

One of the few unobstructed shots of Baby Hart's face.

And here’s another one that better illustrates the position she was in — that’s a foot on the left side up by her forehead, and she appears to be adorably sucking her thumb:

Baby's foot way up by her forehead.

She also yawned a bunch of times during the session. You know that contagious effect when you see someone else yawn, and you end up yawning too? At one point Baby Hart had all three of us — me, Joe, and the ultrasound tech — yawning at once.

Baby's yawning!

Before the session was over, we also asked that they double-check the gender, and they confirmed what we’d been told at the 20-week ultrasound: Baby Hart is definitely a girl. They even gave us this balloon:

"It's a GIRL!"

So we can probably stop worrying about the whole mistaken-gender thing, since at this point two completely different ultrasound technicians have come to the same conclusion.

On our way out, we briefly talked to another couple waiting for their appointment, and found out that they were back for their 3rd attempt — the first two tries, their baby had his arms folded so tightly over his face that they couldn’t see anything at all. So even though Baby Hart’s position wasn’t 100% ideal for taking lots of clear 3D pictures, at least we were lucky enough to be able to get some.

To see more pictures from our 3D ultrasound (including some that didn’t turn out as well as these), check out this photoset I created on Flickr.

Assembling the Crib

After bringing the damaged crib back to Target last weekend, we wanted to try to get a replacement crib as soon as possible. We weren’t too interested in ordering another one of the same model from Target.com after the hassle we’d dealt with — and frankly, we’d lost quite a bit of confidence in the idea of ordering large furniture items online in general — so we decided to try to find one we could go pick up from a physical store while we still had my Dad’s van.

And that’s how we ended up back at Babies R Us looking at the same Delta Venetian Lifetime crib that we’d contemplated getting before we switched and ordered the one from Target. It turned out that they had it in stock, so we bought it, loaded it into the van, and took it home that same day. Compared to our last crib-getting attempt, the condition of the outside of the box seemed to be a good sign:

The perfectly undamaged crib box sitting in the nursery.

We joked about what we would do (go crazy?) if we opened it up and it turned out to be all smashed inside, but when we finally got around to unpacking it later in the week, we found that it had been well-packed in styrofoam and all the pieces were in good condition.

The crib components prior to assembly.

Assembling it turned out to be very easy: the instruction booklet was clear and straightforward, and all of the bolts required the same Allen wrench, which conveniently came included in the box. There were a few places where it was a little awkward to maneuver the little tool, but all of the bolts went in easily for a sturdy, secure fit.

A closeup of one of the bolts and the included Allen wrench.

All together, assembling the crib took around an hour. When it was finished, we put in the crib mattress, fitted it with a pale green crib sheet that we’d picked up a week or two before, and voila:

The finished crib!

I know it still looks pretty bare, and there’s still plenty of work to be done on the nursery considering that this is the only piece of furniture in there right now. But it’s progress, and with just over eight weeks to go, I’m really glad to at least have the crib set up. Now it’s just a matter of finishing up the zillion other little things in time for Baby Hart’s arrival!

Baby Shopping & Baby Registry

The first time we ventured into a Babies R Us, I felt completely overwhelmed. It seemed like they had 500 different models of every conceivable baby product, many of which I’d never even thought about ever needing. Everywhere you look, it’s just baby things stacked up ten feet high:

Product selection in a randomly-chosen aisle at Babies R Us.

Granted, there are a lot of products that probably aren’t necessary. (The video baby monitors with full-color flat-screen displays come to mind.) But the registry desk at Babies R Us helpfully gave us a checklist of essential baby products, which I think was pretty similar to this baby products list on BabyCenter. Then they gave us one of those barcode scanning guns so we could go around the store scanning things into our baby registry.

Barcode scanner for adding items to the baby registry.

Going through the store this way seemed to take a really long time, possibly because we were wracked with indecision about every item on the list and often ended up looking up reviews on Joe’s smartphone before deciding which one to scan. Several hours and two separate scanning sessions later, we managed to come up with a registry list that doesn’t even include any baby clothes… but I suppose that’s something.

In other news, we’ve been busily working on the nursery. After last weekend’s unproductive crib ordeal with Target, this weekend we actually managed to get our replacement crib (a different brand from a different store) all put together. The nursery is looking much more like a nursery now — details and pictures coming soon!