An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

An unscheduled ultrasound

Yesterday I had a routine 35-week check-up with my OBGYN, and because my belly had not grown significantly in the last three to four weeks she ordered an ultrasound for this morning so that we could take a look at the size of the baby and the level of amniotic fluid. She seemed a tiny bit concerned, but said that it could just be that the baby had changed positions or something similarly benign. I tried not to worry too much and resisted asking Google what the hell could be wrong with my baby, because you know what Google would say, right? YOU AND YOUR BABY ARE GOING TO DIE, and here is the Wikipedia entry telling you exactly how and why. With pictures and diagrams and links to estate planning.

I had a hard time sleeping, and not just because Leta was up at 2 AM fretting about spiders. For hours I worked through scenarios in my head: what if? And then what? Because you’re constantly hearing stories as a pregnant woman that start out with a circumstance as simple as this one and in the end both the mother and the baby have to have a heart transplant. Like, yeah, my doctor thought I was measuring small, and then three weeks later I woke up in Sri Lanka with a hangover and the severed foot of a wild boar tied around my neck.

And then when I did finally fall asleep I had nothing but crazy baby dreams, one in particular in which the ultrasound technician accidentally ruptured my bag of water. In less than an hour I dilated from a zero to a ten, and before they could call my doctor the baby’s head was coming out — a head full of blonde, hair-sprayed curls tied into a ponytail with a patriotic scarf — and next thing you know I’ve given birth to a 17-pound baby who can speak in sentences. And instead of reaching out to hold her, I lean over the side of the bed and start puking green beans.


Turns out that you can’t trust measuring tape, because the ultrasound indicates that the baby is measuring almost five days larger than her actual gestational age. In fact, the technician had to measure her head almost four times because it kept saying her head was almost as big as the head of a baby three weeks older than she is. And I’ll just go ahead and tell you that my reaction to that news was less a sense of relief and more of an OUCH.

Also, amniotic fluid looks normal and they estimate she already weighs six pounds. The doctor says it’s probably a combination of the way I’m carrying the baby plus my height that makes it seem like my belly is smaller than it should be. I’m now to carry on as if nothing ever happened, and to help with that directive they gave me the cutest ultrasound pictures of her face. I have to say, from these scans she looks a lot like Leta, although her mouth is a little more Hamilton than Armstrong:

EEEEK! THERE’S A BABY IN THERE! Talk about uncontrollable crying! The technician was all, are you okay? And I was all SHE HAS A FAAAAAAACE!

Speaking of crazy dreams, Leta loves to talk to us about her own, and this one was good enough to share with you:

  • It is adorable when little kids inhale really hard in the middle of their sentences. I am glad your baby is alright. I am not glad it’s going to torture your gine on the way out =P

  • Anonymous

    love her ‘pauses’- and the ending is great!

  • Anonymous

    Heather, so glad to hear she is doing well! I was concerned after your tweet yesterday about the ultrasound, but now I’m resting easier. Congrats on the new little one!

  • Ah, the infamous pregnancy-induced crazy dreams… Yup, don’t miss those one bit!

    Congrats on the Baby With Face!

  • Her princess cup is DA SHIT!

    Also, can we talk about your bathroom?….

  • HOORAY that all is well! Congratulations, and hey, could you re-do that bathroom tile, please? KIDDING!!! 🙂

  • Glad to hear everything is okay.

    So glad to see my son isn’t the only one that “wants to see” the video or picture. SO many video clips end with “let me see!”

  • PHEW glad everything is OK!

    Now we can all go back to obsessing over your tile 😉

  • She is adorable and speaks so well! She will surely be a heart breaker.

  • ebeth

    Whew! I was worried for you last night, but so relieved to hear all is well.

    Take care lady!

  • Adriane

    I love how Leta’s sentences all end in question marks.

  • Kathleen

    I love it! She is so darn cute and incredibly articulate.

    Oh, and to weigh in on Tilegate 2009, I think it looks fine and I would be perfectly happy with it. But I’m going to bet that by the time the new baby turns one, the square tile will be gone and the matching tile will be in. I’m basing this on the fact that you two are so into design and your surroundings plus you are the most brave remodelers I’ve ever heard of…how many couples remodel once and then do it again? Almost none!

    I promise not to say “I told you so” when one of you finally cracks and replaces the tile!

  • Jo

    I thought about you a lot last night and today and am so relieved to hear that all is well. *smiles*

  • I love how little kids tell stories, this summer I need to get mine to do that and record them. Too cute.

  • I swear to all that is mormon holy, there is a Pickachu in that first picture. You are totally carrying Pickachu!

  • Woah! Does anyone else see the ‘twitter’ bird in the left hand side of the 1st pic?!

  • Jen

    I have a 5 and a half year old daughter, and she has the same mode of storytelling–a tone that sounds like she’s part valley girl and part fifteen year old at the mall. Plus, every video we have of her ends the exact same way: “Can I see now? Can I see? I want to see!”

    Loved meeting you in Denver. Good luck with the remaining few weeks of your pregnancy. Since the baby looks to be 3 weeks further along than they thought, do they think you may be giving birth earlier?

  • I don’t think I ever talked about my dreams that had monsters in them when I was Leta’s age; so adorable.

    Glad that the dreams were nothing more than dreams and that Baby is doing well =)

  • So glad to hear all is well Heather!!! Those ultrasounds can be scary!!!! Take great care…she’ll be here before you know it!!! =)

  • I am glad to hear all is well! Good job NOT looking anything up on Google, so true what you said.

    Thinking and praying for a safe short delivery and a perfect baby girl!

    Take care,

  • Glad to hear all is well! And, that the baby has a face! 😀

  • Amanda

    SQUEEE! Face! Baby face! Duuude.. I had no idea they could even DO that! I know there are those creepy 3-D ultrasounds (am I the only one who’s shit those things totally freak?) but that’s an actual picture of her FACE… Holy weeping shit. (I’m 12 weeks, by the way, and apparently your story of oh-no-but-actually-oh-yes just kicked me squarely in the ass and knocked me into the tidal pool of hormones I’m going to be splashing around in for the next 6 months. AWE. SOME.) Glad everything’s good. Congratulations on… uh… yaknow, still being healthy and stuff.

  • Shelly

    Yea for the baby having a face! That always helps! :O)

    Leta is adorable!

  • sarah

    god she’s cute. how can you stand the cuteness?

  • ErinLeighC

    I love how kids are obsessed with videos/pics of themselves. Too cute!
    Glad the ultrasound went well!

  • Glad everything was ok with the baby! and after reading your book, I see why the size of this one’s head would cause, shall we say, some anxiety… But that’s why god made epidurals!! 😉

    And Leta talking about her dream CRACKED. ME. UP!!

  • Aw! Look at that precious little face! So glad that the baby is doing well! So happy for you all! 🙂

    And Leta is one of the most precious kids ever (minus, of course, my nephew 😉 ).

  • Cris

    So glad you’re all okay.

    Now, because someone may eventually answer this, can you actually tell the technician “That’s a face? Hmmm. Can you point me out the eyes, and mouth, and things like that?” Because I can’t see anything in that picture. You could have just randomly set the Face text layer on Not-Maria’s bum, and okay, I believe you. But I still have no idea what I’m looking at. I can’t even see a nose, and those I can usually see.

    So. I have no idea whether the Hamilton mouth is a joke :p I awwwwed, and then became a bit puzzled…

  • Empty Jay

    It’s good to hear that everything’s going well. I definitely know the feeling when you hear something like that. My daughter had a 1 month period where she only grew about 2 weeks worth. They immediately put my wife on bed rest and started doing weekly (and soon twice weekly) checks. We were told she was coming sooner rather than later. This was at about 28 weeks. Thank God, she held out until 38 weeks. She was born small, and still looks a little small for a 4 month old, but she’s perfectly fine.

  • J. Bo

    Oh, HONEY! So glad the worry was for naught. My cousin just delivered her third (a “surprise!” pregnancy after she’d given away all her baby stuff, assuming she was done), and the last few weeks were touchy due to a viral infection; she had to have unltrasounds twice a week, and it scared the hell out of her, of course.

    Now I am, at this very moment, looking at a photograph of her with her beautiful, perfect, COMPLETELY healthy baby.

    You’re in the home stretch. All will be well.


  • angrynikki

    is it just me or is your baby hugging a paul frank sock monkey in the first pic?

  • Awwwh! Not Maria has a face! I usually can’t tell what’s what in ultrasound pictures, but the second one made my heart swell a lil’ bit.

  • Woman, once again, you have reduced me to tears. Baby Armstrong is just lovely. I could say that I hate that someone I have never met has the ability to turn me to mush, but since we have met at Powell’s (what? you don’t remember me & Ellis out of the THOUSANDS of people you met on your tour??), and I like to believe that we’d be friends in real life, I think it’s okay to get misty over your ultrasound. 🙂 So glad for you & Jon that everything is okay.

  • Leta makes me want to shoot out roughly 6 babies in a row.

    And I’m 22, and more or less single.

    That’s distressing.

    I’m glad your younger daughter is gestating at an appropriate level.

  • Aack! Scary pregnancy stories are just the worst. I hope that the finals weeks are uneventful. Can’t wait to see the baby’s face in real life!

  • Aack! Scary pregnancy stories are just the worst. I hope that the finals weeks are uneventful. Can’t wait to see the baby’s face in real life!

  • The whole “I woke up in Sri Lanka with a hangover and the severed foot of a wild boar tied around my neck” made me choke on my diet coke! Damn you Dooce!

  • Tina B

    Don’t worry about the large head. Two of my three are that way and they all hurt just the same.

  • Everytime I see these 3D ultrasounds, I see they are getting clearer and clearer. Technology is awesome. Look at that baby face!

    I bawled for my first 3D, too. Hubby was deployed and I so wanted to have it done to send to him so he could feel like he was a part of it, even if only to view pictures, as it was hard for him to be away for most of the pregnancy.

    Almost there. momma!

  • –>I’m glad Not-Maria is doing well. I don’t miss the crazy prego dreams I used to have at all.

  • Jen

    Dude. It could be PMS, but when I started reading this entry I started to freak out that something was wrong, so I had to skip to the end of the entry to see the end of the story to see if everything was going to be ok. Then, when it turned out everything was ok, I reread the entry, but I cried anyway because I was still worried that something was wrong with you or the baby or whatever even though I already knew the ending. I’m so relieved that you’re ok.

    I’m stopping by the store for some chocolate on the way home, because, clearly my period will be here any second now.

    Also, someday when I have kids, I’m really worried for my husband. He will not be able to live with me and my emotions in one house.

    Regardless of my problems, your baby is SO CUTE!

  • Anonymous

    I hope you know that ultrasound measurements/dating can be way, way off – like, don’t let them induce you early just because you’re “measuring ahead” or the baby is “too big” or whatever. You could end up with an unnecessary c-section. 🙁

  • Oh I’m so glad! I was worried when I saw your tweet last night, but I’m relieved to hear it’s good news. And Leta is adorable!

  • Shawna

    I love how Leta talks like a 12 year old. She’s beautiful and funny – like her parents!

    Also, Baby With A Face seems to have a Hamilton chin! That might hurt coming out…. 😉

    Wishing you all much happiness!

  • I’m glad you didn’t Google anything prior to your ultrasound. That’s never a good thing for a pregnant woman to do. Sweet ultrasound snapshots. Sweet video of Leta. Enjoy these next few weeks with her. New baby girl will be all kinds of wonderful, but so are these are last days with your first child. Take care.

  • I love that age. They suddenly sound like a 90’s valley girl. “And like I told them to go away and..” I’ve got two girls who have gone through that and finally moved past it. I also love the hyperventilating breath. Now I have to go ask hubby why we can’t have another little girl..

    Glad the baby is ok. With my first the doc said I was ‘too big’ and said I would have an 8lb baby. she was 6lbs. Same doc said my son would be about 6lb and he was over 8.. Like I told you at the book signing in Portland, I practically needed reconstructive surgery after my daughters birth but no issues with my second. Thinking safe va-jay-jay thoughts for you in the next few weeks.

  • I think it’s hilarious that these ultrasound techs are all carefully measuring what they see, because if you press them most will tell you at this stage of pregnancy ultrasound measurements are just not very accurate. I had an ultrasound ONE WEEK before I gave birth (by a resident, albeit, not an ultrasound tech) who said, “Small baby. Maybe around 5 pounds.” Seven days later I gave birth to a 7 pound, 11 oz. girl. This was after my own “unscheduled ultrasound” due to measuring small for dates.
    Makes me wonder if they were right when they told me there’s a baby in me right now. And that it has a penis. Oh well, at least I have lots of girl clothes on hand from the first two in case they were wrong.

  • Meg

    I’m so happy to hear that everything is going well.

    I am at 25 weeks and I hate pregnancy dreams. They seem so real, even after you wake up. The fun dreams do not begin to make up for the bad ones. I have woken up the past two nights convinced that I had lost the baby. Then, after dreaming I had lost the baby, I dreamed that my stomach was translucent and I could see and hear the baby. At one point, the baby sat up inside my translucent belly and started talking to me. I cannot handle any more of these dreams.

  • Sara

    Aww. *hug* I remember going through that. It turned out that I DID have low fluids, but it was as simple as drinking 3 gallons of water a day (slowly, otherwise you just pee it out and it runs the risk of water intoxication, and I didn’t just jump into drinking 3 gallons, I increased it slowly as well.), and my fluids went back up. But when they said I was measuring “small”, I nearly had a heart attack. I think that doctors exist just to make us paranoid sometimes. 🙂

    Then they said the baby weighed 8 lbs and would probably be over 9lbs… He was born at 7lbs 15oz 11 days later after an hour of pushing where they treated me to “OH MY GOD HIS HEAD IS HUGE”, only for EVERYTHING to be very.. very average :p

    I think “doctor” is really one of those words that really translates to “Make pregnant women absolutely crazy with worry that there is something wrong or that her vagina will explode from big baby syndrome”.

  • I can’t believe they made you wait overnight for the ultrasound. That’s just cruel. As if a pregnant woman needs a REASON to dream about giving birth to a walking, talking monkey with talons for nails and big fangs. Oh, wait, those were my dreams.

    Also, I’m happy to know my three-year-old will still be telling stories like that at Leta’s age. They are hilarious.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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