Best way to roast the broomstick. Must try. Five Stars.

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:

  • Telling a pregnant woman not to panic is often times the easiest way to waste precious air. It’s inevitable. Panic comes easily while you’re harboring a “can’t fend for itself” life form.
    Glad to hear everything is ok. It’s a scary thing when the docs put up those flags that something may be wrong!

  • SarahW

    It’s cool to see a 35 week ultrasound. My last was at 28 weeks and based on the pics I’m pretty sure there’s an alien in there. Glad everything is good.

  • Lo

    You and I have the same due date and I just went through the measuring small emergency ultrasound as well. Not anxiety provoking AT ALL. Thankfully my dude is also doing well, so it must just be something about June 14th. Speaking of crazy dreams, I had one the other night where I was at Willie Nelson’s birthday party. At a strip club. Nice.

  • Kim

    That video reminds me of the oldest daughter from “Knocked Up” and her description about where babies come from… Seriously… Too cute!

  • Leigh Anne

    Sorry for the scare…heck, the tape thing is so dumb IMO, My torso is so short that my DD measured 52 weeks (cm) at my 30 something appt (34 i think)…lol.

    can’t wait for not maria to get here…you have a beautiful family already…she’s sure to be a breath taker as well.

    (ps, the name Tess sounds good w/ Armstrong, I think)

  • Tony

    Are you sure that’s not ETs head in the upper right of the first picture?

  • Tesa

    Good news. Happy for you.

  • Scary shit, Heather. As a mom [and also grandmom] I would be having nightmares too, although I’m not sure I’m strong enough to resist the Call of the Google.

    But dayum if those pictures didn’t get ME crying too!

    God, how I hate hormones.


  • Computer glitch. I was going to be No.9, but I am probably now No.9 – No.100.

    What I was trying to say was…when I was pregnant, my doctor told me the entire time that I was probably not as far along as I thought I was. I was measuring small.

    I finally had to say, “I’m five feet tall. I’m a single mom. I had the sex on Nov. 20. Get. Over. It.”

  • kiki

    glad to hear everything is ok! why is it that i can NEVER SEE the baby in those pics? even though you clearly labeled “face” i can’t see anything!

  • Belinda R

    Heather, don’t get too sucked into worrying about the size of your belly. My son is now 14 months old and we had the same thing happen around the same stage of my pregnancy. My belly wasn’t growing but everything seemed fine. They wanted to be on the safe side though and ordered additional ultrasounds every few days. And in the mean time, I was to basically stay in bed, drink lots of water, and eat everything I could. It was frustrating couple weeks. And the kid turned out to be bigger than what the ultrasound indicated.

  • Laci

    Leta reminds me of the little girl in the movie My Girl. So sweet!

  • Pregnancy dreams are the craziest. I dreamed once that my son came out a toddler wearing a full suit and tie. He was walking around the delivery room introducing himself to everyone and shaking hands. Maybe he’s destined to be a politician.

  • Oh my goodness, she is adorable! Love how excited kids get when they tell stories!

  • (eye roll) and then … and then … then they talkeded and they talkeded and they said: SHE IS TOO DANG CUTE!!! thanks for the wednesday smile – much needed and appreciated.

  • is it just me, or in the first scan, the wee one looks like she’s holding a little dragon? could explain all the heartburn and indigestion…

  • I’m glad everything’s okay for you and No Name Hamilton Armstrong Baby Thing!

    Also, I love how Leta gasps before every word, as if she’s just run a marathon in order to find you and tell you this very important dream.

  • I actually went to bed and woke up thinking about how you were and hoping for an update. Glad that the doctors were stupid and everything is fine. Just the way it should be….

  • Due to weird complications, I wound up having 14 ultrasounds during my 37-week pregnancy, and every single time the tech / doctor / bozo would ask me, “Are you SURE about when you got pregnant? Because she’s a lot bigger than she should be, like a month bigger.”

    Of course, each time my now-ex was in the room, and each time, we were both reminded that 6 weeks before I got pregnant I was having an affair with my college sweetheart, and that maybe the baby was his and not my now-ex’s. (Note: If you intend on leaving your partner, make sure the goodbye sex is coupled with birth control. Fun!)

    Luckily, in every single sonogram she has her dad’s nose. She still does, and looks very much like her dad’s sister, but with my coloring.

    Oh, and she was 3 weeks early, weighed 9-lbs 1 oz and was 22.5 inches long. Her head circumference was at least that of a basketball, or was that a hula hoop? She still has a big head to house her very smart, large brain.

    That, she got from me.

  • Are you sure Leta’s not like totally from the Valley or something? She sounds utterly Californian!

  • Erica Hennings

    Glad everything turned out ok. Leta’s accent needs more drawl yall!

  • Heather, just when I think I hate you because you won’t answer my emails, you make me laugh so hard I nearly had food come out my nose. Damn you! Why do you have to be such a good writer?

  • Cheers for a healthy-looking baby! =) That’s great news and I’m happy for you guys that everything turned out well with the ultrasound.

  • Caro

    Leta is so darn cute! She sounded pretty convincing so when she was over with her dream I was: YEAH, TOTALLY.

    She’s so funny. Glad to hear the baby and you are in perfect condition!

  • barbara a sigelbaum

    You Hamilton/Armstrong people sure know how to make lovely children. Leta is charming. Her smartness radiates from her. Keep happy thoughts.

  • RichardK

    You are great: funny, witty, excellent writer, and so on. Please let it go to your head; you’ve earned it. And your daughter is adorable. Best wishes for a happy and successful delivery, and a healthy baby.

  • Shelby

    Ok so with your renovations all stressful then they decided to add more stress with thinking something is wrong with your baby, OMG you are one strong lady! Glad all is well. Does it make your heart sad a little bit that these are the last few weeks with just Leta? I am not even pregnant yet with my second and I have anxiety about that. Also I agree, you will replace the bathroom tiles because it will just drive you crazy.

    Good Luck.

  • Amy

    1) If Leta’s eyes were any bigger, well, I don’t know what, but that child has beautiful eyes.

    2) My girl has that same princess cup, and now I’m going to call it her Leta cup.

    3) I’m anxiously awaiting the comment that says, “OMG you are so selfish for having an ultrasound when WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!” because I had no idea until recently that half of your blog’s awesome is in the comments.

    4) So glad the baby’s ok.

    5) Still love you, even if we can’t be FB friends.

  • Anonymous

    What camera did you use? It is beautiful (even in compressed video) and the depth of field is amazing.

  • jennifer

    they sure like to scare the crap out of the pregnant lady! my dr did something similar. sort of ‘not to alarm you but…’ same kind of situation with the ultrasound. it just didn’t measure right and they thought the due date was off, then maybe it was a downs baby, i was ‘high risk’ being all of 35, then they wanted to do a cvs (not the pharmacy but similar to an amnio but in the 1st trimester) they had me so freaked out. and turns out it was nothing. the estimated ten pound baby turned out to be 7lbs 8oz and is very healthy.
    you and your baby are in my thoughts!

  • Glad to hear everything’s ok.

    When we got our first ultrasound done for our first child, they midwife who reviewed the findings with us used the words “brain” and “cysts” in the same sentence. Ultimately turned out he was fine, but I believe I aged 40 years from when she said it until we determined a few weeks later that everything was fine.

    You couldn’t pay me enough to go through the pregnancy-and-newborn years again. Thanks, but no thanks.

  • babymama

    You really can’t trust those tape measures! I went to the OB this morning for my 30 week appointment only to be told that my belly is measuring 36 weeks! Yep, 6 weeks BIGGER! Had an ultrasound that confirmed that baby is at a healthy 30 week, 1 day weight! Wish I had your problem, but I blame it all on the tape measure!

  • It seems like everything has calmed down now, so I’m brave enough to post without the risk of someone telling me I’m going to die. I’m so happy the baby is ok and the video of Leta is great! I had the same question as 79, what video camera are you using?

    we will all die, by the way, in case you missed it the first time.

    rock out dooce

  • Elaine

    I’m thoroughly impressed by your Google-resistance. When I first got an IUD, I immediately found a conversation thread full of people who were all, “And then I got pregnant and my baby was born with an IUD sticking OUT OF ITS CHEST AND THEN IT DIED!!!!!”

    Those Interweb nut-jobs with their holey-chested IUD babies.

  • garden mom

    Hi Heather:

    I love your site and visit it when I need a pick me up. Glad the baby is OK, and am sorry you had to go through the scare. I’m convinced that doctors are neurotic hypochondriacs. Can you be both of those or are they one and the same? Anyway, with my one and only child, I had about eight ultrasounds and was told my son had Down’s syndrome. Not so. He’s wonderful and normal. Thanks for sharing the great ultrasound photos. The baby looks adorable.

  • Christina

    I’m so glad everything is okay. The ultrasound pics are adorable, as is Leta! ♥ (pardon the facebook hearts…I have hard time passing up an opportunity to use them).

  • Shannon

    I hear ya Daddy Scratches.

  • Leta is toooooooo cute.

    I am glad all is okay. xx

  • DB6 in Oslo

    It’s weird how doctors/health personnel always end up scaring you right before birth… like you should always be on your toes, prepared for the worst – instead of enjoying the last few weeks of the pregnancy. And as if there is not enough to worry about as it is…
    I am happy your scare was a scare only and that everything is OK.
    …and I must say: What a face!
    Im looking forward to seeing her pictures from the outside soon 🙂

  • I do not wish to alarm you, and I admit that I am not an expert in interpreting ultrasound photos, but it appears that your child is armed with a set of brass knuckles in those photos. BAD ASS.

  • oh my! leta is growing up so fast. love it! glad everything is ok.

  • Leta’s adorable! I love that in your dream, baby Armstrong is wearing a patriotic scarf. It’s the details that count!

  • I love the little gasp breaths that Leta takes while rapidly explaining her dream! So cute & funny.

  • So glad everything is hunky dory! Even though we’ve known beyond forever that a woman can grow another human being inside her, it still just baffles the mind. Oh, and Leta is so super duper cute. She seems like a cool girl to hang out with:)

  • Anonymous

    Hee hee hee.
    Leta is so absolutely adorable 😀
    Glad that the baby is ok!

  • Leta sounds sooooo old compared to my nine-months-younger child. I get the “can I see” every time I take a picture or video, too.

    So glad that all is well in baby-land!

  • Tanya

    Awesome!! I can’t wait till the internet gets to meet her!!
    Glad everything is okay. 🙂

  • Colleen

    Love the video. Leta is so sweet.

    Is that a new video camera? Seems like the quality is improved over previous videos?

    Also Leta might look like Jon, but she sounds like you.


  • Kerstin

    It looks like she is smoking a cigarette in there?!?

  • Tom

    Sounds like someone is getting an APLEASEMEODMY…. 🙂
    P.S. make sure you get pictures if you so….

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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