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:

  • Barbara

    Yay! So glad you are both alright. I remember having crazy baby dreams, but the green beans are a nice twist!

  • Sometimes, doctors end up knowing just enough to make you crazy. My sister-in-law and I have both had to have extra ultrasounds with our current pregnancies. Her first ultrasound found a cyst in her son’s brain. Mine showed possible markers for Down Syndrome. When we had our follow-up ultrasounds, her son’s cyst was gone and my daughter looked completely normal. In the meantime, we each got a month to stress about the health of our children. And I got to have the ultrasound Dr. try to talk me into an amnio because my risk for Downs was FIVE TIMES GREATER (when I finally asked her what that meant in real terms, she admitted that it put my risk at a whopping one percent).

    I’m glad that everything is ok with your baby. And I’m glad you only had to wait one day to find that out.

  • Krissa

    Which…which part’s the face? I am usually a veritable ultrasound magician. The bit to the left sort of looks like eye sockets, but then in the second slide it looks like a pig nose…and the “face” label is on a shadow. A SHADOW. That is not a face, that is the absence of light!

    Excuse me, I will be staring at the contents of your uterus until I figure this out or die.

  • Marissa

    So glad to hear everything is going well. Crazy pregnancy dreams are getting the best of me lately too (I’m 25 weeks along). A week or so ago I dreamed I was in a Batman cartoon being attacked by the Joker – wtf?

  • Wow! Leta is so good at talking these days. Seriously, she is really intelligent and articulate, even at five! You people done gone made a Pulitzer prize winner, and now Baby Number 2 already has a huge head with probably a totally jacked up and awesome superbrain!

    Er, sorry about the actual birthing process, but it will be worth it when she graduates high school at age 7.


  • Kelly

    I had the exact same thing happen with my first. Doc was concerned b/c I was measuring really small, and she estimated a 5 pounder, and sent me to get an U/S at 36 weeks. The U/S measured 8+ lbs and so my doc decided we should induce early for fear of having a 10pounder. Turns out he weighed 7lb 10 oz came on his own the day before induction, at 39 weeks… It’s all a guessing game.
    🙂 Rest up.

  • Nicole

    hasn’t anyone else noticed that your baby appears to come equipped with brass knuckles? This should settle the problem of naming her, without a doubt. Bad Ass Armstrong.

  • Kara

    i saw your twitter yesterday (tweet? twit? i dont know what they are called) and got all worried with you! i’m SO glad to hear you are both ok.

    and i just had a dream that we had these 2 teeny little horses (each about 2 inches big) and they died because we forgot to feed them. Or maybe i couldn’t figure out what you feed a 2″ horse? anyway, it was really sad that they died and i had to leave the house so my husband could conduct their funeral in the backyard (i was too distraught to attend). it was one of those dreams where i woke up all out of breath like i had actually been crying. i hate those.

  • Anonymous

    My son’s head was a 1/2 inch bigger than his older sister’s. I knew it, waaaaayyyy before the doctor told me.

    You have my sympathies.

  • So glad to hear everything is okay with the baby.

  • Liz

    First time posting though I’ve been reading for awhile, so I have to start by saying that you rock, and congratulations on having an adorable kid and another coming!

    Your post reminded me that TV medical dramas are as dangerous as Google at convincing me that my mini-symptoms are signaling certain death. Even if I can avoid the Google-induced hypochondria, I still usually wind up thinking “oh my god, I saw that on Grey’s and it turned out to be (some obscure but lethal disorder)…”

    Maybe laying off the Grey’s Anatomy, Scrubs, and ER should be routine procedure for all pregnant women. 😉

  • I’m so glad all is well. Docs don’t always know nothing . . . I had exactly the same thing happen (measuring small) except the u/s showed low amniotic fluid. Turned out my baby had kidney disease. The internet told me she would die, the doc said she might make it. She did . . . had a kidney transplant . . . I donated one to her . . . and we’re all fine now! I’m glad all is well for YOU now and will continue to be . . . and remember, the docs are our friends!

  • Did you add a cigarette to her mouth in that 2nd ultrasound photo?

  • can i request subtitles to all future videos where leta or not-maria talks? kid-speak is impossible to decipher for us non-moms. kthxbye!

  • Same exact scenario with my first. Glad your fluid level was good – you get to skip those weekly non-stress tests and ultrasounds that we get to enjoy this second time around. It is fun, on the flip side, getting to see the weekly “faces”. It cracks me up to see the baby open its eyes or yawn. What’s to really see in there? Best of luck in the upcoming weeks.

  • Richelle

    Glad to hear that everything is okay. Good luck with birthing that head! My daugther came out sunny side up (forhead first), so I know the pain you will likely experience! But it’s all worth it when you see their little face.

  • So this is what you skinny moms worry about.

    My doctors were always concerned that the babies seemed too big for their gestation, obviously a side effect of my already more than ample size.

    Good luck for a smooth few weeks to come, Heather!

  • It looks like there’s a little toy car in there with her in that first picture.

  • I’ve been following your blog for about three years now and I just wanted to say; WOW, Leta has grown up. Leta and my daughter Lucy are exactly 3 months apart and it is hard to believe that they each have gotten so grown up. Wow, wow – you should be very proud of her. I’m glad to hear things are good in the belly – that kind of news can be scary. You are first going to hate having two and then love having two. Be prepared for nuclear bomb explosion number 2 – it’s coming and it won’t be pretty.

  • Erin

    Your little girl looks so much like Jon and yet has your fun personality! Wonder what daughter #2 will be like!

  • Yippee! Congrats.

  • Kelly

    Is it me or is your baby smuggling a toy car in your uterus

  • Anonymous

    I too measured small throughout my pregnancy. I am 6 feet tall. Turns out my “small” was a 11 and a half pound baby…..

  • The video is awesome but that princess cup cracked me up – mostly because I saw it in the store like two hours ago and sooooooo wanted to buy it for my Anna. But then I figured that Anna’s sister would need one too and I wasn’t spending that much money for two cups to hold liquid that my daughters would refuse to drink.

    And what a face on that little baby!

  • Monsters with pink eyes that slowly admit they’ve lost their minds… has Leta been hanging out with too many grown-ups lately? =)

  • susan

    oh my god! leta is sooooo grown up. i love it. love the story. and glad that the little one is okay.

  • Amanda

    You’re doing a great job! You look amazing for 35 weeks! I was an enormous elephant that looked like it was having twins. You are very lucky! Your ultrasound pics are adorable.

  • Brianne

    I had to skip reading everyone else’s comments because my computer is malfunctioning and not showing that part, and I don’t want to spoil the ending!

    You made me laugh so hard I had to turn away and it took me about 3 minutes to swallow my drink of water, for fear that it would shoot out my nose – I’m so glad your baby has a face! 🙂 You are funny!

  • Brianne

    “That part” being Leta’s dream.

  • laurel

    I am glad everything worked out – that is always scary. When I was 36 weeks pregnat with my first baby the doctor could not find the heartbeat no matter how many times she tried; then she finally did, and it was 190 bpm’s.

    I was PANICKED – but she calmly reasured me that she was just going to send me over to the hospital for a non-stress test and possibly and emergency c-section, no big deal, right? It all turned out fine, he even managed to stay in for an extra two weeks past my dd for good measure.

    Btw, Jon really cleans up nice, love the suit.

  • Christy

    How cute is that. Oh my goodness! Glad to hear everything is as it should be!

  • I love it when baby doctors say something along the lines of, ‘hmmm, I’m a little bit worried about that, but don’t you worry’.

    It’s like Henny Penny letting everyone know the sky is falling but not to worry because WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE.

  • This is super cute. Leta is a beauty! I am glad to hear that everything is okay with the BABE. Hang in there. Not much longer.

  • I’m so glad to hear confirmation that your belly is measuring small b/c I swear every week when you post those pics, I’m like whaaaaaaat? 34 weeks? Huh?

    Also, usually ultrasounds are all crazy and blurry and you can’t see shit, so how in the world do you get one where your kid looks all angelic and beautiful? (And by the way, I had to squint a lot to figure out where everything was in the beginning – at first, I thought the first pic made it seem like she had those crazy pilot binocular googly-eye glasses on).

  • Jen

    I commented once a while back that I am due on the same day as you – and guess what – had the SAME EXACT thing happen. Small belly measurements, baby measuring 5 days ahead of schedule. Same doctor schpiel “oh, well I’m a little concerned blah blah blah, we’ll get you in for an ultrasound as soon as we can – don’t worry in the meantime”

    GFY, doctor.

    Our doctors must be talking one another. They’re evil.

  • Wondrous Being of Light and Splendor, I am so glad to hear that everything is okay with your pregnancy.
    I know it’s hard not to get worried when you doctor says something like that.
    Love the video of Leta; she’s so precious!

  • Being a 24 year old without children, it kind of blows me away that Leta is so grown up and speaking in just 4ish years. I remember you talking about her when she was still a wee one. Babies! They grow and learn to talk! Who knew?

  • kerry

    so, so glad to hear everything is ok. i hope you have a sense of relief and peace.

    leta is a beauty. reminded me of when my youngest son tells me his dreams. so cute!

  • Ellen

    “They talkeded…” so cuuute!

  • Anonymous

    Just do your kick counts. Because pregnant women panic for a reason: bad awful things can happen.

    So glad/relieved that everything is going well for you, and I hope that you bring home a beautiful healthy baby girl!

  • leslie

    i like how your baby’s chilling in your uterus with a pair of brass knuckles.

  • Very relieved that not-maria is alright.

    Ok…I mean this is the nicest way possible. Ever see the movie American Pie? I kept expecting Leta to say ‘and this one time at band camp…’

    She is so adorable…can’t wait to see what a good big sister she makes. Or how much she freaks when the baby looks at her. 🙂

  • I don’t see the baby!? Help me! It looks like two little robot toys standing side by side facing out. I’ve turned my head sideways and I still can’t see her face. 🙁 Is the whole ultrasound the face or are we seeing a whole baby?

    Listen to me! Who cares? It’s a healthy baby! Whew!

  • Haha, oh my gosh. Leta reminds me so much of my 5 year old little sister (yes there’s a big age gap). Just the way she talks and describes things – awesome! She must never stop talking eh?

  • Andra

    I see a head, I don’t see a face but OH MY GOD ARE THOSE BRASS KNUCKLES?

  • Jen

    Leta’s adorable, of course, and not-Maria looks like she’ll be cute too, but the man in the suit up there….he’s a looker. Thanks for sharing that picture. 🙂

  • CJ

    Isn’t it funny how kids sound so out of breath when telling a story? Like OMG this is the most funniest/awesomest story ever! Kids rock.

  • Nancy

    I think I saw a teddy bear in there with the baby.

  • That’s funny #141 I thought, brass knuckles? Buzz Lightyear?? No wait I think it’s neosporin to go, Uh oh, not Maria is going to be a rowdy one!! I’m glad everything checked out good for you guys. Leta is too adorable.

  • So glad to hear everything’s okay, and I’ll add my voice to those who think it was cruel of your doctor to make you wait overnight for the ultrasound.

    And now to sound like a crazy stalker (because you don’t get enough crazy in the comments already?)…I dreamed about both your baby and your bathroom last night. I dreamed you guys were giving tours of your bathroom to prove to everyone that the tile difference would be fine. You were showing the bathroom to my daughter and me when you suddenly went into labor Hollywood-style…gasp of pain and tragic clasping of abdomen whilst crumpling onto the floor, you know what I mean.

    So we end up in your bathroom, with Leta joining us, and the three of us attempted to deliver the baby for you with Jon shouting instructions through the doorway. I woke up before the baby arrived, so I can’t tell you what you named her.

    (No, I’m not pregnant, just perimenopausal…and if you think the hormones are fun now, just wait.)

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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