20-Week Heart Scan & Gender Reveal
So we are pretty much at the halfway point of our pregnancy, which means we just had our 20-week scan. Unfortunately, it wasn’t your normal 20-week scan. Instead, we had to have a fetal heart scan due to earlier complications.
If you’re aware of our ‘baby no.2’ story so far then you will know that it hasn’t been plain sailing up to now. You can read our story here at Baby No. 2 ~ 12-Week Scan Complications
Since writing that post we received our NIPT (non-invasive prenatal testing) results, which basically gives us a more accurate assessment of the risk our child has of having a chromosome disorder.
I’m thrilled to say this result came back as being VERY LOW RISK. After expecting the worst, it was such a huge relief.
We were not out of the woods just yet. Our NT (Nuchal Translucency) reading is still considered abnormal at 4.2mm.
Babies with an abnormally high NT result are at an increased risk of not only having a chromosome disorder but also issues with organs such as the heart, kidneys & brain.
And for this reason, although our NIPT result was low risk, the FMU (fetal medicine unit) still wanted us to have a more in-depth 20-week anomaly scan than what we would normally have had. This is so they can really look at the vital organs & limbs to see if there are any potential problems we need to be aware of.
20-Week Anomaly & Heart Scan
Thankfully my OH was able to join me for this one, following a Covid-19 test for us both a few days before.
We were called into the scan room where two ladies from the Fetal Medicine Unit waited for us. We were given their names and titles but for the life of me, I can’t remember what they were. I know both were not standard sonographers, but specialists midwives who work within the Fetal Medicine Unit.
Initially, the lady warned us to get comfortable as the scan would take a little longer than normal due to the additional checks they would be doing.
Once the cold jelly was applied to my stomach, she began.
What was involved in the Anomaly & Heart scan?
Starting off by checking what sort of position the baby was in, she went on to check if all the main organs, as well as the spinal cord and cord, were present and looked as they should. It took quite a while to find and inspect each one. For each organ she checked, she called out to the other lady who was at a computer inputting all the information as she went.
The lady asked if we wanted to know the sex. We both quickly replied, yes! It didn’t take her long to find the area she needed and she confirmed the sex of our baby. But for you reading, I’ll save this until last.
Next, the lady checked the heart. Only the size of a thumbnail at this stage, this was one of my main concerns. The last thing I wanted to see was an issue with the heart.
As the baby was in an awkward position, she had to press down on my stomach with the scanner and jiggle it around to get baby moving. She eventually found the heart and thoroughly checked it from many different angles.
The lady explained the different sections of the heart to us and what she was looking for. She was looking for small breaks in the walls that separated each section. She also used this other type of imaging which uses red and blue colouring to indicate blood flow in and around the heart…
How clever is that! I was in awe and amazed and the amount of information they can gather from scanning an unborn baby. Today’s fetal medicine technology is truly astonishing. We are so lucky to have it available in this country on the NHS.
I was also impressed with how she explained everything she was doing along the way. She even apologized for going quiet, but our constantly moving baby was making her have to really concentrate to make sure she wasn’t missing anything. This comment only increased our faith and appreciation for the woman!
After confirming the heart looked great, she went on to check the baby’s brain, face, and straightness and size of the arms and legs.
On the larger side
The final thing was to take measurements. This is where she had a little giggle with the other lady when they both realised our baby had a big “pop” belly and rather a large head.
They also quickly confirmed this was absolutely fine and nothing to be concerned about. As our first child, our daughter was also on the higher end of the measurements scale, this was obviously how I seem to carry babies.
It was okay for them & my OH to have a giggle, but I’m the one who’s going to have to push that massive head out of a very small area!
The final result
I’m thrilled to say, the final result of the 20-week anomaly & heart scan is a great one. There were no obvious issues that suggested there was anything to be concerned about. It’s safe to say we couldn’t be happier. In fact, we are absolutely over the moon.
And what’s more, we got to see our little bundle wriggling around on the screen for a good 40minutes. Yes! That’s how long the scan took. They did warn it would be a longer scan. But the fact our little monkey wouldn’t stop moving made the lady’s job a little more difficult.
This whole experience was completely unexpected. But hopefully, we can now put it behind us and look forward to having a healthy baby.
“So, what’s the gender?” I hear you say…
Well, if you know our story you may know we already have a little girl. And this time, we are having a BOY!
The fact that we know our baby is as healthy and active as it can be at this stage is good enough for us. But also knowing we have a little boy on the way to complete our family, is truly the icing on the cake.
For more information on fetal heart scans, take a look here… gosh.nhs.uk