Appointment 4 – Scan 3: First 4D scan – 04.11.10:
Still enjoying the excitement of the scan the day before, we went to Dr. Berral’s clinic in the middle of Marbella full of anticipation at the idea of seeing our baby again but this time on a clearer 4D image.
Dr. Berral speaks perfect English and this put Mike at ease a great deal as he was able to join in the conversation and ask his own questions. After an initial consultation during which we showed Dr. Berral the information, test results and scan details we had had thus far we had the first of what would be truly amazing scan experiences! We quickly realised that Dr. Berral was more accustomed to dealing with English clients and compared to Spanish doctors who tell you pretty much only the answers to your direct questions, he went through everything with us and was constantly talking us through what he could see and where on the screen and was happy to take the time to answer any other related enquiries we had.
As I was just 12 weeks + 4 days at the time and just between Trimester 1 and 2, the scan was to be trans-vaginal. Along with an assistant, Dr. Berral put us both at ease and was clear about what we could expect and what areas of the baby could be assessed at that point. He also said that at some 12 week scans it was possible to determine the sex of the baby! At this point we both said that we would be happy with either a little boy or a little girl and as long as the baby was healthy it made no difference.
What Can You See On A 4D Pregnancy Scan?
Perhaps a little naively, both of us were simply expecting to see a clearer image of our child and to be able to come away with more images and a DVD of our baby moving around inside of me but it was so much more! The scan gave us and told us so much more than we had expected and we both agreed that it was a fantastic experience and wholly worthwhile investment to have the privilege of seeing your growing and developing baby .
There was an extensive range of things that Dr. Berral could tell from a 4D scan at the 12 week stage and at every step would stop to explain what he could see, why it was relevant and to also point certain parts of the scan out to us.
Gestation, EDD, Foetal Position & Size
Starting with general foetal position and size we were told that the baby’s size was equal to that of a foetus of 12 weeks + 6 days gestation with an expected delivery date of 11.05.10. We had initially thought (based on own dates from the pregnancy calculator using my LMP) that the due date would be the 18.05.10 so suddenly we were a week nearer to having the baby already!
Downs Syndrome Checks
During the scan Dr. Berral examined first the head, highlighting the nasal bones which he said he was checking to see how well they were aligned as this can be a “soft marker”, i.e. potential indicator of a Down’s Syndrome baby. The whole “fetal anatomy survey” section of the report showed a normal skull with intracranial anatomy, normal development of both orbits, nose, upper and lower lips and chin. He was also able to measure the nuchal fold which is the area just behind the neck of the baby and an enlarged area can indicate Down’s Syndrome. Dr. Berral was to measure this 4 times in total to get a realistic average and our baby’s average measurement was well below the potential dangerous levels at between 1.59 and 1.62 which is classified as low risk for aneuploidy.
Spina Bifida Checks
Further down the baby’s body the examination of the spine was normal and Dr. Berral explained that he was looking at the spine to see if the 2 sides were also well aligned and to see if all bones appeared to be in place. Certain missing bones can be indicative of Spina Bifida and we were glad to hear that the baby’s spine looked perfectly normal.
Heart, Blood Flow & Other Organs
We were also shown the heart and both atriums and ventricles were pointed out, as was the blood flow to and from the heart which was also healthy and normal. The heartbeat at the time was 162 beats per minute. The stomach bubble was pointed out, as was the bladder and both were said to be healthy and showing signs of liquid inside indicating that the baby was taking in amniotic fluid and expelling it. The kidneys were pointed out on either side and all 4 limbs were pointed out and also measured to show that they were in proportion with the body as well as within the expected limits of a 12 week foetus. I can’t remember the limb lengths myself now but if I ask Mike he has the exact measurements ingrained in his brain and continues to tell everyone how much the baby’s femur has grown since this first 4D scan!
It’s a BOY!
Most excitingly, Dr. Berral told us that at this point in the pregnancy, he was pretty sure we were having a BOY! It was fairly clear on the screen and while we understood it was not possible to confirm 100% as a baby’s genitals can often be swollen during certain stages of pregnancy, looking at the screen we were both happy that we had a potential son to now look forward to!
While he said he would happily go for more 4D baby scans every week, Mike settled for arranging an appointment for a second scan at which different areas of the baby could be assessed. This “20 week anomaly scan” during Trimester 2 could actually be done any time after 18 weeks so Mike arranged it for 15.12.10 when I would be 18 weeks + 3 days pregnant.
Initially our appointment was for 8.30pm that day but after a delayed start we went in at around 9.10pm and didn’t get home until around 10.30pm and we both thought that an investment of 100 euros for a truly thorough appointment, scan images and a 40 min DVD of the entire scan process, was well worth the price and would recommend Dr. Berral to anyone.