A glimpse into the life of an unborn baby

Published 9:54 am Friday, September 18, 2015

“At least she has personality,” I told my wife after our latest ultrasound. We’ve been able to see her, our baby girl, a few times now via ultrasound, and our little girl isn’t holding back when she’s on camera. I’m not sure if ultrasound techs normally describe people’s babies to their parents, but we’ve had that privilege with our past two ultrasounds, and it looks like we’re in for a treat. Our first tech described our daughter as spicy, and at our follow-up visit she earned the descriptor of a tease. These descriptions have caused Sera to already proclaim our daughter can’t date until she is 50 years old. We’ll see if I’m a little more lenient when she gets a little older.

The main ultrasound, where they do all the measurements and take photos of various organs of the baby, occurred a few weeks ago. We were fortunate enough to find out everything was looking as it should be and even got to see our little girl sucking on her fingers. Unfortunately she was positioned poorly, so we weren’t able to get all of the required images. Her unwillingness to change positions, despite Sera’s repeated attempts to rollover, earned her the nickname spicy. The ultrasound tech insisted our daughter wasn’t sassy, but there was no doubt that she was spicy. We laughed at the comment and began to wonder just what our little one’s personality would be like outside of the womb.

This week we had our follow-up ultrasound. The clinic staff had hoped baby Knutson would be in a better position this time. In fact, she was in the ideal position, meaning they were able to capture some great photos of our little girl’s spine. The elusive four-chamber heart photo was still missing though. Both ultrasound technicians verified that they’ve seen all four chambers, but capturing it was proving difficult once again. Although our daughter was in the ideal position, her arm was now casting a perfect shadow right over her heart. As she wiggled back and forth she’d give us glimpses of what we needed, but never quite the whole picture. A tease, she was. She required our ultrasound tech to take a video of her heart, record it in slow motion and grab a frame from the video as her arm moved just slightly out of the way for a brief moment in order to get the images we needed.

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Are all babies like this? I’m assuming not, but I’m also sure most parents have something memorable occur during their ultrasound(s). I recall several months ago seeing an ultrasound image of a baby that appeared to be waving to his or her parents. I doubt that child was described as spicy or a tease. Other ultrasounds have surprises, perhaps revealing two babies instead of the anticipated one. The fact is, you’re never quite sure what the story will be when you arrive at that appointment.

Perhaps the best thing that came out of our ultrasounds was the note from our doctor after she reviewed the images. Her description of our daughter: unremarkable. In a world where parents are putting an increased pressure on their children to succeed in all of their endeavors, it seems so cold to have an unborn child named unremarkable. Of course, that description meant the doctor found nothing wrong, nothing startling in the images she had reviewed. Unremarkable was perhaps the best news we could receive. Unremarkable isn’t something we strive for everyday, but we’ll be praying our little girl remains that way for several more months as we continue on this journey.

One day our daughter will be remarkable, perhaps she already is in her own way that we haven’t discovered yet. What I do know is what will make her remarkable will be her own doing. She’ll find her talents and passions as she grows, and it will be our job as her parents to nurture those. Will her spicy tendencies hold true outside of the womb? Will she continue to be a tease? Will either of those qualities lead to her being remarkable? Right now, we’re left with only questions and dreams of an unknown future. Before we know it, we won’t need an ultrasound tech to give us a glimpse into our dream world for our little one.


Rochester resident Matt Knutson is the communications and events director for United Way of Olmsted County.