Many groups raise money to purchase ultrasound machines, believing that women who see these images will be unable to deny the existence of their unborn children. I’ve had two physicians visits so far and a positive pregnancy test result at home and from the lab, but I have to say that irrespective of all the morning/day/night sickness and fatigue I didn’t feel pregnant until I saw my 11 weeks and 3 days gestation child during my first ultrasound three weeks ago. This feeling, that I felt the hospital and even my own physicians, had tried to utterly stifle just couldn’t be stopped after seeing two spindly little legs, a pair of wiry arms, nodding head and a fluttering beating heart on the ultrasound monitor.
The waiting room for the ultrasound has no photos of pregnant women, no medical diagrams of a baby in utero, no images of babies or children whatsoever, and uses only the word “fetus” on any signage posted throughout the lobby. In fact, at this specific hospital, no children under the age of 12 are allowed into the lobby without an additional adult and are forbidden from the ultrasound room entirely. I’m sure this makes it difficult for women like myself who have other children to even attend their ultrasound, as the hospital offers no child care services.
My family doctors had both asked “Was this planned?” and “Is this a wanted pregnancy?” in front of my accompanying 4 and 5 year old daughters, even though my file must indicate that I practice Natural Family Planning and am Catholic (as they offered me birth control options after the birth of my second child). All these attempts had been made to pretend that there isn’t someone other than Jennifer Derwey and her desires involved in this process, but an ultrasound image assails those accusations. It’s an emotional experience that I’m grateful for, even the third time around (and the good news is that ultrasound machines are getting an awful lot cheaper).