Two weeks ago we went in for our first ultrasound. We weren’t planning on having any medical tests but our midwife subtly told us that we really needed this one to confirm how many babies we were growing: “If it’s twins we need to know.” So we agreed, and were excited and nervous to officially meet our baby or babies in a new way, and find out how many new family members we would be welcoming.
I picked up M from home and we headed to the appointment, discussing what we knew about ultrasounds and confirming the kind of care we were expecting and how we wanted to be treated. I was grateful again to be approaching pregnancy united with my husband in the type of support and care we wanted to receive.
The conversation became visibly relevant as the technician called me into the back room and told my husband he could wait. Confused, I asked what they would be doing to me that he couldn’t be present for. After clarifying that she was actually saying that they would be doing the complete ultrasound – all the screening, measuring and viewing of my babies – before he was allowed to come into the room and view the images with me – I said, “No, I want my husband to be there with me during the whole process.” This was met with “Our policy” statements, the strongest justification for which was her explanation that it “made the technician nervous” to have someone there. We explained in return that I was nervous, that this is both our child, that we are going through this together, that he will sit quietly to one side but just wants to be in the room with me. “If we make this exception, everyone will want to do this.”
She called the supervisor, who explained that this is their policy and that it is “more professional.” M questioned that it reflects professionalism if someone is unable to perform a job simply because one other person is present. For some reason, they didn’t like this idea.
So we left.
Professional = un-family friendly, un-mother friendly, medicalizing birth, disempowering women and families
After our fury waned we were able to book an appointment for 2 weeks later in a neighbouring town where, of course, my husband could be present during the whole procedure.
Later that afternoon, as if to let me know that a silly test had no bearing on their reality and growth, I felt the first real movements that were clearly baby-related. One, then a second sweet little kick on the top right of my abdomen: “pook … pook.” The sweetest thing was how I could feel the size of the appendage that was poking me – a little wee firm foot or fist. I sat and admired my adorable baby or babies and got back into the business of loving them and encouraging them to grow.