There’s only one Red Bean

I don’t mean only one Red Bean in the sense of our baby’s uniqueness in the world. I mean, there really is only one. Not two. I know for sure.

My 30-week prenatal visit went less ordinarily than the others have done. For the third visit in a row, I measured “large for dates”.  One way growing babies are checked prenatally is by measuring mom’s belly, from pubic bone to top of uterus. After 20 weeks or so, this measurement in centimeters matches the number of weeks a woman has been pregnant. Roughly. Babies can have growth spurts, and some moms, like me, start with some tummy of their own that remains there even as the belly gets all big and round with baby. I assumed it was this causing me to measure a few centimeters over my number of weeks. But this visit, my midwife measures, and says, I want you to get a sonogram to confirm there’s only one baby here.


OK, so finding out I was carrying twins would not be THAT bad… except that, as anyone who has suggested this to us can confirm, our reply to the idea is always, “You better hope not, or you’re getting one of them.” I could also have been wrong about date of conception and be farther along than we thought. The bigger deal to me, and I don’t imagine the midwife knew that I know this, is that there are a handful of fetal anomalies that can cause overabundance of amniotic fluid, which would be identified by measuring “large for dates” – problems with baby’s kidneys, digestive tract, or hydrocephaly. So, I was instantly shaken up.

Fortunately,  one of the sonography offices BirthCare refers their clients to was able to work me in that afternoon, and was a 20 minute bus-ride away. The wonderful woman at the front desk arranged the appointment and also pulled up the bus info on Metro’s website and emailed it to me so I had it on my phone. I walked to the bus stop, while calling Zach to let him know what was going on.

His first words were, “Do you want me to come?”

Yes, I said, trying not to cry on the King Street sidewalk. He was 40 miles away, at 4pm, with a decent stretch of the Beltway between us. I knew he might not make it. I didn’t want to see Red Bean, or deal with any hard news, alone.

The bus ride was enough time to do some googling and feel a little better informed about what we might learn.

I was at the sonographer’s office for 15-20 minutes alone. I must have been like those dogs you see tied outside a grocery store while their owner grabs something inside, who look up at every person who comes out the door, then hang their little heads because it’s not the right person. At last, the right person came through the door.  Zach made it. He let me cry a little on his shoulder, calmed me down, and we were called back a few minutes later.

Long story (slightly) short: there’s nothing wrong with the Bean. And, there’s only ONE Bean. All is well, and the Bean, an apparent overachiever, is in the 80th percentile for size at this date. The sonographer very kindly reminded us that babies do not develop on a linear incline – just because they’re X at A weeks doesn’t mean they’ll be X+4 at A+4 weeks. Might be, but it’s not to be assumed. There’s some indication Bean may be a little older than we thought by a couple weeks, but that is hard to say from ultrasound at this stage. Babies just vary.

And now, because you’re dying to know: what gender is the Bean???


Not only did we tell her not to tell us gender, she could not even see, because the Bean, sticking to the plan, was curled up head-down in a ball, tucking in all secrets and not even turning a face toward the “camera”. We were able to confirm all the important details without unwrapping our surprise.


Hence, I finally made it home last night, exhausted, kinda weepy, and relieved.

End of tale.

Postscript: deepest and warmest thanks to Kristi who texted with me faithfully while I waited for Zach and kept me from losing it; and also to Susan, our childbirth class instructor who replied to my “what do you know about…” email with nothing but encouraging and supportive words. You kept me sane till my husband got to me. Thanks.


5 responses to “There’s only one Red Bean

  • Colin

    Yes, far superior experience to that of our friend Sue, whose pleased sonogram tech wrapped up the 30-week exam with a cheery “Both babies look great!” only to have Sue slowly and carefully grab her forearm and pull her in to about 6″ from her face in order to carefully enunciate “*How* many babies did you say that was?”

    • DragonKat

      Oh sweet lord. My mom had a tale of one twin being completely hidden behind the other and never found till sonographer turned the mom over and used the probe through her back…

      Our standard response to everyone (and this has been startlingly many people) who say “What if you have twins?” is: “Then you’ll be getting one of them!”

  • kmeacham

    and will confess, yes, i was thinking two Beans would be nice ’cause we’d never have to fight over who gets to hold ’em 🙂

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