Arlington's CVH offers new ultrasound technology

Cascade Valley Hospital sonographer Robin Rice points out the features of Annaka Garcia’s 19-week-old baby on the 4-D ultrasound. - Kirk Boxleitner
Cascade Valley Hospital sonographer Robin Rice points out the features of Annaka Garcia’s 19-week-old baby on the 4-D ultrasound.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — Not only did Annaka and Julian Garcia find out that their baby will be a girl, but they also got to see her in a new dimension.

Annaka is 19 weeks pregnant, so she’s not quite as far along in her pregnancy as the window of 25 to 30 weeks of pregnancy that’s considered ideal for viewing on the upgraded machine, but the Cascade Valley Hospital’s 4-D ultrasound nonetheless gave her and Julian the opportunity to see their daughter moving on the screen as Annaka felt the baby moving around inside of her.

Jennifer Egger, community relations coordinator for Cascade Valley Hospital, explained that time is considered the fourth dimension with the 4-D ultrasound, which lets parents see their babies moving in real time.

This technology upgrade took place last year, and while the $112,000 ultrasound machine can perform diagnostic functions, its 4-D viewings are not diagnostic in and of themselves, since they don’t provide the medical screening information required by healthcare providers in the second trimester of a pregnancy.

“It’s simply to allow parents to bond with their babies before they’re born,” Egger said. “It lets you see the structure and shape of your baby’s face and body in clearer detail than on the standard ultrasound.”

For $200, parents not only get to view their baby in 4-D for an hour, but also receive pictures and videos that they can post online. Because it’s not considered a medically necessary procedure, it’s typically not covered by health insurance, but Egger explained that the hospital allows people to buy the procedure as a gift for others.

“It’d make for a cool baby shower present,” Egger said.

Robin Rice, the sonographer, was able to tell the Garcias, who are fellow Cascade Valley Hospital employees, that their baby girl weighs approximately 10 ounces now.

“Sometimes I get as excited as the moms,” Rice said. “It’s great to be able to guide them through the viewing and show them their babies’ littles noses and arms, as they wiggle around.”

“They’re so flexible,” Annaka laughed. “When I felt her moving inside of me before, I wondered what parts of her were moving where. Seeing her move on the screen at the same time that I feel her moving inside of me is an absolutely wonderful experience.”

The 4-D ultrasound is available by appointment one Saturday per month, with the next available appointment day set for Jan. 21, the same day that the Cascade Valley Hospital Family Birthing Center is open for tours.

“We’ve expanded our pre- and post-natal care with childbirth classes, car seat checks and lactation services,” Egger said. “Our labor and delivery unit has been completely remodeled. We’re bringing all these services together.”

As of Wednesday, Jan. 4, Egger reported that the Cascade Valley Hospital was still waiting for its first New Year’s baby, which she believes is the longest wait they’ve ever had. When this year’s babies arrive, though, they and their families will be treated to birthing suites which boast chairs and couches for dad and other relatives to sleep in comfortably, and which also serve as labor, delivery and postpartum recovery rooms.

“We offer really personalized care,” said Dawn Dixon, a veteran labor and delivery nurse at the Cascade Valley Hospital. “Our numbers aren’t spread thin, so we can be very close with our patients, and they usually choose to come back here. When our nurses come here, they tend to stay here for a long time. I delivered some of our patients as babies, and now they’re coming back to us as mothers.”

To schedule an appointment for the Cascade Valley Hospital 4-D ultrasound, call 360-618-7754 for more information.

To register for childbirth preparation classes at its Women’s Health Clinic, call 360-435-0242.


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