By Aline Barros Staff Writer
Tom Fedor/The Gazette
Betelhem Seleshi (right) of Baby Joy 3D/4D Mobile Ultrasound finds out the sex of Deisy Izquierdo’s fetus during a baby shower Sunday in Silver Spring.
Baby Joy 3-D/4-D Mobile Ultrasound promises expecting mothers and fathers a personal and intimate experience — finding out their in utero baby’s sex — away from a doctor’s office.
Baby Joy 3D/4D Ultrasound, a Silver Spring business, was an idea that grew from a mother of two who believes seeing a baby in the womb is a special bonding moment.
“I see pregnant women every day. … Some of them want to show the pictures to their husbands that couldn’t make it to the doctor’s office … or they want to show the pictures to the grandparents who were watching the kids at home,” Betelhem Seleshi said.
And that’s when Seleshi thought: Why not bring the experience to people’s homes?
On Sunday, Seleshi went to a baby shower party in Silver Spring at which the baby’s sex would be revealed.
The expecting mother, Deisy Izquierdo, did not know Seleshi was coming. When Seleshi walked in the house, Izquierdo was so surprised, she couldn’t hold back her excitement, cheering when Seleshi entered the living room.
The ultrasound machine is hooked up to a television. The mother then lies on a couch, while Seleshi puts ultrasound gel on the mother’s pregnant belly.
More than 30 people witnessed Seleshi’s ultrasound. Some exclaimed, “How beautiful” and “Look at the hands” and “The baby is waving.”
Seleshi finally typed in the ultrasound machine: It’s a boy!
The whole experience can take 15 to 30 minutes.
“This is incredible. … We have been hoping for a boy,” Deizy Izquierdo said.
The tears flowed in a room filled with grandparents, uncles, cousins and close friends.
“This is better than watching the Super Bowl,” Josue Izquierdo said.
When families react, Seleshi is moved, too.
“For me, I get so satisfied [and] I get emotional,” she said.
On a busy weekend, Seleshi visits up to four clients at their homes.
Seleshi said she thinks her company is the only one of its kind in the Washington area.
It performs ultrasounds at the client’s convenience. It might be a baby shower, a sex-revealing party, or just an intimate moment between the parents and close family members.
Seleshi has portable equipment — approximately the size of a laptop — that can be connected to a big-screen TV. She also carries a projector.
The mobile ultrasound packages vary from $150 to $250. That gives clients 10 to 30 minutes of 2-D, 3-D or 4-D session, color printed pictures, and a DVD with the entire session.
According to the Baby Joy 3D/4D website, ultrasound in an elective, noninvasive procedure offers a “peek” inside the womb. Conventional 2-D ultrasound returns a black-and-white image of the fetus. The 3-D ultrasound uses advanced technology to capture a detailed image. A 4-D ultrasound includes a video image of the fetus.
Seleshi said gender verification can be done in any package, but only if the parents want to know. She can do the ultrasound and not say what the gender is.
Seleshi, a Silver Spring resident, is certified through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography and specialized in obstetrics/prenatal ultrasound. She holds a bachelor’s in sonography from Georgetown University.
For nine years, she has performed thousands of ultrasound services in women with high-risk pregnancies, she said.
Seleshi said a mom-to-be does not need to get a doctor’s permission for the ultrasound, but she requires that a client be under doctor’s care.
Seleshi said she needed about $36,000 to start her business. It took about 10 months to get the venture fully running.
Her first client was seen Nov. 23. Since then, she has been booked every weekend, she said.
She still works Monday through Friday at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring.
“I have a good amount of clients every weekend. … People that I scan say to me, ‘I wish I had known about this business before,’” Seleshi said.