SYCAMORE – Krista Svoboda of Sycamore said that while the elective ultrasound services she offers are not a medical necessity, the experience of bonding with one’s baby while it’s still in the womb is priceless, and encourages those expecting to turn the session into a family affair.
Svoboda, 30, opened Oh, Baby 3D & 4D Ultrasound Boutique on June 1. Her shop is nestled in Suite 8 at 407 W. State St., the same building that houses Sycamore’s Chamber of Commerce. Not meant to replace medical ultrasounds or regular anatomy imaging, Svoboda said her business offers moms- and dads-to-be a chance to interact with their baby as early as 17 weeks pregnant. Oh, Baby also offers gender reveals, as many as 60 digital photos to take home and other maternity gifts.
“This is strictly elective for fun photos,” she said Monday. “I have them come in and we can look at baby’s face, watch baby move its hand up by its mouth, maybe suck a thumb, see the little feet kick around. There’s no rush. It sounds cheesy, but [it’s about] creating the bonding experience with the baby.”
Oh, Baby offers four ultrasound packages that include a variety of options for viewing the baby in a 3D photo, or even 4D, with sound or movement, though Svoboda said she can tailor each package to the preference and price range of each client.
This type of ultrasound often is not covered by medical insurance, and prices range from $119 to $300.
Like regular ultrasound, 3D and 4D footage is collected by using sound waves, which Svoboda catches with her HD-Live machine she purchased for the boutique. Expectant parents can see a sculpted 3D image of the baby’s face or a video of the baby yawning or smiling. Svoboda’s technology also can capture the baby’s heartbeat, and people can buy a Heartbeat Teddy Bear, which has a button that will play a recording of the baby’s heartbeat.
Originally from Cincinnati, Svoboda met her husband, Matt Svoboda, who works as a nuclear fuel handler for Byron Nuclear Generating Station, during a vacation to Nashville.
Svoboda splits her time between her new business and working as a licensed diagnostic sonographer at Advocate Medical Group Obstetrics and Gynecology, where she’s been overseeing the radiology department since 2011.
She said that while she loves the field, one observation led her to want to branch out and start her own business to better serve expectant parents.
“I currently scan high-risk OB, meaning maternal fetal medicine, so anyone who is older or who has any kind of health issues,” she said. “It’s a very fast-paced environment, and, unfortunately, a lot of times we don’t have a lot of time to really take the time with people to show them pictures of baby’s face.”
She said she often noticed patients leaving looking disappointed, which led her to seek out a space where she could offer services to enhance the special moments when parents see their unborn child for the first time.
“Everyone comes in a little nervous not really knowing what to expect,” she said. “I always love looking at the spouse because it’s like, the mom is pregnant from early on, so she’s had time to think about this and feel the baby. Whereas the dad, they don’t connect as quickly, so [they see] such lifelike photos or ‘that’s my nose,’ and they then realize this is happening.”
Sessions are by appointment only, and can be made by calling 630-940-3627 or emailing email@example.com.
Svoboda said though she’s only been open for a month, the support she’s received from friends, family and the community makes it worthwhile.
“It’s been super rewarding for me because I’m doing things that really make people happy,” she said. “When I see moms crying happy tears and leaving so excited, it’s definitely justified.”