POCATELLO — Jade Forbush never imagined herself being a small business owner, but after a bout of inspiration she decided she wanted to pursue her passion: helping expecting mothers connect with their developing babies.
Forbush is a sonographer who works at Portneuf Medical Center providing ultrasounds to patients.
During the course of her work, she noticed that moms-to-be weren’t given much time to bond with their babies during the ultrasound process. Additionally, traditional black-and-white sonograms — the images produced by ultrasound waves — are two dimensional so they don't have much personality.
After seeing someone on Facebook start a similar business in Texas, Forbush — who is originally from Kimberly and has lived in Pocatello for a decade — decided to open Sentiments 4D Ultrasound Studio LLC on North Main Street in Pocatello.
“It’s just really fun,” she said. “It’s a fun way for moms to bond earlier and have more of an experience with their pregnancies.”
4D ultrasounds are 3D, thus giving a much more lifelike image of the fetus. What’s the fourth dimension? It's a live video of what the baby is doing in the womb.
“Normal ultrasounds that people get at a hospital are done in this two-dimensional black and white,” Forbush said. “... Normal hospitals don’t usually offer any of this 3D technology. My machine does both and it acquires what baby looks like in a 3D volume. It’s all elective and people usually come between 29 and 33 weeks but they can come any time.”
While 4D ultrasound technology isn’t new, it’s still not widely used in East Idaho.
“It’s getting more popular. Most other states and bigger cities have these all over,” Forbush said. “I’ve been doing ultrasounds for seven years at (PMC) and in Twin Falls, and it seems like people ask for it, they ask if we do it, and we don’t, obviously. People from here travel as far as Boise and Salt Lake to get this done.”
Since opening in June, business has been going well.
“I’ve been doing at least a handful of people a week, which has been great for just opening,” Forbush said. “My goal is to hopefully someday end up being here all day every day.”
4D ultrasounds are elective, so they’re not covered by insurance, but Forbush has set her prices so that people of any income bracket can come spend some time with their babies.
“I really try to have a package in everyone’s price range, so if someone can’t afford the most expensive, they won’t get as much as that package, but they still get the experience,” she said.
The least expensive package — $40 — is a regular 2D ultrasound that Forbush said is simply for moms-to-be to have peace of mind.
“I have a comfort package where mom can just come in real quick and I show heartbeat and show that baby is alive and it’s good,” Forbush said. “Because how many people are like, ‘I just haven’t felt baby move in a while. I don’t want to spend a ton of money for another ultrasound’?"
The 4D packages start at $80 at eight to 14 weeks and $115 from 14 weeks until birth. All packages include photos of the babies, and the 4D ultrasounds all include at least one video.
As an added bonus, Forbush offers her clients one free rescan.
“If people come and baby is just not cooperating, I do one free rescan,” she said. “So it’s definitely not a big waste of money if you have (a chance) to come back.”
In addition, Forbush offers gender reveals starting at 16 weeks for $125.
Sentiments also sells 3D printed models of the developing babies; sneak peek gender reveals, which are blood tests that can determine a baby’s gender starting at eight weeks instead of the usual 16; and heartbeat animals — stuffed animals that have a device inside them with a recording of your baby’s heartbeat.
Forbush has a passion for making people happy, and she also loves her job as a sonographer. This business venture is an opportunity for her to combine both.
“I really just love to create things that will make people happy. How can I do that in my life and in my job?” she said. “... I wanted to give people this special opportunity that just wasn’t here. So once I got that inspiration and I realized I could do it, I said, ‘I’m going to go until someone tells me no' and I’ve loved it so much. I’ve loved it more than I thought I would.”
She continued, “In the doctors’ offices, we’re just in and out, in and out. That’s when they get to see their baby and sometimes we don’t get to entertain them as much as we would want to because we’re too busy getting the pictures that we need to to prove baby is healthy. I really wanted moms to have more access to seeing their babies.”
Currently, Sentiments is Forbush’s side gig, but she hopes that as word gets out she will eventually have enough clients to make it her full-time job.
“I would love to expand if I ever needed another machine and another sonographer,” she said. “(Other sonographers are) interested in coming and doing this because it’s just really fun. I will keep going as long as people keep coming in.”
For now, though, she’s just happy that she took the leap to make her dream a reality.
“I’m really proud of myself for doing this because I never pictured myself as a business owner,” Forbush said. “I was just fine working for someone else, but you change and your priorities change and you see what you can do and you just keep going.”
Sentiments 4D Ultrasound Studio is located at 1334 N. Main St. in Pocatello. For more information or to book an appointment, visit sentiments4dultrasoundstudio.com.