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April 1, 2004

Oh Baby! offers parents a sneak peek

By Stacy Jenkins
Staff writer

Some expectant parents just can't wait to see their unborn baby.

That's where Oh Baby! steps in.

"I could tell that he does look a lot like my daughter,"
said Jan Arthurs of Grand Blanc

The new pre-birth imaging boutique in West Bloomfield takes the guesswork out of the anticipated new arrival's beauty.

"I could tell that he does look a lot like my daughter," said Jan Arthurs of Grand Blanc, who is expecting her baby boy in about two weeks.

She had the ultrasound images taken at Oh Baby! before owners Barry Notarius and Sy Freilich opened for business. Arthurs' baby was a model in utero for Oh Baby! to use on its Web site: www.myfirstpicture.us.

"It was amazing to see my baby," said Arthurs, who put the images in a photo album. "It's like my baby's first picture."

And that's the whole point at Oh Baby!

It's not a medical facility, but its certified sonographers are highly qualified and they use state-of-the art equipment to produce the three-dimensional images.

Women must be under a doctor's care and have the doctor's permission before making an appointment at Oh Baby! Optimal images are produced between 26 and 32 weeks of pregnancy. There are no known dangers associated with the imaging process, said Pat Johnston, director of sonography.

"There's no radiation at all, it's all done with sound waves," said Johnston.

Seeing the expressions on the faces of the expectant parents is what it's all about.

"It's such a happy business," said Notarius, of West Bloomfield. "The reactions we get from our clients, you wouldn't believe it. It is such a wonderful business."

Notarius also owns Eagle Business Solutions, a computer hardware and software integration company. He said this venture is much more fun.

Seeing the scrunched little faces and tiny hands of babies is also quite far off the normal career path for co-owner Freilich. He owns Aquatest Laboratories, a drinking water testing lab in White Lake.

So far, he's having a ball.

"The bonding between the parents and the baby strengthens from seeing the baby's face," said Freilich. "We see the parents come in, especially the fathers who say, 'Yeah, we're having a baby,' then they see the baby and say, 'Oh, my God, look at the face...' That's when we see the bonding taking place."

Oh Baby! is purposefully designed in soft colors and rounded themes to imitate the womb. Resembling a day spa, the atmosphere is comfortable and inviting. A juice bar, a play area for siblings and a private powder room add to the comforts.

A television monitor puts the baby on display for family and friends who tag along with the parents. Staffers get a kick out of hearing the squeals of excitement coming from the sonogram rooms.

"We want it to be a fun experience," said Johnston.

As for the sex of the baby, Johnston says, "If you don't want to know, then don't look."

Oh Baby! packages start at $179, which include the imaging session and copies of the photos on acid-free paper printed with archival quality ink. Photo frames, albums and DVDs are also available. The boutique is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.

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Oh Baby! Pre-Birth Imaging
(248) 855-1655
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