Mother/daughter duo Becky McDonald and Ember Clinkenbeard are living a dream they may not have even realized they had one short year ago.
McDonald and Clinkenbeard are the owners of the newly opened Babyface 4D Ultrasound Studio. Located at 145 N. Second Ave., Ste. 9, the Oakdale based business offers mothers-to-be as well as their family and friends the opportunity to get a sneak peek of their precious cargo.
“The only difference between the 3D and the 4D is that we add movement,” Clinkenbeard said, noting that they offer several services including 2D, 3D and 4D.
“We also include HD live in all of our packages,” she continued. “That’s really cool because it gives the life like appearance. It puts the baby into flesh tones and it has a light source that we can move around and really change the image. 2D is mostly used to look at baby and hear the heartbeat.”
Clinkenbeard, a former medical assistant and McDonald, a former 911 dispatcher and corporate trainer shared the idea and opportunity for the business came to them in late spring of this year.
“It just felt like an opportunity,” McDonald said of starting the business with her daughter.
She and her husband had attended an ultrasound with their son, which she personally appreciated but was fascinated by the response of the men in the family.
“My husband was really into it,” she said. “It was interesting to see the men’s reaction to the ultra sound.”
During this time, Clinkenbeard was looking to explore something which would allow her flexibility, as well as being logistically close to her school-aged children here in Oakdale.
“Watching my husband and my son, it was like wow this was really cool,” McDonald continued. “It just seemed like something that could fit our skill set.”
The mother/daughter team shared they traveled to Southern California for their training, as well as had a training tech visit them at the Oakdale location to ensure they are well versed in the machine they use.
“That was one of the most important things to us, is making sure we got a machine that gets good images,” McDonald said. “We didn’t want to end up with a machine that didn’t give good results.”
They also noted the services they offer as, “All elective and fun. Not medically prescribed or ordered. For keepsake purposes and not diagnostic.”
“Part of what we did though was really think about if we were the mom coming into the place, what would we want it to be like,” McDonald said of the retail assortment offered in addition to their ultrasound services. “If we were in that situation, what would we want to see.”
The business was officially opened in mid-September thanks largely in part to Clinkenbeard’s husband, friends and some client volunteers. The help of the friends was instrumental in building a few walls, adding some baseboards and even a little paint. While the volunteers were helpful, that gave the duo time for true hands on experience, as they learned to perfect their skill with the ultra sound machine.
“Girls were really eager and excited,” Clinkenbeard said of the response received on social media to their free training sessions.
“We love Oakdale and we love the community and how supportive it is,” she shared of choosing the 95361 for their business location. “We just love that it’s so community based and small town.”
The women also indicated that research also supported the idea of placing the business in Oakdale, sharing that Modesto was the closest one could travel to from Oakdale or the foothills for the same services.
“I seriously tear up at almost every session,” Clinkenbeard said of her newfound career. “These people let us introduce them to their baby. Who gets to do that? It’s just so special.”
As she choked back tears at the simple recollection of being trusted by the families who seek their services, mom chimed in, “It’s really sweet to see the baby and just the reactions.”
“There’s a lot of laughter in this room, but I think it’s more about the excitement of the people seeing the babies,” she said.
And as the mother to the co-owner of this next career chapter for McDonald, her pride is similar to those who come in to see their baby for the first time.
“It’s just great as a mom to see your daughter just really take ahold of stuff. She’s really a pretty savvy businesswoman. I had no idea,” she confessed.
For additional information on Babyface or to schedule a session, call (209) 322-2042 or visit www.babyfaceultrasound.com or @babyface.oakdale on Instagram and Facebook.