I Am Your Father – Part 2: The Scan

So, the next big step on the way to becoming a parent is the infamous Scan. We had ours a couple of weeks ago and, as seems to be tradition, that is also the point where we finally started to tell our friends and family the news.

Quick update; we are now in week 15 of the pregnancy. The baby is currently the size of an apple, apparently, but it is still very hard to tell, physically, that there is anything there. There is the slight suggestion of a bump if you poke around, but still no visible bulge.

Anyway, as I said, the main news from the last couple of weeks is the scan…

The Scan

So, the scan happens at around 12 weeks. The main purpose is to do a series of checks to make sure the baby is healthy.

We were ushered into a dark room, where m’wife lay on a table. The nurse then grabbed the scanner and got to work, as we watched the results on a TV screen on the wall. Almost immediately, we were looking at our baby for the first time.

The first thing they don’t tell you is that the nurse has to apply a surprising amount of pressure to your wife’s belly to get a good image. This can be quite uncomfortable but is worth putting up with to see those miraculous images. Here, as seems to be the case for most of this process so far, the husband’s only real job is to sit there quietly and hold his wife’s hand.

The second thing you don’t realise is that you the baby is actually alive (duh!) and moving around. You only ever see the still images, so we were surprised to see our baby flailing its little limbs and doing backflips, like a solo synchronised swimmer (you know what I mean). Apparently this is normal, although the nurse did comment that our baby was being unusually difficult and fidgeting around a lot – probably a sign of things to come! They have to get the baby into the right position so they can measure it (which is why all baby-scan pictures look the same!), in order to estimate your due date and do their checks.

Once they’ve done what they need to do, they print out the pictures for you to take home. I’ve included one of ours below. I am perfectly aware that it is not particularly remarkable or different to any other baby scan you will have seen, but that is OUR baby!

The good news is that it is human, its alive and there’s nothing obviously wrong with it, which is the best news you can hope for at this point. One of the things that they do is check for fluid in the baby’s spine, as well as taking some blood tests, so they can screen for things like Downs Syndrome and a list of other conditions that I’d never heard of.

It was at this point that m’wife got a little emotional, not just at seeing the baby for the first time, but at finally seeing proof that there was definitely a baby in there. Despite all the pregnancy tests and the blood tests, I think part of her still wasn’t convinced that she was actually pregnant!

It’s probably worth noting that you have to buy the photos (in our case from a machine in the lobby) before the scan. Three pictures cost £10, which may seem like quite a lot for a grainy, blurry picture on a flimsy piece of paper, but I don’t think that stops most people from getting one! We wanted three because… well, I’m getting to that!

Breaking the News

We knew that the scan was happening weeks ahead of time and it was booked for the week after our holiday to Tenerife (I’ll come back to that in a moment!). So we had arranged for both sets of (soon-to-be-grand-)parents to visit us the weekend after the scan.

We bought postcards, which we gave to the mums, saying “we thought it would be quicker if we delivered these in person” and the baby pictures were taped on the back. Everyone was very excited and emotional, as you can imagine. Once the parents knew, it wasn’t long before the news spread to the rest of our friends and family, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive, which has been amazing.

Pregnant on Holiday

Back to the holiday. We read up on all of the dos and don’ts, so, obviously, m’wife was drinking mocktails, wasn’t allowed in any hot tubs and had to avoid certain foods, but for the most part, it wasn’t too restrictive and didn’t have much impact on the holiday. Flying is fine and we were even told that it should be safe to go up the volcano, as long as we weren’t too high up for too long.

The upshot of all this was that my wife was a cheap date for a week, even if there was some grumbling about “daiquiris without rum just not being the same”!

Other Pregnancy Updates

The only other thing to report is about the dreaded ‘morning sickness’. Weirdly, my wife has been queasy quite a lot, but mostly in the evenings (“‘morning sickness’ my arse!”). Obviously, this will vary from mother-to-mother and your experience will almost certainly differ!!

She noticed that one thing that was making her feel sick was the vitamins that she was taking. We had switched to the slightly cheaper, off-brand ones and she had been ignoring the advice not to take them on an empty stomach. Apparently, the more expensive ones don’t have this problem, which normally I might have rolled my eyes at, but the other main job of the husband throughout all this is just to say “yes dear” (even if you roll your eyes internally).

Final Thoughts

So, that was our experience with the scan and breaking the news. Since then it has gone back to not really feeling real for either of us, but I’m sure that will change over the coming weeks.