Something was different. My body clock was telling me that I should be afraid, yet I wasn’t. And the atmosphere was less tense than usual for this time of the month. Then it dawned on me: no PMT!
I hadn’t expected Rachel’s pregnancy to have so many happy side effects. She was feeling great; while I felt positively radiant (I started to wonder which one of us was actually carrying the baby!).
Now that weekends in the pub were out of the question, we had to find booze-free activities to pursue. With neglected entertainment such as museums and cinema trips back on the agenda, I actually began to feel quite cultured. Even Rachel’s cravings were a bonus. She had never before shown any interest in chocolate, but now she feverishly devoured the offerings demanded by her inner chocolate monster. Out of sympathy, I would bravely stuff Yorkie bars in my gob. I had to admit, was doing a pretty good job of being an understanding and supportive partner.
What’s more, our pregnancy was about to seem a lot more ‘real’ – the day of the 12-week scan had arrived.
Things to come
In the waiting area of our hospital’s maternity unit we were subjected to the piercing cried of a young baby, whose tired-looking mum tried in vain to comfort him. As the screaming escalated I could see couples exchanging nervous glances at this reminder of the not-so-joyous parenthood moments to come.
Still, my excitement wasn’t dented – we were about to see our baby for the first time! However, I couldn’t help noticing a growing feeling of nerves in the pit of my stomach. After all, there was quite a lot that could have potentially gone wrong. I wondered if Rachel was thinking the same thing, but I decided it would be best not to broach the subject at this stage.
The receptionist called Rachel’s name and I felt a surge of adrenaline as we were shown into the ‘scan room’. Perhaps it was the friendly manner of the nurse or the sudden contrast from the glaring strip lighting of the waiting room, but there was something very calming about the atmosphere. I immediately had the feeling that we were in safe, professional hands.
I was offered a seat and Rachel was asked to lie back and expose her still un-pregnant-looking stomach. Then came the jelly, followed by the ultrasound scanner. We all looked at the screen. It revealed black-grey fuzz. The nurse swished the scanner around. More grey fuzz, with black dots. I looked at the nurse’s face to see if I could decipher whether this was good or bad, but she remained indifferent and started to fiddle with the machine. Then all of a sudden, there was our baby! Or at least a vague baby-shaped outline. But I could make out the pulsing of what I assumed to be its little heart.
Until now, with no physical evidence, it had been hard to believe that there was actually a baby in there. I looked at Rachel, and she beamed a smile back at me. I felt amazing. “There we are,” said the nurse. “I’ll need to do a few checks. It might take 10 minutes.”
This was absolutely fine by me, although I couldn’t really contribute much to the conversation expect for the odd ‘woah’ and ‘aaah’. The nurse kept zooming in on various bits and explaining what they were, though how she could tell one blob from another was a mystery to me. I was just glad everything was ok.
The nurse took some snapshots to print off, and I managed to ask, “Can we find out the sex?” We had agreed that we wanted to know, but neither of us had a preference.
“Of course,” said the nurse. She whipped the scanner around and fiddled briefly with the machine. Another mysterious grey-black splodge appeared on the screen. I’m not claiming to be psychic, but I already knew the answer.
“It’s a girl.”