An old man is lying in a hospital bed, talking about how all the big moments in life are behind him. Falling in love, getting married, having children and seeing them grow up. All the little things that go with these landmarks of life, all behind him. What does he have left to look forward to? Although it’s only a TV show, the thought is more than a little bit sad. I seem to be having a lot of these moments now, they’re coming thick and fast. It’s exciting, relentless.
The scan is one of those moments. It’s actually the second scan, but it’s my first. I duck out of work saying I have to see the doctor about my neck. And it’s off into hospital, and a totally different world full of nurses, doctors, pregnant women and gossip magazines. They know how to keep you waiting too, I’ve never read so many magazines in my life… they force you to read them in there.
Eventually we are called through to the ultrasound area, which has a bed and a massive flat-screen opposite. The perfect place to spend an afternoon watching movies.
There’s a Star Trek type console to one side, and a seat for me on the other. All three of us take our positions and before you know it, up goes the skirt. A jelly is applied to the belly and within seconds, an image appears on the screen. I’ve seen this sort of thing on TV so it’s not a total surprise. Initially we can’t see anything recognisable; well, I can’t. The radiographer knows what she’s looking for though, and maneuvers the instrument around effectively. And suddenly, there it is. That’s my wee boy up there, my wee girl. Totally amazing.
That was the moment, that was the whole world right there. I was lit up, and while the afterglow remained for the rest of the day, for maybe five minutes in there – it was almost overwhelming.
I almost cry in the room but manage to hold it in. The radiographer asks one of the doctors to look at the cyst that had been picked up in the last scan, and the doctor assures us there is nothing to worry about.
We leave on a wave of relief. Erin seems to be finally putting her demons to rest, with negative thoughts and doubts replaced by reassuring fact. At freakin’ last.
Although it’s a major milestone we aren’t out of the woods yet. In between Hello magazines, I manage to read a couple of leaflets about the nuchal translucency test—the three month, or 12-week scan that I’ve heard so much about, when you can reliably call yourself pregnant. This is the first time I’d read anything in detail about it though.
We allow ourselves a day of being excited again, then it is back to holding it all in. Meanwhile I’ve designed the kid’s room in my head. I’ve painted an ‘Under the sea’ mural in my imagination, but that’s as far as it is allowed to go.
I didn’t know anyone with children when my wife was expecting. So I’d sit in front of my computer at the end of the day and squeeze my life out onto the keys. This is a little part of what I wrote, and if you’re thinking about having a kid, it’s a wee taster of what might be ahead.