Things change rapidly after you find out you’re expecting. Your mind is filled with question after question and from day 1 the overwhelming hope is that your baby is ok. I quickly realized that despite watching my nephew grow and helping out in looking after him, I KNEW NOTHING! I’ve never Googled so much random crap in a relatively short space of time before, from ‘How big is baby at week X?’ to ‘Do babies poop in the womb?’
The other half stops having PMT tantrums, which is great right? Wrong! They are replaced by a new brand of irrationality based mental meltdowns, the likes of which I’d never seen or heard before. But despite her new found ferocity it was one of my primary indicators that things were changing inside her and that her hormones going mad was probably a good sign.
Throughout this period, Mrs. D started telling me about various new sensations she was getting but without anything visual for me to go by, I honestly found it difficult to get my head round. Its almost as though I needed some proof to make this dream world a reality.
Cue the 12-week scan. My first ever visit to a hospital maternity department, when the main subject of discussion was to be my own baby. We walked in and checked in at the reception desk, and found two seats in the small waiting room, which was already occupied by 3 or 4 expectant mothers. I noticed the various leaflets and guides on subjects I’d never considered to be in any way important such as breast-feeding and birth plans. It dawned on me that I would be an active participant of things of this nature, and more!
After about 10 minutes of looking around, reading posters about quitting smoking and hearing the ambient noise of a mother talking about pregnancy yoga (didn’t know it was a thing) on the small TV in the corner, we were called into the sonographers’ room. The room was small and dimly lit. There was a short bed on a slightly raised platform, with an ultrasound contraption sitting next to it. This was the machine that would introduce me to my baby for the first time!
We were used to putting the ultrasound gel on her, at this point, fairly normally sized belly as we purchased a heartbeat monitor from Amazon a few weeks before so hearing the heartbeat was such a novel thing. We’d actually listened to the baby that morning, so it wasn’t a big deal in the sonographers’ room. The things that took my breath away for a split second was the black screen, framed in white dashes and numbers suddenly going from black, to a misty grey colour. It looked a little like a really crap black and white video or static on an old school CRT TV for a few seconds, followed by a distinctive shape coming into view as she moved the sensor around Mrs. Ds tummy. There was a dark alien like profile of a little face, with a tiny body; completely disproportionate to the head and this little shape was bouncing around all over the place… My internal reaction was ‘Holy Shitballs!’ That’s my baby!!!’ It was a really loud and proclaiming remark in my head but the serenity of the sonographers’ room didn’t allow the sheer insanity of this moment come through with any brashness. Instead I just wanted to hold Mrs Ds hand and search her face for the same sense of wonderment I was feeling. It was right there, in her eyes and I immediately recognised it as the same thing I was going through. Finally we had a moment we could really share. It was real, and I was an integral part of this. It was the first time since she pissed on that stick that I was almost knocked off my feet. It was beautiful. My grey, blurry, lime sized, odd looking baby was beautiful.
Once my senses had adjusted to the situation, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of that screen. My little baby was literally bouncing. The sonographer explained that as it’s so small, the baby has lots of room to move around and you wont feel a thing. I was genuinely very surprised as to how much energy this little firecracker seemed to have. I said all the generic clichéd shit that all parents must say like ‘oh she takes after such n such’ or ‘we’re gonna have our hands full with this one’ etc. I don’t know why but it just seemed appropriate in front of a medically trained stranger. Let’s face it; I wanted to look like a normal human being, but probably came across as an unoriginal fool who was so scared to death by what he’d just seen that he mumbled the first meaningless sentence that came to mind.
I went home with a new perspective, with the first picture of our baby in my hand. Irrationality and madness aside, Mrs D really was carrying a little human inside her and she was doing it all for us. The reality was finally dawning on me that I need to prepare for big positive changes. The leaflets, posters and videos in the waiting room all talk about things that require consideration… Mrs D will need all of my care and support over the coming months. I will have to actively participate and rub bio-oil on her belly, and although I consider myself a slave to chores already, help around the house – Like wash up twice a week and dust my own replica light saber.
This geeky dad to be might actually have to grow up… but not too much.