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Jul 6 / Caro

Anomaly Scan

I made sure to set my alarm before we went to bed, as our appointment was early and I didn’t want to risk getting caught in traffic. I needn’t have bothered of course, as I tossed and turned, sleeping only fitfully for most of the night. My fears and worries tumbled over and over in my brain as if on a spin cycle, occasionally pausing as one bubbled uncontrollably to the surface. It echoed perfectly the fear I felt on the night before our very first scan. Back then I’d been so worried that they would tell me there was nothing there, and that I’d imagined it all. Or worse still that the baby was there, but there was no heartbeat. But this time my fear was magnified by a powerful zoom. The stakes were even higher.

I couldn’t stop myself replaying all the risks I’d been told, and read for myself, that come with a diabetic pregnancy. I kept replaying the first trimester over and over in my head, looking for things that I may have done wrong, or that may have jeopardised our baby. The occasional high blood sugars were the only thing I could think of, but they kept playing on my mind.

Ian awoke occasionally as I tossed and sighed, and tried to soothe me that everything would likely be ok, but even if it weren’t there was little I could do about it now. We’d have to handle that – if it came – the same way we handle everything else. Together.

When the time eventually came for me to climb on to the couch and roll my (maternity) jeans right down, I felt as though my heart were in my mouth. The room was darkened and Ian took up his position on the blue chair next to me. Warm jelly spattered on my belly. We both stared intently at the mobile scanner screen positioned at the foot of the bed specifically so that we could get a good view (thoughtful touch in the lovely new hospital where we are being looked after).

When the grainy black and white image of our baby appeared and the heartbeat was immediately obvious, my own heart descended a tiny bit. The sonographer was friendly and reassuring. She began her checks, pointing out parts of the baby to us as she checked them. She showed us the face, and the round halo of the skull, perfectly formed. We could see the stark black blob that is the bladder. We could see the neat and complete curve of the spine. With each area she ticked off as being problem free, my heart slowed just a little bit more. The spin cycle in my stomach began to subside.

It proved to be our child though, revealing itself to be as camera-shy as its father. Each time the sonographer attempted to close in on the heart and other organs, the baby turned away and refused to play ball.

“Could you just try wiggling your hips a bit” the sonographer asked.  Still no joy.

“Maybe if you raise your bottom up and, erm, kind of shake it around” she suggested with a smile. I must have looked bizarre, but baby still refused to play along.

Shy like its father, and stubborn like its mother. Clearly.

“Perhaps you could go for a walk for 15 minutes, see if we can get this baby to shift” she suggested.

So for the next 15 minutes we paced the hospital corridors and I bounded up and down the stairs outside the hospital restaurant hoping to encourage the baby to show us what we needed to see. I got some pretty funny looks as me and my bump went up and down the stairs whilst Ian stood and watched me!
Finally we were called back to repeat the positioning, jeans rolling and jelly spattering.

“It’s really stubborn, this baby” the sonographer said. Then eventually it came “Everything looks just fine. The only thing I can’t get a completely full look at is part of the heart, but that will be covered by the cardiac scan. I’d be very, very surprised if they found anything wrong though.”

That was all I wanted to hear. The baby currently measures right on the 50th centile and is perfectly formed. Something must have got in my eyes, as they both suddenly seemed very watery.

Just before she finished, the sonographer asked one more question. “So, do you want to find out what you’re having?”

Ian and I didn’t even need to look at each other. We’d both been very firm on this from the beginning. “No, thanks. We’ll wait to find out on their birthday.”

It really is about having a healthy baby. I don’t mind which variety, and we’re happy to have that surprise when they’re born, rather than in the darkened scanning room that just moments before had still been filled with my fraught worries. They’re worries that will only really go away when we do discover the sex and I can hold our baby in my arms and see for myself that it is really all right.

Those worries will be replaced instantly by a whole new set, of course. We’re well and truly getting ready for parenthood.

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