Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Scans are fantastic. Fathers don’t usually get time off work, so like me you’ll probably have to ask a favour or skive somehow to be there. But do it. Go along to as many scans as you can. It’s really worth the trouble.

You should probably be there for your partner just in case there’s any bad news. We had a scare on one occasion when we were told that our baby's organs might not be developing properly. The kidneys looked too big. It turned out that it was nothing serious; my wife had been drinking so much water just before the scan (to make the image good and clear) that his kidneys couldn’t cope with the excess fluid! But it made me realise how much The Mrs depended on me being there for her if anything had been seriously wrong. So go for that reason.

But go for yourself too.

I'll never forget the first time I saw my son at his 14 week scan. I don’t know why, probably because I’d seen a scan picture or two, but I was expecting to see something quite still. The reality couldn’t have been more different. There was a bit of business with gel and tissues, then as soon as the handheld scanning thing went onto my wife's belly, the very second it made contact, there was the image of the baby wriggling and kicking on the screen.

I think it was the first time we both believed that we really were going to have a baby. Until then the two lines on a pregnancy kit and the slight illness of my wife weren’t really enough to properly convince either of us. The pregnancy didn’t feel real, like it was happening to someone else. But now there was no doubt about it. There was a small alien creature in my wife’s belly, with toes, fingers, and as the operator zoomed in on his face, a mouth which opened and drank a little of the fluid he was in. His heart was pumping away and when they switched on the microphone to hear it again there was no doubt: doof, doof, doof. The little fella was in a hurry.

The Mrs held my hand throughout and squeezed my fingers till they went white. Not from fear, but excitement. It was an amazing thing to share. I went to two or three more scans after that, when the baby was bigger and the pictures clearer and sharper, but nothing could ever beat the first time.

I remember we walked away through the reception of the hospital grinning from ear to ear because we had a secret no-one else knew. We had seen the future, and it was very, very cute.

So go. Don’t let work get in the way. It’s the greatest show on earth.


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