The first scan was carried out during the last week of February. The preceding couple of months had been unremarkable in as much as it was a period of keeping a secret. Although we wanted to share our news, we wanted to wait until the first scan was done and we were sure we didn’t have a phantom. I know this sounds pretty silly now, as it is obvious that if there had been no monthly action, being ‘late’ gets passed the point of even being mentioned.. two months late is not ‘late’ it is clearly ‘pregnant’. The voice in the back of your head is a quiet but doubting voice, and it is a by-product of this generation that until we see a photograph of something, we cannot accept it is real.
I also have to say at this point, me and Willy had not wanted to announce our news, only to have some horrible course of events lead us to then announce again that we were not pregnant. That ‘course of events’ is of course the worst case scenario: losing the baby. It is an interesting quirk of human nature (or maybe it is just us) that we remained silent because we did not want the upset or embarrassment of having to retract our original statement about being pregnant, when really if the worst had happened, we would have needed that support and outlet of grief to get us through that part of our lives. It is with this clear thought in our minds that we agreed to tell our close family… but only close family: three people.. my mum and dad, and Willy’s mum.
Now, we have been together almost 16 years and married for 10 years, but there was still a nervous period before announcing our news; we did not know how our nearest and dearest would react. We had thought either that we had waited too long to start a family and were not interesting enough anymore and it would have been a total non-event to them, or worse that we would have been criticised for being too old to start a family: I am 43 and Willy 32. Also I am the youngest of my siblings and Willy the eldest of hers, so I also thought that my niece and nephews would have satisfied my parents long ago, and Willy’s mum had long given up on being a gran. How wrong we were. All three of them were delighted: totally shocked, but bursting with joy.
Willy was fortunate during this time that she did not suffer too much from morning sickness. She did feel unwell and nauseous often, but never vomited. She also did not have massive or unnatural cravings: I had pictured driving to the all night superstore and picking up all manner of odd delicacies. But no, only once did I have to go to the shops and that was for mango chutney and poppadoms. Luckily, Willy’s love for good Indian cuisine never altered and we often visited our local restaurant (Tropical Spice in Stourbridge).
And so to the first scan. I am trying now to recollect my feelings, but I think it was mainly of relief. We had thought we would both be very emotional, but we both were just relieved that we definitely were pregnant and that everything seemed to be healthy. Willy had said only a couple of days before going to the hospital that she had nightmares of the scan showing nothing and we would be sent away with our tails between our legs for wasting everyone’s time. I have to say that sitting in that darkened room, a TV screen hanging from the ceiling at the end of the bed showing initially a very grainy dark nothingness, my heart was banging in my chest. And then out of nowhere the shape of little life, and then it was gone again as the radiographer rolled the scanner around Willy’s belly. We had heard that sometimes it is difficult to get a clear picture, but again the screen fills with the unmistakeable image of a baby’s head and arms, and there at the centre of the TV a white pulsing heart. And the baby’s legs and arms were moving around as if he was dancing (we didn’t know at this point by the way it was a boy); it was a beautiful sight. The radiographer carried out the necessary measurements, while me and Willy stared unblinking at the screen above us, trying to take in and process the information there. The photograph we eventually took away with us does no justice to these few minutes, but we left the room with swelling hearts and excitement. No tears, but very emotional. I kept looking at the picture almost in disbelief, but with a wide smile that knew this was all true and all happening to us.
We could not have been happier… well, as it happens, we became progressively happier as the weeks go by.