“Well, that wasn’t very magical,” says my wife.
She’s right. It really wasn’t. I’m not sure what we’d been expecting, but I distinctly remember being promised magic. Everyone we’d spoken to had said the 20-week scan was going to be an amazing experience. By now our baby would look like a baby, and not like the weird grey jellybean it looked like at three months. We’d get to say hi. We’d connect with it. We’d see it wriggling around doing cool stuff, like sucking its thumb and kicking it legs; maybe some shadow puppetry against the uterus wall. It was going to be awesome. It was going to be magical.
It was going to be no such thing.
We’d arrived at the clinic in good time so I let my wife chat to the receptionist while I wandered around the waiting room looking at all the safe sex posters tacked to the walls. “Now they tell me,” I thought to myself. Eventually the receptionist directed us up to the second floor, where we were told to wait for an ultrasound doctor. And so we waited. And waited. And waited some more. At this rate, they wouldn’t need an ultrasound machine to check on the child’s development. They could just ask its sixth form teacher.
Some time after the ice caps melted and just before President Bieber declared war on the Netherlands, a flustered looking doctor stuck her head into the room and asked if we were here for a scan.
“Yes,” we smiled in unison.
“You’re late” she replied a little too crossly. “And you’re supposed to be on the first floor.”
We were then hurried downstairs to the ultrasound room, where my wife was ordered onto the table without so much as a beg your pardon. We only had five minutes before her next appointment. Granted, this was entirely our fault, we’d gone to the wrong floor. But I thought there was some sort of international code that states you have to be nice to pregnant people. Even if they do something really mean and horrible to you first. Like make you watch Masterchef. Or walk really slowly. Or take up too much space in bed. Or accidentally wait on the wrong floor.
I thought there was some sort of international code that states you have to be nice to pregnant people.
I remember thinking at our three-month scan that ultrasound doctors have the best job in the world. Sure, they have to deal with anxious and erratic couples, but they get to be the ones who calm those nerves. They get to tell them that their baby is healthy; watch their faces light up when they show them what it looks like; point out its heartbeat. They get to hand them a picture of their little grey jellybean and send them on their merry way. As any student of Christmas cracker jokes will tell you, the coolest person in the hospital is the ultra sound guy. Just not today.
Once my wife was on the table and greased up with special goo, the doctor proceeded to hastily prod, poke and jab at her belly with the transducer (yes, I had to Google it), while tersely barking out random body parts like “femur”, “arms” and “liver”. If this was magic, Derren Brown can rest easy. What’s more, it soon became apparent that we had even bigger problems. Our baby didn’t have a head. To be fair, the doctor seemed pretty sure it did have a head, but she couldn’t actually prove it. And our five minutes were up.
Everyone agreed this was not a happy turn of events. Our child, so aggrieved with the atmosphere in the room, steadfastly refused to show its face. Either that, or we’re having a baby turtle. In a desperate bid to shift the baby’s position I tried lifting my wife’s behind off the table (there was going to be a joke here, but I’d like my child to have a father) while she arched her back. When that didn’t work she tried doing a few star jumps. Still nothing. The doctor eventually drew the line when my wife asked if it was ok to do a handstand and mercifully arranged for us to have another appointment later that afternoon.
The second attempt wasn’t any more magical, but I can now confirm our baby has a head. What more can you ask for, really?
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