On the Monday of week 20 we had the mid-pregnancy scan. Officially halfway! Never ones for doing things the easy way, it had been a bit of a kerfuffle to get me into the NHS system at 18 weeks gestation with no prior notes from New Zealand and then get a midwife and scan booked before it was too late for the right appointments at the right time. Especially when we added in the fact that this was just a temporary stop off, despite being my ‘home’ county, the baby would actually be born down in Cornwall, but there was no way we could get down there and into the Cornish system and get a scan booked within the recommended two weeks!
Blimey, the red tape we jumped through just to have a baby the right way! Top tip: (not that anyone else would be in the position of having a pregnancy across two different hemispheres and three different health systems:) CALL THEM AND KEEP CALLING THEM UNTIL THEY’RE SICK OF YOU! But, all that behind us, we got an appointment at the right time, in the right place.
It niggles away at you, that anomaly scan, there is always the what-if. What if I’ve been too blase in assuming everything is going to be okay? What if they find something out of the ordinary? I knew that it was going to all be fine, but it still niggles.
We asked the technician not to reveal Spud’s sex, and as she started prodding and rolling around we saw our beautiful baby pop up, for a third (and final) time on a screen before we meet him/her (still calling him a him) for real. He was sucking his thumb, and so big and clear! “Oh we can’t do the scan with that arm in the way!” The technician scolded, and jiggled the probe around a bit to try and get him to shift. Spud did a little dance and moved around a bit in his warm cave.
The scan started at the head and worked down- those machines are so incredible! From the butterfly wings of his brain right down every single vertebrae present and correct, so recently uncurled, to the soles of his feet- “see those two dots?” She asked us, “they’re the ends of his leg bones.” We were looking up THROUGH Spud! My mum was there and I think she was trying hard not to well up, it has been nearly 18 years since my brother was born, I wonder how different the technology is now, how much more she could see. It’s all so impossible to make out until the lady says, ‘and those are the kidneys/knees/knuckles’ and we all go ‘aaaaahhh yeaah.’
She spent a long time looking at his heart, she warned us before that she would, and that she wouldn’t talk much because she needed to concentrate, it was nothing to worry about it she went quiet. A little touch like that really helps. This scan checks each chamber and ventricle and with a click of her mouse, the monitor lights up with blue and red lines all over Spud- representing which are veins and which are arteries. The fact he had a stomach and bladder that were visible means he must be swallowing some fluid, a good sign that he’s practising breathing in there.
All his measurements were on the middle-large end of the averages, and his estimated weight was 395 grams! Good, healthy little baby, fingers toes and everything crossed he stays that way.
We stayed over at Nan’s for a night this week and had a lovely evening with her playing Rummikub. For 84, she still beat us the crafty old thing! When I was younger it was a sort of tradition when Mum and Dad would go out that whenever I stayed the night with nanna she would cook chicken and mushroom pie, and we’d light a candle and have strawberries for pudding. So 20+ years later, with Robin, and a great grandchild on the way, that’s exactly what we did.
We spent all day Saturday driving around with Mum, Rob showing us the local beaches, backroads, high streets and places we’d be going alot. Mum liked to have an idea of where I would be but it was all so daunting, being plumped in the middle of somewhere perfectly new all over again!
We’ve started over several times, in places much stranger than Helston, but when we moved somewhere new in Australia or New Zealand, we started over together. It was new to both of us, a joint learning curve that we would help each other up. And now I was plonked in the middle of Rob’s old life that is so normal for him yet so strange for me, it was a little alienating.
But for all the foreign sounding names, uncomfortable newness of places I can’t yet relate to, and the knee-jerk panic reaction that ‘this will never be home!’ I couldn’t deny that this is the place I want to bring Spud up, I mean, look at it. It’s stunning. And I could immediately see how happy Rob was to be back. He was like a pig in mud taking us around his favourite surf beaches, eating his pasty on the harbour wall, declaring his ‘favourite smell in the whole world’ as we passed a dairy farm and got a whiff of stomach churning silage and cow poop.
In the two days we’ve been back he’s lost the use of half the consonants he used to know and has resorted to vowel heavy grunts to communicate. As long as Spud doesn’t pick that up I think this will be a happy home.