A ‘Date’ With The Scan

One of the Hospital visits that Jen and I were keenly looking forward to was the Pregnancy Dating Scan visit. Jen, because she wanted some sort of confirmation of the pregnancy (she still believed that there was a 1% chance the pregnancy stick she used had errors) and I, because I just wanted to see the baby.

We reached the Hospital almost 40 minutes before the appointment time, mainly due to the enthusiasm and also because this was our first visit to the Hospital and we wanted to acquaint ourselves with the parking, Maternity ward, facilities available etc. We checked in at the Maternity department reception and were asked to wait. The waiting area was calm, well-lit and had other moms-to-be with their partners and some children.

As always, Jen starting reading through the notices and pamphlets around the ward whereas I settled in with my favorite past time- observing people (not staring or judging!). A young couple complaining to the receptionist about how long they have been waiting when others are being called in, another mom-to-be trying everything to gain her partner’s attention whilst he was busy with his phone, a seemingly teenage couple getting all excited about the scan, a middle aged lady with a calm demeanor sipping a cup of coffee; and an elderly couple, probably in their late 60’s, sitting very quietly holding each others hands. I have always been fascinated by the human-kind. We are all so fundamentally similar yet so strikingly different.

Back to the topic, there were notices around the reception room asking the visitors not to take any photos during the scan. Great, I thought! Just the previous day, a colleague of mine had advised me to take some cash with me in case I wanted photos of the scan and I jokingly mentioned that I will take photos with my phone. I ran out to find an ATM and after searching for about 15 minutes within the Hospital, found one right next to the Maternity ward!

We were called in to the scan room shortly afterwards and as we entered, the Sonographer, somewhat discourteously, pointed towards a chair and asked me to sit. I promise I will behave.

After the usual question and answer session, the Sonographer applied gel on Jen’s tummy and started the scan with the Ultrasound probe. I must say, it was not very easy to find the baby as the Sonographer kept changing the probe position. She  said that the baby was trying to move away from the probe. Cute! After about a minute or so, a fuzzy outline of the baby emerged which was nowhere near the other scan photos I had seen on various forums online. It was a baby, yes, but it was just not clear. The Sonographer said that for some people, the scan is not clear and that Jen was one of them. After trying for 10 more minutes, the Sonographer asked Jen to have something to drink and return after 20 minutes. The reason was, because of the unclear scan, the Sonographer was unable to perform the Nuchal translucency test (measuring the fluid at the back of the baby’s neck) which forms part of the ‘combined test’ conducted to check for Down’s syndrome.

Jen held my hand walking towards the Hospital cafeteria, deeply lost in her thoughts. I told her there was nothing to worry. And I knew it.

The second attempt at the scan went well, I would say. The scan was still fuzzy but this time we were able to see the baby much clearly. An alien like entity with extended arms. We saw the baby float up and down in the amniotic fluid just like how Leo jumps in air when Jen or I return from work. Does the baby know we are watching? Scientifically, no, but you never know. The Sonographer joked that the baby was dancing to Bollywood music!

It was an amazing, emotional and a ‘goose-bump’ moment. I told myself, “There it is, our baby” and glanced at Jen. She had this distinct look on her face which eventually inspired me to start this blog (read more here).

After trying further, the Sonographer gave up and said that the Nuchal translucency test could not be done as the scan was not clear enough. She advised us to book a blood test with the Hospital to screen for the risk of Down’s syndrome at approximately 14th week of the pregnancy. What she did confirm was that there was one baby and the EDD (Estimated Due Date), which will be 28-Jan-2017.

As we were wrapping up, I asked the Sonographer for a photo. She was not happy with the quality of the photos so decided to give us 2 photos for the cost of 1.

It may be not be clear, but means a lot to us!Dating Scan1Dating Scan2

Jen sat quietly in the car back home. As I was starting to comprehend what all emotions she must be going through, she looked at me and asked, “What do you think that elderly couple was doing in the Maternity ward?”

You can find more about the Pregnancy Dating scan here.

If you want to share your Dating scan experience, leave a comment. Spread the joy of Parenthood!

Review: Book: The Expectant Dad’s Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know by Rob Kemp

As soon as the pregnancy was confirmed, I started sifting through my local Library’s online catalogue to see if there was any book that could help me prepare for this journey, especially the 9 months. In the following couple of months, I ended up reading 3 books and although all of them were informative in their own way, I found The Expectant Dad’s Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know by Rob Kemp to be the most helpful.

Book
I remember Jen questioning my choice when I picked up this book from the Library as the title suggested to help Dads put up through the 9 months as if it was some sort of punishment; but when I started quoting some points from the book to Jen couple of days later, she got interested and borrowed it from me to read herself. Now that I have read the book (well, almost), I can say that the title is appropriate, but not in a demeaning manner. The book helps prepare the Dad not only from his perspective but also from the Mother’s and Newborn’s point of view.

The book is split into 12 easy-to-read chapters with catchy chapter titles, which are further classified according to the week the pregnancy is in. This particularly helps as the reader can jump directly into the chapter based on our actual pregnancy status (in weeks) and can get focused advice. You can view the full list of Chapters here.

Contents_1

Contents_2

The introduction is slick and quickly jumps on to “Chapter 1: Discovering You’re About to Become a Dad, Pregnancy: Weeks 0-8”. Chapter 2 was considerably informative for me especially since Jen was a little apprehensive about miscarriage and was being extra cautious. This chapter provides tips on some common causes of miscarriages from everyday steps of life and how best to avoid them, for example, clearing up after cats and dogs (animal waste contains parasites which can cause Toxoplasmosis leading to miscarriage), doing the gardening, handling raw meat, being vigilant whilst cooking and handling dairy products or eggs at home. These are all small yet important gestures that Dads could handle to ensure sufficient support to the Moms.

The subsequent chapters will expose the reader to a myriad of Hospital appointments with earmarks on which ones the Dad should not miss and which ones are fine for the Mom to attend by herself. Further chapters talk about practical stuff like gears to buy for the baby, moving house into a larger space, finances, preparing the nursery, workplace arrangements and even Parent benefits provided by the Government. The book gets a bit serious as you get closer to the EDD (Estimated Delivery Date) and explains in brief what are the pain relief options, what to pack for the Hospital visit, how you as a Dad can help the Mom feel relaxed and calm, dealing with C-section etc.

All of the chapters include a section called ‘Expectant Dads’ Experiences’ which are funny yet informative and tactfully describe the different ways in which Dads react to the same event.

The last 2 chapters are focused on Postpartum and up to 6 months respectively, which I have saved for a later date to read. And at the end there is a Glossary, section with Useful Resources and a handy Index.

In my opinion, the Author has done a commendable job in packing information in an interesting, catalogued and progressive manner ensuring that all key points to prepare for the pregnancy as well as to embark on the journey are discussed. The whole narrative comes across as if you are talking to a good friend who has gone through pregnancy himself and at no point is offensive. There are some dry jokes thrown in here and there which some readers might object to, but hey, that’s usual guy banter. And mind you, this book is primarily aimed at Dads.

If I had to find any fault in this book, it would be that one or two chapters are a bit short where the reader is left longing for more information, for example “Chapter 3 Testing Time Pregnancy Weeks 13-16” focuses entirely on scans and tests whereas misses to explain what is going through the Mom’s mind and how the Dad can be further supportive.

Overall, this is a must-read book for all New-Dads and a good refresher/resource for Dads expecting more children.

logo_2145627_webBeing-Dad Rating: 9/10

The Reaction

“We are pregnant”. These were the words that Jen spoke into my ears on a shiny sunny morning in the month of May 2016. Into my ears, not because of any romantic inclination, but because I was fast asleep and she knows what struggle it could be to get me up.  I got up confused as she handed me the Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test stick where the LCD screen was flashing – “Pregnant 🙂 4-5 Weeks”.

I had been waiting for this moment for some time and had prepared various phrases and reactions that I would express when the moment would arrive but strangely, all of those disappeared into oblivion. I realized I was confused. I hugged Jen and said that I loved her and got out of the bed to take Leo for a walk. During the walk, my mind started preparing for the series of meetings I had at work and the work issues that were awaiting my attention from the previous day. Back at home, I discussed the pregnancy with my wife a bit before both of us went on about our ways to work. I was still confused, as it all seemed normal to me, as if it had to happen. Where was the surprise element?

The day went as usual and every now and then, “We are pregnant” resonated within me, taking me into a deep thought; but I was still missing the impact. Is this how other Dad’s would have reacted? The movies show a completely different picture. Or is that, something is wrong with me? I chose to believe the latter possibility. Continue reading