Monday, 1 October 2012

Down to earth with a bump (4) What does it look like?

The utter exhaustion you experience in those first few months of pregnancy is like nothing you have ever felt or can ever possibly imagine. No one could ever prepare you for it. Dropping off occurs at finger clicking speed, and one could almost describe the experience as narcolepsy, for it happens anywhere any when. The physical need to sleep as the embryo grows is overwhelming. Not to mention the physical need to pee, eat, and in my case, want to vomit.

Aside from the physical, there are of course the mental challenges you suddenly set yourself. Just how many parenting books can you read in one go? What boys and girls names do you like? What is there next to worry about? (There is always something). Oh and apparently that is just it. Welcome to the opening stages of parenthood. From now on, there will ALWAYS be something to worry about.


‘Nathaniel’ says I. ‘Nat for short.’ His look was enough for me to know that was a no no. My mother-in-law was of the same mind, stating bluntly (a trait of hers) 'You can't call him that, that's a ghastly name.'

Finding, (yes finding, not choosing) a name for your precious bundle is the hardest thing in the world. Here’s why:
1)   Friends and family have already had first dibs.
2)   The connotation factor, where a name reminds you of a person you never liked.
3)   The initial dilemma, where you put the 2 or 3 letters together and it is a disaster.
4)   It has to be a name that will fit from zero to 100 years old.
5)   And it has to be a name that its peers will not make fun of, or perhaps worse, shorten to something inexplicable.
So far Simon and I can only agree on Harry for a boy and with no idea for a second name. We did like Harry William for ten minutes, until we realised it was too bloody royal.

Girls names are easy for me. I can reel off several. Simon is not so sure. He tells me to make a list. He wants to wait to see what the baby looks like.


When we went for our first scan at 12 weeks, I thought our blob, the size of an apple – looked more like an alien. The quality of the shots we were given were amazing. There were five and they were all very clear. Yes; our apple definitely looked like an alien.

As soon as I lay back on the bed, the sonographer put the camera on my belly. I was caught unawares. The baby appeared so quickly on the screen. I knew that was what would happen, but it still came as a surprise to see it there in front of me.

The baby was lying in the wrong position and it would seem I’d have to go for a walk to help it in to the right position so they could make all the necessary checks. And then it suddenly moved. And then, it wouldn’t stop. One moment it was on its back, then its front. Then it put its bum in the air, then it turned over again. Then it waved its arms around. Great. A.D.D. I ask myself? In the end, we actually had to wait for it to settle down again before they could start all those necessary checks!

Eventually, we were told the little white blobs were two hands and two feet. Its brain appeared normal, its heart was in place and the nuchal fold test (measurement of skin at the back of the neck for risk of Downs Syndrome assessment), was also good. Simon got all teary while I was just amazed at the reality of seeing the baby. It was true then. It wasn’t just wind. I did in fact have a tiny foetus growing in there.

As we were walking back to the car we stopped still in the midst of all the hospital comings and goings. Simon held me, and the relief that everything was alright with that tiny little being within, began to hit home.


This followed the incident in the dress shop. When we went in I said to the sonographer, ‘I’ve had a bit of an accident this morning so forgive me, I’m a little wobbly.’ Understatement. Contrary to our first scan, as soon as the babe appeared on the screen, I was an emotional wreck.

It was far less like an alien this time. And more like… like a monkey. Goodness me, it looked just like a monkey.

Again the results were all good. Everything appeared to be developing normally, although we were having a baby with extremely long legs. Well I’m tall and so is Simon, no real surprise there.

But our baby looked like a monkey. And then it dawned on me, what if it was ugly? Babies can be ugly. As a parent you must surely be aware of it. The thought of this, having seen the pictures terrified me.

Hindsight required… As time goes on, you bond with your bump: you talk to it, you run your hands over it, you feel bubbles in your belly as it starts to move, it pulls on the cord, it kicks you, it reacts to sound, light and noise, in short it becomes a person (no longer an alien or a monkey). The thought of it possibly being ugly no longer exists. No longer matters. This is your baby, a part of you both. It will be the most beautiful baby in the world. Even if it does have Daddy’s ears.

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