Most of my conversations now revolve around being a dad, occasionally unusual topics such as is it OK to have a sit down wee if you’re tired pop into conversation, but ultimately everything ends up circling back to parenting as if every road leads there. ‘I love the new Ferrari……’ ‘its amazing, I wonder if you can get a buggy in?’
On Friday the guys were discussing that moment when you decide to start ‘trying’ and that sometimes it can be a stressful process (it took us a while! ‘Missionary Impossible’), I piped up ‘wait till she’s pregnant, it gets worse’ as I sipped my beer and set my alarm to remind me to leave. Unorganised fun was something of the past.
The conversation made me think about the road to Rafferty and I thought I’d jot some of the journey down – especially since I’ve covered off everything else.
It was time to register at a Hospital, what a bloody palarva that was. For my sanity, I considered it a test! Anyone wanting to prank a hospital and book a fake midwife appointment just for shits and giggles would have easily given up after the first 8 attempts.
One of the first things you think of when you embark on this journey are the scans, mainly because you see so many people post them. But arghh those pesky scans! Most people love them, I found them terrifying and each appointment filling my body with every known emotion as If I was being scanned. Although, probably a good idea, I have no idea what did happen to that McDonald’s straw I swallowed in my teens, I definitely don’t remember it exiting my body.
The NHS book you in for your 3 months scan. The general rule of thumb was wait until this point before telling people, as vital checks were done and miscarriage is the most common in the first trimester. When I first heard the word ‘trimesters’ my first thought was I’ve never even seen Star Trek and how was this even related (however, as males we’ve all experienced cling-on’s at some point badummm tssshhhh).
My nerves were not made of steel and I certainly couldn’t wait 3 months to find out if the urine soaked magic wand was right. Once the initial excitement had settled and reality kicked in the questions started. Was there a heartbeat? Was everything ok? Holy crap the old boy worked?
So at 7 weeks I dragged Tash off to a private clinic in Harley Street who can scan early to give you peace of mind. Immediately as you walk in you can see why they charge so much, there were the greenest Apples on the table, quilted toilet paper, posh water, some fancy high fashion magazines and pan pipe versions of pop songs being pumped through the BOSE sound system – Before I knew it I was singing along ‘Like a virgin, touched for the very first time…..’
The scan confirmed there was indeed a little miracle inside and we were even given our first scan print out. I did have to ask which way up it was meant to be and what exactly was I meant to be looking at. Might as well have been a picture of space or some kind of puzzle from a kids book, I was that unsure. For all I knew she had given us an old dot to dot she had laying around. But either way we had the confirmation I was looking for, the road to Rafferty had officially begun. Mind at ease I skipped down the road. It was really happening, although a fog immediately clouded the happiness – what if Tash lost it? After all we were at the very early stages. I stopped skipping, smile disappearing, reality kicking back in, i turned to look to Tash catching her gaze. In that moment as I stared into her big brown Disney eyes all I wanted to do was wrap her in bubble wrap and lock her away from the dangers of the outside world.
We picked UCHL in London as the hospital of choice. Mainly because as a teaching hospital they have the best and latest technology and incase anything went wrong during labor she would be in the best possible hands. Tash is teeny tiny so I was convinced it was going to need to be yanked out the sunroof (see ‘Labour Day’ to see what happened in the end).
The first scan date rolled round. I was excited but filled with equal amounts of anxiety and nerves. The hospital waiting room was like a mad house, fat people everywhere – that was us anxious dads who had clearly been eating our emotions or trying to keep up with our pregnant others. A sea of pots filled with what I can only hope was apple juice scattered on shelves, reception areas and grasped by nearly every pregnant women in there (nice of them to provide welcome drinks). Even though we had an appointment we still had to take a ticket once arriving like at the Sainsburys meat counter, it was obvious the appointment time was pointless. It was a long way from the Pan pipes and scented candles of the Harley Street clinic.
One thing that seemed to be consistent across all of the scans we had was the person doing it, whilst clearly knowing what they were talking about, were like those mechanics that look at your car and makes an ‘oooooo’ sound immediately making you ask what’s wrong in a knee jerk reaction and automatically putting you on edge. The second scan I found was worse, mainly because they are a little more thorough and if anything was wrong this is probably the point where you might see it. Midwife appointments meant I was a little more educated about what they were looking for and checking. It wasn’t helped by the douche bag doing it, he was an ooo’er too and snapped at me when I asked what he was looking at and if everything was OK. The fact he hadn’t had time to finish his ham sandwich and salt and vinegar discos was not my fault – it immediately got my back up. I didn’t know they weren’t trained midwives either until I asked a question about some pain Tash had been experiencing, I’ll let you guess his response. At one point he said ‘he’s in a difficult position’ I replied nervously ‘is it dangerous?’ With a stern tone ‘Did I say dangerous? No, I said difficult’ I felt like throwing a pot of my own apple juice on him. As people about to be parents and thrust into the unknown, of course we are going to be a little more tense and nervous and have a million questions, so rather than watch the monitor and reacting like you’re watching a crap firework display at least tell us what you’re looking at and reassure us that everything is fine (or not if that’s the case). It was topped off by them charging me for pictures, only getting 3 of the 5 I paid for and him having the photography skills of Stevie Wonder.