Yesterday was the second attempt at the 20-week scan.
You may recall, should you have read my previous post, that our baby played awkward during the original appointment a fortnight ago and there were certain parts of the scan that the sonographer was unable to complete.
There was nothing wrong with the baby, thankfully. Just its compliance with the process was a bit off. Certain things which needed to be checked and double-checked could not be. A couple of extra angles, extra views, of the heart for instance.
So back to the hospital it is…
This time I am not allowed to go in to the scan theatre with my wife. This information was not given to us in advance of the appointment. In fact, the exact opposite information was given to us in advance of the appointment. So I have taken as-yet unearned time off in lieu from work to accompany my wife, only to be turned away at the door at the last moment.
I am very disappointed to have to sit out the scan, and irritated at the prospect of having to ‘make up’ wasted time with work. I sit and wait outside for what seems like forever but is, in the end, an hour-and-a-half. The hospital wall will no doubt tell you that over 90 minutes I give good arse.
Of course, as this time rolls on I become worried.
What if my wife has passed out, and they have forgotten that I’m sat on a wall outside? What if they have discovered that there is something wrong with the baby, and my wife is devastated or they have rushed her away for emergency surgery?
What if there is some sort of terrible hostage situation going on? What rotten luck that it’s progressing right here, right now! Getting out of hand, just the other side of those doors! My God, perhaps I should just burst in there and do what I have to do to stop the bad that’s happening, and save the day? Come on! Man up, man!
Here, back in the real world outside the hospital, I amuse myself by people-watching. Different mums come and go in fits and starts. Or they step outside for a breather.
One on her mobile phone. “Hi. Bring my fucking drink… Idiot!” as if her partner was particularly inconsiderate. A Cro-Magnon unable to function adequately in the modern world. A moment later he appears, sheepish, through the gap in the hedge surrounding the car park with a can of Diet Coke in hand. He seems alright to me. Homo Sapien but alright.
A work colleague, probably ten or so years older than I am, has a couple of children. They’re now grown up and they have (in his thankful-sounding words) “finally fucked off”. Last week he asked me whether “the wife’s hormones have kicked in yet?”
I had to answer truthfully that I suspect they have. I feel like I am running to catch up a lot of the time. And when I get there, wherever there is, my wife is no longer there anyway. Not only is she no longer there, but she is now right over another there and is saying to me: “What the hell are you doing over there?”
My wife has gotten upset more often than is usual (which is not often at all). And she and I have indeed ‘fallen out’ a few times. Confusingly, the vast majority of these flashpoints have centred around trivial things which would normally pass us by completely.
My wife now seems to possess cement conviction and steel stubbornness, even if she knows she is arguing a fucking stupid or wholly unreasonable point. She can always be reasoned with, but not now. Not now.
She’s like a police dog, sense of fight honed to perfection. Ferocious. Tenacious. Teeth in, never loosening off. The pressure of the bite. Changing the angle of attack. Ragging me around like a pathetic doll criminal until I am bruised, bloody and begging to be taken into custody. Savaged and sorry.
I accept that this is probably the case for many people during pregnancy, so could not be considered out of the ordinary. But I just don’t know what the etiquette is under these new circumstances. I truly hate ‘going into battle’, and am surprised to find that we fight – but should I argue back or not argue back? Should I stick to my guns or give them up willingly? Should I surrender? Should I placate, appease? How much ground unfairly conceded in the name of a quiet life can be clawed back when things level off?
Will things level off?
My wife is also much more sensitive these days. Or, rather, she is quicker to tears and sometimes that is for what seems like no real reason. Perhaps a line in a film or (most memorably) the thought of a sandwich.
We are both weepers. At the very least neither of us is afraid to cry or will ever judge tears, unless they are obviously fake. But these days she will cry and then tell me off for smiling or laughing. I’m never laughing ‘at’ her. I’m never ever laughing maliciously or cruelly. In addition to the arm around her I’m laughing because of love and joy and gratitude for the absolutely ridiculous brilliance of our life. She is almost unbearably cute, and these are vivid and precious days in our time together.
Her pregnancy tears mean we are truly alive and real, and that makes me happy.
Am I some sort of monster?
So, it’s… up and down.
Here, outside the hospital again, some mums are picked up by their boyfriends, husbands or parents in modest vehicles and driven away. Some walk out of the department’s automatic door on their own.
Sandals. Painted toe-nails. Leggings. One in a tea dress. Bottoms. Bellies. Breasts. Some huge. Some tiny. Some short-haired. Some long-haired. Some tattooed and their age roughly guessable by the fashion of the design. Some are young, some seem too young. Some seem a bit older. One even looks like she might be in her late forties or early fifties. Some are truly blooming. Some seem unhappy or concerned. Some discrete. Curling up and hiding inside themselves. Some with a little bit of attitude.
I love them all. But none more so than the last I see. My wife emerges, smiling.
It’s the all clear we anticipated. We are on course for a healthy baby. But an awkward baby.
Our unborn child wouldn’t play, once again, and so the scan took much longer than anyone anticipated. Folded arms and covered chest so the required heart views were inaccessible. Then arms stretched out up above the head… so, ‘action stations’… only for the arms to immediately be folded again.
Punk? Or hormonal? Time will tell…