All I can think about is tomorrow, Scan Day! The day I find out so much more about you and after a night of tears, I am exhausted and energised at the same time. Physically and mentally drained, but determined to be positive for myself and for you. Today I am going back to work. Today I have to face the world, knowing the biggest secret I would ever have to keep. I want to talk to my Mum and Dad so badly, but I can’t, not now.
It was a morning of muddles, and I am on my way back to work after six weeks off. With Christmas, New Year and being ill, it feels like I have been away forever and the whole world had changed. Feeling very alone, yet surrounded by people, I was sure they could see right through my smiles and watery eyes. I was sure they knew something was different.
A chat with the boss put my mind at rest, ‘Take it easy and if you need some time out then do it’ and with a select few of the management team knowing my situation I was left to get on with the day on the understanding that if I needed anything I was to shout. Being told people are there for me was enough to bring me to tears, a mixture of overwhelming happiness for my dream come true, fear of the future, overwhelming heartbreak and exhaustion from the emotion of the last three days.
On a few occasion people commented on how well I looked, and how they thought I had lost weight!! Well, lets face it I had been unwell, and was feeling much better, but I was possibly over six months pregnant! How the hell can they think I had lost weight and looked well when I am going through all this! Shouting ‘I’m having a baby’ was not an option
Paper work, there is a lot of paperwork to fill in when you have a baby, but then you don’t normally do it all in one go. Maternity leave information to read, policies for becoming a parent, would make for good bedtime reading! It was becoming a long day, it ticked by so slowly, but trying to keep busy and focused was the plan, I think I failed miserably.
I planned an early night and lots of sleep, it was not to be. Within a couple of hours I was awake and could not settle.
Tomorrow is scan day, and I feel excited and nervous.
Day 5…..Tuesday 28th
I had not slept, not half as much as I should have. I forced myself to have breakfast, shower and get dressed, before reading a message from your father to say he was just leaving his house.
We had to be at the hospital for 11:30, but on the way went to the antenatal clinic to pick up some paperwork and my notes. Your father is quiet, thoughtful and reflective, but most of all he was distant. On the way to the hospital I asked him if he wanted to know whether we where having a boy or a girl. He said he didn’t know if he wanted to know or not. He then followed this with, I suppose I am not bothered either way, you can find out if you want to. This lack of interest annoyed me, but I did not react to him. I simply said I thought we should know what we where having so that we could be prepared. With so little time to prepare and with your Father feeling the way he did, I felt it would help to make our new world more real and help your father come to terms with reality. I was met with, Whatever!
At the antenatal clinic, we were told to go and have the scan first and to then come back for the paperwork and notes. This ment we would be very early and I was sure we would have a long wait. We had hardly sat down when we were called into a small dark room.
There was an examination table, chairs, and a machine I recognised as the scanner. I laid on the bed, pulled my top up and lowered the top of my trousers to reveal my tiny little bump. In five days it felt like my bump had got so much bigger. The gel was cold, and as the sonographer moved the scanner, I saw you come into focus.
A little blurred and hard to see at first, I saw the shape of your head, your face, hands and fingers. My heart soared, I gripped the edge of the bed and tried so hard to stop the tears but it was no good. You where there, I could see you.
You moved your hands over your face as if you where hiding, and then peeping between your fingers. You are beautiful.
The sonographer measured your head, ’25 weeks and 3 days, that gives us a due date of the 10th of May’
I turned and smiled at your father. He had his head in his hands and I can tell he has not looked at the scanner screen. I watch him for a moment or two and he did not move, no reaction, he is not here, he is somewhere else and I don’t know what to do.
The sonographer then looked at you in more detail, starting with your heart, lungs, liver,kidneys,and stomach. Next she looked for your legs and feet, but you were cuddled up so tight, she found it hard to see them. She asked me to lay on my side and then on the other but you didn’t move. I went for a wee and a walk, did a dance and jumped up and down a little, but you had not moved enough, she still could not clearly see your legs.
What she could see was worrying. She said your umbilical cord was more pronounced than it should be. It looked bigger and thicker than it should. ‘I would like the consultant to see you and these scans, Ok? I will page her now and get her to see you as soon as possible.’
‘You keep referring to the baby as ‘he’ Claire, would you like to know if it is a boy or a girl?’
‘Yes, yes please’ And there on the screen you where ‘That, is most defiantly a boy! Congratulations’ I burst into tears, while your father didn’t move.
We took a seat outside the little room and waited. Out of the blue your father wants to discuss options. My response was blunt ‘The only person that has discussed ‘options’ is you. You have an option, you are either here with us or you leave now. There has never been any options for me and there never will be. You have to make a choice, deal with you emotions or walk away.’
We waited for the consultant.
Dr Rita was very calm and explained why they has wanted her to see us and why they where a little concerned about what had been seen on the scan. She explained that the thickening of the umbilical cord could indicate that you have a little hernia, which would need a little operation when you are born, but more importantly this may be an indication of a chromosome disorder.
In looking at the scan again Dr Rita agreed with the sonographer and said this was something that would need further investigation . She would make an appointment at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, so that a specialist can see us and scan us again. This would be within the next two weeks. I asked why in two weeks and would this not be urgent. Dr Rita assures me that this is not urgent and there is nothing to worry about, we are to just wait for the appointment to come through.
It doesn’t help when someone says don’t worry. It doesnt help at all.
I know what a chromosome disorder might mean for you and I know it will make no difference to me or how much I love you. We would cope with life, and the challenges it would bring. I simply want the very best for you and will do all I can to protect you.
We have some pictures of you from the scan. they are not very clear, but in one I can see your face. I can see your eyes, nose and mouth and you have your hand up to your face. You must be very shy, you didn’t wait your picture taken. These pictures are so very special and I am going to get a book to put them in.
Your father went home to his house after we finished at the hospital. I had some lunch, and then went to work. The rest of the afternoon went very slowly.
By the time the end of the day came I was drained of all emotion. Your father had not been to work, he stayed home, played computer games and watched tv. He was quiet on the phone and said nothing about how he was feeling and did not want to discuss the events of the day. This is not the person I know and love.
I feel lost and alone in my thoughts again. Jobs around the house kept me busy for a while, but eventually I went to bed and fell apart again.