The 12 week scan

The 12 week scan is when sh*t gets real. Oh boy, is it surreal. You don't have a bump, you haven't felt the baby kick, nothing much has really happen so you expect it to look like a little blob. But the fact that there is already tiny hands, tiny arms, tiny feet, a heart pumping, a brain - it is insane. We even got the best picture of him waving. I will never forget the 12 week scan. It was the first time I ever saw my baby. It was just as exciting as it was scary and I prayed everything was going to look okay.

The date of the 12 week scan is calculated by your last period and will be a rough estimate at the baby being 12 weeks old. By the measurements they made at our 12 week scan we were actually 13 weeks and 1 day, this then gives you your due date - ours was 22nd January! This is based on 40 weeks of pregnancy, the start date being when the egg was released, not when the egg was fertilized. I have been told that when it's your first baby you literally count down the days until your due date thinking that's the exact day the baby will come (I did exactly this), but by your second baby you know this baby is coming whenever the hell it wants so you pay no attention to the due date and just take a rough estimate that it'll be some time that month.

I had read in a book that you get a clearer image if you go to the scan with a full bladder, which doesn't make sitting in the waiting room any fun! The waiting room is full of women at all different stages of their pregnancy. Some are sat with their scan photos kissing their partner and taking photos of the scan to send to friends and family. Some are sat not talking to their partner as they wait for the scan. Some have bumps, some you couldn't tell were pregnant at all. Some, I believe, must have been waiting to have their baby's heartbeat monitored for reduced movements as this is where I sat and waited the two times I did, though both were at 11pm so the waiting room was nearly empty.Tiny newborn babies in prams and exhausted looking mums were walking in and out. We were called after about 15 minutes waiting and went into the room to have the scan.

When we walked in we were so excited but both quite nervous as we didn't want to get our hopes up that everything was perfect. Up until this point, the only 'proof' I had that I was pregnant for the last 2 and a half months was a test from Tescos, a Clear Blue test, some vomcano's and feeling tired. It's crazy to think that they let you go on for 3 months having no idea whether your baby even exists, is okay, is growing, is twins... the list is endless. I know it's possible to get an 8 week scan, but this wasn't offered with our hospital so it was a long wait to find out.

To think, I could have referred myself to have a scan, gone to a family history appointment and be ready for my scan 12 weeks later, despite no professional, medical confirmation that I was pregnant before this point. I could have in fact just made it up out of thin air but managed to 'trap my boyfriend' for another 13 weeks. Just kidding. (You technically could though!?)

The specialist didn't crack a smile when we walked in and was very straight-forward with us. I got the impression that with her job, if she greeted couples with a huge grin and a bubbly personality and then had to deliver news they weren't expecting, the change in her tone would have made the news all that more upsetting. I was expecting the gel to be cold as it always is on TV, but they had warmed it up so it was like a really hot syrup. You lie down on the bed and on the wall in front of you is the screen. As soon as she put the doppler on my stomach the baby appeared straight away. For some reason we both thought it would take some fiddling around and it would appear bit by bit but within seconds this baby was on the screen. Huge head with an arched back, arms and some short curled up legs. It was so surreal, it doesn't register that that is the image the doppler is creating inside your belly. As soon as the baby appeared it was like a different woman was performing the scan, she immediately beamed 'OK!!!!! We've got two legs, two arms, a lovely big head and one healthy baby. Heart is looking good, brain too' it was so amazing we were both so speechless. AND IT WASN'T TWINS!!!! (Me and my lady end let out a big sigh of relief) Throughout my entire pregnancy watching other people receive good news and have their babies I would be in tears, but when it's your own you're just in total shock that you don't register quite what's going on.

We then got the photos printed 5 for £10 and sat back in the waiting room so I could wait to have my blood test. We couldn't believe we were sat looking at photographs of our baby. Luke's parents already knew so he messaged them over and they were so happy. It was then off to my parents straight away to tell them as I could not wait any longer!!! I was so excited the next day I went to Tescos and got 10 more bundle copies of the prints... I'm not sure why I thought I knew 10 people that wanted these photos. I gave one to my Granny who then brought them over the next week and said 'You left your photos at my house'. I think with social media these days and everyone has a picture phone, I definitely got over excited with the copies! (My bad!)

After the scan you have to go back to the waiting room and collect a number and wait to be called to go for your bloodwork. As explained in my previous blog post, I had never had a blood test before and was crapping my little pantaloons. We then waited a whole hour for the blood test. By this point I was a nervous wreck. I was sat, in hospital, with the photographs of my unborn child, thinking how the f*ck I was going to tell my parents and sat panicking about the needle that was about to go in my arm. Anyway, I went in the room (finally) and led down on the bed. It had stirrups for your legs like it was some kind of birthing chair but whatever, I just sat normally. It went fine and I was of course being a huge baby. I had to lie down for a while as I got myself so worked up that I felt really faint and lightheaded so had to take a second to compose my self. After the blood test I then sat down with the same nurse as we went over some details. 

The conversation went as follows:

Nurse "Would you like to take a Chlamydia test?"
Me "Do I have to? I know that I don't have it, I'm in a relationship"
N: "No you don't have to but would you like to?"
M: "Well do I need to, does it need to say on my form that I don't have it?"
N: "No, but would you like to take a test?"
M: "No... should I?"
N: "Not if you don't want to"
M: "Ok just give me the test." 

What the bloody hell was that all about? Why would anyone in a (healthy) relationship randomly want to know for their own peace of mind that they don't have it, if it doesn't need to be in your medical records? Surely you would do that off your own back if you had any concerns. Why was it my decision whether I needed to be tested? Why were we even talking about it if she didn't need to know? When I met with my Midwife for the first time I informed her that I got the text with the negative results back and she couldn't care less, and to be honest looked a little confused as to why I was telling her. What a confusing world of Chlamydia politics. 

After the scan you get this big white folder with a big white file inside and you must take this to everything you do when you're pregnant so they can get to know your pregnancy history. It gets pretty bulky. I remember flicking through the pages and seeing the last section was details of your 'Labour and Baby'. Baby's birthweight, length... I couldn't believe that in 6 months there would be details of MY baby and MY labour, but now they were just blank sheets of paper.

NB: I've heard of plenty of women going to their scan and not being able to see much so I think we were really lucky that we got such good pictures! They often ask people to drink something, go for a walk around the hospital and come back, and others are just asked to come back another day. And our hospital allows us to buy 2 for £5 or 5 for £10 which isn't a guarantee at every hospital so glad they didn't try to rip us off!