A Singapore father's diary: the first ultrasound - it's alive!
It's been 7 weeks since we discovered the impending arrival of Baby. Till we give it a name, we're gonna call it baby instead of 'The Thing', 'Pumpkin' or anything approaching Hallmark card sappiness...
It's been seven weeks since we discovered the impending arrival of Baby. Yes, Baby. Until we give it a name, Baby would have to suffice as Baby would take less offense to being called 'The Thing', 'Little Man or Woman', 'Pumpkin' or anything approaching Hallmark card sappiness. Besides, 'Baby' is easy to say, non-confrontational and above all else Baby truly is, a baby!
I'll be first to admit - for many weeks I couldn't grasp the idea of 'pregnancy'. Michele still looked exactly the same and hasn't put on any weight. She wasn't experiencing any physical difficulties moving around and really there was absolutely no reason for me to even think about another life growing in Michele's belly.
Were it not for Michele's losing battle against morning sickness, I would have thought Michele's still not conceiving!
In fact, there were long moments where I had completely forgotten about the pregnancy. Baby only reminded me ever so often about its existence when Michele and I talked about what to have for dinner as a selection of deli meats, fish and cheeses - staples in our refrigerator - weren't on our shopping list for that week. I adjusted to the sudden change in Michele's diet as best as I could; we always cook for two and having to prepare a separate dish or ensuring the meat dish was completely cooked took me a long time to wrap my head around to.
Apart from that, Michele and I lead our normal lives as best as we could. Michele began to limit the amount of physical work she exerts daily and I had to adjust my work schedule so I could drop and pick her up from work. I was bursting with pride and joy ("I'm going to be a father!") and if I could reach out and yell out to everyone's faces, I would. Call me crazy but there's something about impending fatherhood that does that to you.
Probably the one time where I genuinely spent the entire day fussing over Michele was at 8 weeks. We went to the snow in Mount Buller with friends and apart from several toboggan runs down a gentle slope, Michele kept her feet planted in the snow. We haven't told anyone about her pregnancy as we were waiting for the first ultrasound at 12 weeks, and more importantly we just liked having the secret to ourselves for several months.
It didn't take us long for us to decide what kind of patient care we wanted for Michele and Baby. This being our first, we opted for private health care. We wanted to ensure we had the best possible team to fuss over Michele. We liked being given the choice of picking our obstetrician and deciding where to have Baby. It's important to have a good relationship with our obstetrician. We like to think we have found a friend who not only genuinely cares for us and wants the best for Michele's pregnancy and delivery.
Like most young couples with little disposable income, we knew we were threading on thin ice going private. There's a big difference cost-wise, and it's money that could be used elsewhere but Michele and I have always planned on giving the best for Baby, and money can be earned.
We also had a choice of choosing where Michele would have her ultrasound done. And this is where we begin our journey and article, at 12 weeks, waiting at the seated area after arriving ten minutes early.
It must have been nervous energy working us up; Michele couldn't stop talking while I paced around trying to filter everything she's saying. After all these weeks we were just a little anxious to see what all our fuss was. How did Baby look? Was Baby comfortable in there? Who was this creature that's causing us all sorts of joy and worry?
That, and we've kept our little secret for long enough. We've decided to tell our friends and extended family after the ultrasound. Week 12 seems to be the magic number when most couples release their 'press conference'. It was our magic number as well.
Our sonographer's a mother herself and from the silly look on our faces she put two and two together.
"First time parents?"
Almost in unison, "Yes!"
"Ahhh, I remember those days. How exciting it must be for you!" she remarked.
Small talk, and it was time for that magic gel. I've seen it heaps on television, but seeing it being applied on my wife is another thing. This is absolutely real!
All this time, I was busy capturing Michele on camera. It's a new father thing. You know, first ultrasound, first magic gel, first glimpse of Baby, first everything. I was even having a full on conversation with the sonographer I almost dreaded that precise moment Baby appeared on screen. There's something about wanting to see someone so bad, the very thought of it leaves a bad aftertaste in my mouth.
Then it happened.
A light flickered from the corner of my eye, and there was some semblance of a human body right before me. The sonographer started prodding and gliding the probe across Michele's belly, and the most beautiful thing appeared before my eyes.
My child. Our child.
I don't remember much after that, as I sat next to Michele transfixed at our child. I liken it to watching a great movie, where the plot has sucked you in and there's a character that you genuinely care about. My child is that character. I didn't care if it was a male or female lead, I just wanted to keep looking at it and making sure it's always safe and beautiful.
Michele and I held hands and exchanged looks at one another as we watched Baby unfold before our very eyes. It was a very powerful moment, a moment of bonding. We had created this wonderful Baby, and it's growing inside Michele.
As we left the City Imaging, Michele told me I had stopped taking pictures the moment Baby appeared on screen. I laughed as I had no idea that even happened. Time had stood still while the both of us shared a special moment with Baby via a probe and magic gel.
It will be another eight weeks before we get a glimpse of Baby in 3D. We were both manic in desperation, wanting week 20 to arrive.
But that, is another story.
Editor's Note: This is part 3 of the pregnancy diary series.
Part 1: Trying to get pregnant
Part 2: We are pregnant
Part 3: The first ultrasound
Part 4: Baby gender
Part 6: Waiting for the birth
Part 7: Baby is born