The Geriatric Dad Blog: ‘comedic’ pregnancy moments and our 20-week scan

The 20-week scan

scan picture

by Jim Foster |

Welcome to my weekly (well, most of the time) blog on impending fatherhood. I’m Jim, my wife’s name is Daisy, I turn 50 in September and Daisy is 37. We're expecting our first child in October - hence this, The Geriatric Dad Blog!

This is a proper, ‘in real life’ read from a man's perspective, so I hope you enjoy it and follow the series as we go through all the ups and downs of impending parenthood.

This week - Daisy's body is changing rapidly, which has interesting consequences, and baby Sprout has his 20-week scan...

The 20-week scan is a big deal.

It's the scan where they look in detail at how your baby is developing - its brain, its major blood vessels, all the organs, the skeletal structure - the whole lot.

If anything isn't quite right with baby, it's usually here that the medics find out. So, not surprisingly, before we went in for Sprout's 20-weeker recently, both Daisy and I were a little on the nervous side.

But before I get onto how our scan went, we've had a few moderately comedic episodes in the last couple of weeks that I think I might regale you with.

Well I think of them comedically. Daisy might disagree!

In fact, Daisy might not like me writing about them at all, but I did promise to cover all aspects of our pregnancy in this blog - so what the hell, here goes nothing...

"BABE! I'm stuck in the bath! HELP!"

One of my most-loved hobbies revolves around music. I play a bit of classical piano and am in a tribute band that gigs around the country belting out the well-known music of long-time prog rockers, Marillion.

Last weekend, the real Marillion band were headlining a three-night festival at De Montfort Hall in Leicester and, as part of that, on the Friday afternoon our tribute act had been booked at a city centre bar to provide additional (and highly unofficial) entertainment for the throngs of fans who'd descended on the city.

Just as we launched into a song called 'Easter', my phone flashed by the side of my synthesiser rig.

A message flashed up on the screen. It was from Daisy: "Help! I'm stuck in the bath!"

I instantly played a couple of bum notes before my professionalism kicked in and I carried on playing the song to its conclusion, some five minutes later. At that point, while our singer was having some banter with the 200 or so people in the audience, I quickly called Daisy.

She was ok, but was struggling to get out of the bath having just had a good soak.

"I don't think I can get out," she said. "I'm too big! Sprout is too big! I've tried getting out but can't! You're going to have to come home!"

I told her to take a deep breath and relax. She did so.

"You can get out," I said. "Just take your time, don't slip, and do it carefully, with small movements."

The guitarist - unaware of my predicament - started striking up the first few chords of the next song. I had a few bars before I had to start playing, but my time was running out. Some strange straining noises came through my phone headset from Daisy as she attempted to hoist herself up. I prayed she wouldn't slip and do herself and Sprout a mischief.

"Ok, I think I can do it if I just turn over..." she said.

There was a pause. The audience started singing along with the singer in the track's opening lines. "Ok, I'm out!" Daisy said, just in time for me to tell her I loved her. I put the phone down and struck up a G major chord on the strings patch I had programmed for that song.

I was just in the nick of time. The show must go on, I thought... and it did.

"BABE! I can't see my foof!"

A few days later, I arrived home after work one evening. SophieCat (our 'naughty tortie') came down the stairs to greet me, as she always does, but no reply came from Daisy when I shouted out, "I'm home, babe!"

Where was she?

She wasn't downstairs, neither was she in the garden. So upstairs I trundled, hoping she was ok, hoping also that she hadn't got stuck in the bath again.

I quickly found her. Sensibly, this time she'd had a shower (no chance of getting stuck) and was stood in her birthday suit, looking at her reflection in our full-length bathroom mirror.

"What are you doing?" I asked. She glanced at me, a sad expression on her face.

"I can't see my foof any more," she said disconsolately, looking back at her reflection in the mirror, clutching her now quite large baby bump. "And because I can't see it anymore... HOW AM I GOING TO SHAVE DOWN THERE?

"And... and..." she wailed, "if I have a bit of a forest situation going on when Sprout arrives, WHAT WILL THE MIDWIFE THINK?"

Her eyes started to well up, likely the effect of the hormones rushing through her body. I desperately tried not to laugh. I failed - and started chortling like a teenager who'd just farted loudly in class at school.

"The midwife will have seen it all before," I said. "Don't worry about it!" (Daisy hates it when I dismiss a concern of hers by saying not to worry about it).

"It's not funny!" wailed Daisy. "You're going to have to shave my bikini line for me!"

At that, I stopped laughing. Shit had just got serious! I'd never shaved a lady's foof before... at least, not that I could remember. And I didn't plan on starting that evening!

"BABE! My nipples don't look right!"

Then last night I got home from a five-mile training run with a few mates to find Daisy closely examining her nipples in the front room.

"Look!" she exclaimed anxiously, showing me them. "Look at all the nodules around them! Surely that's not normal?"

I looked closely. Yep, they'd certainly got larger. And there were certainly more nodules around them, but I'd read a few weeks before that this was to be expected and was a bodily change a lot of pregnant mums go through.

"It's totally normal, don't worry about it," I said, blustering a reply that Daisy must have felt bordered on being bullshit. And forgetting again that she didn't like me saying 'not to worry about it'. D'oh!

"It'll be something to do with you being able to feed Sprout optimally when he arrives," I suggested.

While much of the time I can reassure Daisy, this time I couldn't manage it. So she promptly photographed her boobs and nipples on her iPhone and uploaded the pics to the 'October Mums' Facebook group she was part of.

"I'm going to ask the other mummies-to-be what they think," she said.

Which, of course, turned out to be a sensible move (assuming the pictures don't ever appear on PornHub) - not only for the reassurance that loads of other ladies were going through the same bodily changes, but also because a midwife on the group saw the post and replied to it, explaining it was absolutely normal.

It turned out I was right: the nodules around each nipple did have a purpose. They were actually 'Montgomery Glands'. As soon as Sprout arrives, they will kick into action, releasing secretions that apparently smell like amniotic fluid.

The theory is that these secretions not only help guide baby to the main nipple to feed (like landing lights leading a pilot to a runway) but also possess antibacterial qualities that automatically help keep the nipples and surrounding breast area clean.

Who knew! I certainly had no clue. Facebook groups do have a use, after all.

The 20-week scan

And then the 20-week scan came around.

We were scheduled to have it at the birth hospital of our choice, Hinchingbrooke, in Huntingdon, Cambs.

I think we've lucked out with 'Hinch', as we call it. It's a lovely place, a small provincial hospital with great Drs, nurses, midwives, sonographers, receptionists etc. Everyone in the mat unit there seems very friendly and welcoming, almost like a family we'd had the privilege of being welcomed into: something that is very reassuring in a day and age when the standards of maternity care across the NHS are under the microscope.

Our sonographer this time was a lovely lady who'd retired but volunteered on occasion to help out when needed, typically when staff were off ill. I'll call her Mavis here.

Mavis ran through everything that she was going to do and reassured us that there was plenty of time to talk as the scan was happening, that there was no rush. If we had any questions, just ask.

Those first few seconds of any scan are always the most difficult. Is baby there? Does baby have a heartbeat? Is baby normal?

The scan started and there he was! Sprout appeared on the screen and instantly did a flip onto his tummy. He was fine. I breathed a sigh of relief. Mavis started with the head and worked her way around Sprout's growing little body.

Brain - tick, all normal. Skull, cerebellum, spine, aorta - all there. We could even see the length of the aorta pulse with each heartbeat, quite a thing to see and probably the only time in Sprout's life we'll see it.

Bones - all there. The abdomen also looked good (if a little on the podgy side) with all the organs and blood vessels where they should be.

But every time Mavis tried to get a close-up of Sprout's heart, Sprout flipped over! It was if he was being naughty. Eventually though, he calmed down a bit and we got to see the heart's four chambers, the valves, all looking like they were functioning nicely.

Mavis took some measurements (head, stomach, overall size of Sprout) and said he was just as he should be.

Everything was good. We even saw him taking a mouthful of amniotic fluid and swallowing it. Who knew babies did that in the womb? Apparently they wee it out, too. Nature truly is absolutely incredible.

And with that, Mavis printed out some more images for us, and the scan was over. Nothing to worry about. All was good. And, of course, that was all we could ask for.

Next week...

I actually don't know what I'll write about next time. We're two-thirds of the way through the second trimester and all is well. I suppose some drama will occur at some point. As per normal, whatever does happen, I'll write about it here. Until then, amigos. And thanks for reading ;-)

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