Pregnancy Diary Week 13: First Scan
“Please attend with a moderately full bladder for this examination.” As a reasonably intelligent adult who pees several times a day and who has attended two previous pregnancy scans and a routine ultrasound, you would think I’d know how to do that by now, but no. What is moderately full? How much water is too much? What if I don’t drink enough? How long does it take to go through, anyway? What if I’m called early? But what if I’m called late? Oh, God. Our first scan for my son almost ended in a very embarrassing piss pants dismount from the examination table following a rather disastrous combination of overzealous, slightly anxious water drinking and a very late running appointment. It was followed by one of those excruciating wees that takes an age to come out when all you need it to do is gush; and an uncontrollable sigh, inappropriate for most places but certainly for a public, multi-cubicle toilet. However, that was infinitely preferable to the alternative of doing a number one in the examination room, which was only very narrowly avoided. Unfortunately having the world’s fullest bladder rather tainted the magical experience of seeing our baby for the very first time as all I could think was: “I’m going to piss myself, I’m going to piss myself, no don’t press there….!” This was particularly agonising when the sonographer zoomed in on said bladder, announcing how incredibly large it was. “Oh really?! I literally can’t even open my eyes without the risk of full blown adult incontinence. Please just get on with it.” So this time I learnt from my follies and drank no more and no less than I usually would, went to the toilet before leaving the house and relied on my usual pregnant need to wee every half an hour to ensure that my bladder would be sufficiently moderately full for the scan. And bingo. It was. This makes me feel a little silly for my previous rather radical underestimation of how my body processes water. However, I think this was kind of understandable under the circumstances. The first scan is incredibly exciting in lots of ways, having been a point of focus and anticipation for so many weeks. However, it can also be a really anxious time. There are the very usual worries about whether your baby will be developing normally, whether there will be one baby or multiple babies (a particular concern for me this time), and for the many women “lucky” enough not to suffer from countless first trimester pregnancy symptoms, the uncertainty of whether there is actually a baby in there at all, which is a terrifying prospect for any expectant parent. For me, these preoccupations are usually added to neurotic concerns about finding somewhere to park, successfully navigating the labyrinth of hospital corridors (answering riddles from David Bowie on route), and actually getting there on time, which all in all makes for quite an exhausting and emotional experience. Other than the one minor bladder debacle, we have been fortunate that everything has gone well at the first scan for both of our pregnancies, and so for us these experiences have largely been very positive. It is only when looking at the scan pictures after the appointment that I have really felt the sense of relief and reassurance, and excitement about what is to come. Despite all the anticipation and anxiety and uncertainty, this has been a time for me to connect with my pregnancy, with my partner and with our baby and to feel really lucky that all is going well. I really hope that continues.