Concerning books and scans…

 

So, it’s been a few weeks and you are still yet to tell most people the good news, but generally family and close friends now know. So it won’t be long before the rest of the world knows your news.

Gents, keeping your mouth closed unless otherwise told is quite important. You might not know it (and she will have done her research)…but generally within the first twelve week period in most pregnancies there is a higher chance of problems occurring and most miscarriages take place. That’s not to say it will happen to you. but here are some statistics for you to think about as a fairly good reason why you should respect your wife or partners wishes:

  • 20% of women who know they are pregnant miscarriage within the first 12 weeks.
  • 75% of miscarriages happen in the first trimester (first 3 months).
  • roughly 1 in a 100 women suffer from recurrent miscarriages.
  • 1 in 90 pregnancies are ectopic (the egg develops in the fallopian tube or the abdominal cavity. it is an incredibly serious and life threatening condition and will lead to a miscarriage.

This isn’t to put a downer on anything, but if you are like me, you like knowing facts because it helps remove the unknown.

So your first scan is upon you.

Oak at thirteen weeks.

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The amazing thing is how human it looks at this point. But lets get to the part that will be big decisions. Your midwife is going to talk to you both about a down syndrome test. That is what the thirteen week scan is for. They are checking measurements and fluid around the spine, this shows will reveal to your medical staff if you baby has a high risk of down syndrome (note: only shows if your baby is high risk). This can only be found within a very short window, between twelve and fourteen weeks. If you decide you do not want to find out, you will not be allowed to have a twelve week scan, you will have to wait until after fourteen weeks. Because if the person doing the scan notices that there is a marker for down syndrome they are legally required to inform you of such. For Sarah and I this was too much time to wait so even though we did want to know or care if Oak had down syndrome or not, we had to have the test if we wanted to see him at 13 weeks.

To be clear, if your baby has a high risk of having downs syndrome, your options will be limited to either carrying on with the pregnancy as normal, having a further (invasive) test (that carry’s quite  a high chance of miscarriage) or terminating your pregnancy. From 2018, there will be a non invasive prenatal diagnosis blood test that all mothers will be able to take keeping their babies safe. For Sarah and I, termination would have been out of the question. By thirteen weeks, your baby already look so human and will be wriggling and moving around already.

Oaks test came back ‘negative’. Which meant nothing as all really as it means that he has a ‘low risk’ of having downs syndrome. He could have still have had it.

Apart from that, seeing your child for the first time is likely to move you to tears or at least make you feel like it might. Don’t hold it back, it is a truly magical moment and you should allow those emotions to be free. It’s truly amazing. I welled up when I saw Oak kicking. Your Wife or partner will perhaps be more emotional that you, they are carrying life after all which I imagine is an incredible experience and must be very emotional to visually acknowledge the child inside  you (comments on this experience from Wife and partners would be greatly appreciated).

So you are back from your scan! Get the family round, let them coo over it like pigeons over a loaf of freshly baked sourdough. Pride. That’s your one feeling right about now. Look what you have accomplished. Nothing else comes close! Skydived? pfft. Made it financially? pah! Dude, you helped create life. Literally. There is nothing cooler or better than this. You get to raise a human to do amazing things! The next greatest doctor or the next yellow jersey wearer, or at the very least to make the world just a tiny bit of a better place.

the 23 week scan goes much the same way but this is to check measurements and rule out a number of disorders and defects that your baby will most likely not have. This would be the big moment when to find out the sex of your child or not. If you can, make it a surprise. Just imagine being able to tell your own wife that you now are the proud parents of a boy or girl. But, if you want to be prepared, go for it and find out.

Oak at 23 weeks

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We actually had a 32 week scan as well because the Placenta (your baby’s life support machine) was ‘low laying. That means its very close to the cervix (the opening where you baby will come down during birth), if it covers the cervix it means that a natural birth is virtually impossible. At 32 weeks your baby is getting pretty large and if you do have a 32 week scan, it won’t look that different to the 23 week scan. Luckily our placenta was perfectly fine so we were on course for natural home birth!

So, on to books. I will keep this relatively short. Your Wife or partner is going to want to read (or hopefully she will want to read books. Knowledge is power after all). They will be on everything from breastfeeding (hopefully) to changing nappies and how to hold them…she will read many, many different books on the same subject. She will try to absorb more information than she can handle and will probably feel just as confused as before she knew a damned thing. But, at the very least she will be prepared. Men’s book on the other hand cannot tell you how to breastfeed. I am yet to read one that can tell you how to change a nappy or diaper (if your from across the pond). Generally men’s books will explain what your Wife or partner will go through over the nine month period of pregnancy. Some will make you feel inadequate. Some will give you a subjective view of someone else’s experience. They might even interview other men to get their view as well….let me tell you, none of it matters. Basically, don’t waste your time or money on pregnancy for men books, if anything l, read books on relaxation for you and her, trust me it will be appreciated!

You as the Husband, the partner, the father have an immensely important role. You are your Wife or partners support. She will need you. She will need you to rub her back. She will need you to make her tea (none caffeinated!). She might want you to wash her hair or cook meals. You will need to care for her because the job she has to do outstrips anything you can imagine. You will have to take care to say the right things. Think more. Tell her she looks amazing, and she will. Lord knows I found my wife increasingly attractive while she ‘bloomed’.

Make sure that you make time for her. Her experience of pregnancy will be different to anyone else’s and your job is to try as hard as possible to create whatever that experience is and mould it into something beautiful. Talk to her about joining positive birthing classes, breastfeeding classes, hypnobirthing classes (something we did, although I didn’t attend the breastfeeding ones) Because by making yourself a part of her journey, it becomes both of your journeys. You won’t feel left behind by what she is going through. If there was no better reason, it will make your relationship stronger. And that is going to be immeasurably important when that day comes that your child enters the world…

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