PARENTS

Up The Duff Without A Paddle: The First Scan

18/06/2009 09:50 | Updated 22 May 2015

What happens when you're 37, almost infertile, in a new relationship and you go and get pregnant by accident? Find out in Sarah's weekly column: Up the Duff Without a Paddle.

We went for our first scan this week, and it was unquestionably one of the most astonishing and incredible experiences of my life, including the experience of conceiving this little humanoid (though that was incredible too, darling). The six weeks I waited for the appointment to happen felt interminably long, as you'll remember if you've been through it yourself, or recognise if you're waiting for your first scan now too.

If you've been following my weekly column you'll know already that this feels to me like the miracle conception of the century. Three experts at three different hospitals had told me that I would probably find it very difficult indeed to conceive, due to low ovarian reserve. I'd been going for private tests in 2006 and 2007 while single as a pre-emptive measure in case I wanted to freeze eggs or go for it alone. I decided on doing neither, luckily met a lovely chap in 2008, and in one month of not using contraception nor really trying, fell pregnant. If it gives a sense of how unexpected that was, I'd already saved up an IVF fund.

So, the scan...I didn't sleep for a couple of nights beforehand, and on the morning of the scan got up at 5.30am. Nervous? I was terrified. Not all women are, and there's no need to be as scared as I was really. It's just that this pregnancy has been so unexpected and miraculous (see above) that I couldn't quite believe it would all be OK.

I had terrible fears about the baby not having developed, the heart not kick-starting, the risk of Downs Syndrome (how would we deal with that??) or having imagined the whole thing and being laughed out of the hospital. Meanwhile, my chap was mostly worried about there being more than one baby!

We thought we'd have to anxiously wait for hours when we got there, but actually we were called as soon as we arrived. Within two minutes I was on the bed, and I swear that within 10 seconds they had found the baby and the heartbeat. Cue massive sigh of relief!

I found the next half-hour still quite nerve-wracking if I'm honest. The baby was either moving around a lot and difficult to capture or settled in awkward positions for seeing its bits and pieces, and there wasn't much reassurance from the doctor along the way. I had to do some bouncing around on the bed, to encourage it to shift, and there was some fairly forceful pushing and shoving going on too. I decided not to complain as I'm sure worse is ahead.

We had decided that because of my age (37) we would have the screening for Downs Syndrome. Our scan was at Kings College Hospital in London, which is able to do a combined screen including nuchal fold measurements (the fluid at the back of the baby's neck), nasal bone development (in 60-70, I finally feel able to relax a little and imagine that this unexpected baby is going to happen. Now to make sure I don't fret for 10 weeks until the 22 week anomaly scan.


Any tips anyone?


Read more of Sarah's brilliant columns here.

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