"It only measures 9mm" said the lady who was doing my wife's first scan. "But you can already see the heart beating."
When my wife told me she was pregnant it didn't really hit home. But as I watched the flickering heartbeat of the tiny blob on screen – not yet termed a foetus - I suddenly felt overcome by emotion, that overwhelming urge to...panic!
We were going to have a child. Oh good grief, oh dear – help! Just briefly images of cuddling our newborn and the joy of watching its first smile rushed through my mind.
But what lingered longer were thoughts of, 'our home is too small', 'how the heck are we going to pay the bills?' and 'what exactly is fastest route to the hospital?'
We've already got one son who entered the world in a dramatic, emergency caesarean section – far removed from the idea my wife had of easing him out in one of those birthing pools.
And having just about got over the first two years of frenzied late night calls to NHS Direct about mystery rashes as well as the avalanche of nappies and not to mention those toddler tantrums it seems that we are actually planning to do this for a second time.
As Oscar Wilde might have said: "Having one child is rather reckless, having two looks like carelessness!"
At least this time, as a prospective dad, I'll know a bit more of what to expect.
1. Sitting in a consultation room with your other half and a midwife while she undergoes intimate examinations won't seem quite so strange.
2. Discussing breastfeeding at antenatal classes with other blokes who can't quite understand how they got themselves into this pickle, might not seem such a culture shock.
3. There's not quite the sudden urge to buy all sorts of baby gadgets and gizmos in advance that you don't really need.
4. And perhaps the contents of that first, uniquely horrifying nappy after the baby is born won't come as quite as much of a shock.
I know that we both feel a bit more assertive this time round - asking for an early scan when my wife had some minor bleeding. And we've already vowed not to bore our relative and friends in quite the same way as we did two years ago with those grainy pictures of baby in the womb that you can buy for a few quid.
But some of my daddy behaviour is worryingly similar to last time around.
1. Sitting in hospital waiting rooms full of other nervous dads and their partners, not quite knowing what to do with myself and pretending to read features in the free copies of Horse and Hound magazine lying around.
2. Googling possible names for our child to see that they don't match those of serial killers.
3. Staying up til midnight after work every night madly doing bad DIY in a futile bid to get the house ready for the new arrival.
4. Actually, for once, being helpful around the house doing lots of wholesome cooking (that my wife feels too sick to eat) and tidying up (that my wife secretly does again properly when I'm not looking).
5. Banishing all thoughts of ever being able to just go to the pub on a whim ever again.
But there are already differences this time round too. Last time my wife didn't have cravings. This time is different. When she doesn't feel too sick, she has sudden must have foodstuffs. I've already been despatched late at night to find a special type of mustard.
And there's going to be the dilemma of how to explain to our existing son why mummy's tummy looks like she's had too many biscuits.
I wonder if he'll be as excited as me at the prospect of a new baby in the house and having a sibling. He certainly won't be as worried.
Seven months to go...and counting!
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