One of the hardest things about expecting a baby during a pandemic, is that the hospital rules on visitors are extremely strict. This meant that I was not allowed to attend one single antenatal appointment, including scans.
This was heartbreaking when we found out. It boosted Jess‘s anxiety 10 fold. She didn’t like hospitals at the best of times, but it was our first pregnancy and she didn’t have anyone there with her to support her if things weren’t going according to plan. And of course, I was devastated not to be able to see our first child together. Not only that, the new rules also meant that I would not be able to come into the hospital with Jess until she was in active labour, or 4cm dilated. If she ended up being induced, I wasn’t allowed there at all. And even after the birth, I would only be allowed to stay for 1 hour. The rules were just not fair at all, and I imagine the effects on the mental state of some parents would have been devastating.
Our first scan, known as the dating scan, was in June 2020, 12 weeks pregnant. Fortunately, there were no issues, but our hearts go out to those Mum’s to be that were told their little one wouldn’t make it, without the support of the child’s Father there, only for Mum to have to tell him herself. It was about this time that the #butnotmaternity movement started. The lockdown that started due to the pandemic was starting to lift, shops were reopening and progress was being made on fixing the economy, though the pandemic would last for months longer. But parents were still being put through this emotional turmoil. #butnotmaternity was a petition started by Mum’s that were having to endure this heartache on their own. It got a lot of attention and signatures, but it seemed to disappear under the radar of the government for a long time, with daily briefings from the Prime Minister failing to even acknowledge the problem until December, when the rules did finally change. Unfortunately, all of our scans and appointments had been and gone, so we didn’t get to benefit from that, but it did mean we didn’t have to worry so much about the delivery, because I could be there no matter what. And it turns out, it did end up mattering (see a later blog post).
Even though official NHS scans were not allowing visitors, private clinics were, provided that you wore the recommended PPE. We are fortunate enough to have amazing friends, and they paid for us to attend a private scan, a couple of days before our official scan was due. This meant that we could both see our baby for the first time, together. We also ended up going private for our growth scan, where we found out the gender and hearing our baby’s heartbeat for the first time, but that’s for another post.
Seeing our baby together was magical. At 12 weeks, your baby is tiny, sometimes resembling not much more than a peanut, but with ours there was no mistaking that it was a baby. Ours was already very active! Moving and turning, even hiccuping. It is such an amazing experience and I am so grateful that I got to be there with my wife. We both got excited and emotional together, and we smiled from ear to ear. And it was perfect.
With the private clinics, you have the option to purchase a recording of the scan, and are given proper 6″x4″ photographs. We decided to get the recording, as the baby was moving too much for us to not! Basically putting on a show for us! Another video we have kept in our private video vault, but an incredible memory for us to hold on to.
The baby was measured, and we were told our initial estimate of our due date.
24th December, 2020.