We went for a scan on Friday afternoon. I didn't really have a good reason to go for one, except that I'm away all of next week, and I wanted to know that everything was ok in there before I left. And, well, I had a bit of leakage during an intimate session with my husband last weekend. Not much, but it's never happened before and it freaked me out about the whole pPROM thing, even though I know it's too early for that, and it's not a likely thing to happen to me anyway. So we booked a scan, because it was easier to get a scan than to see the OB.
We had the same lovely doctor doing the scan as did the scans at 11 weeks and when I had the bleed at 13 weeks. He's just such a kind, quiet, thoughtful man. He always asks why we are there, which makes me feel a bit self-conscious but I think he's asking to make sure that he does the right thing rather than for any other reason. When I just answer "general neurosis" he always laughs, so that's a good thing. He was very keen to make sure that we knew that a scan at 18 weeks would need to be repeated around 20 weeks to make sure everything was in place - there are some things, like the brain, that just aren't developed enough at 18 weeks to be able to give a definitive answer about abnormalities. We insisted that we knew, but just wanted to make sure everything was ok. I also mentioned my fears about pPROM, but didn't mention the leakage as it just seemed too complicated a story to retell, and I was fairly sure that the leakage wasn't due to pPROM but due to something, well, rather insalubrious. He was entirely sympathetic and didn't laugh at me at all. Which was encouraging.
Over the last 24 hours H and I had been discussing if we wanted to know the sex for sure if it was obvious at this scan. Bizarrely, after my "what if it's a boy" post, I wasn't sure I was ready to know for sure. It was 2 weeks earlier than I had been expecting to find out, and I thought perhaps I might need that extra 2 weeks. Even as H and I sat in the waiting room, I still couldn't answer him as he asked me if I knew what I wanted. But when I lay down on the table and the warm goo was squirted on my stomach, the kind doctor asked me if we wanted to know, and I just said "Yes".
After a few seconds of scanning around the doctor turned the screen round to show us the baby, and told us that everything was fine. He played us the heartbeat, and showed how the baby was breech, with its spine towards the camera. He then turned the screen back towards himself so that he could do some measurements. A few minutes later he said, "well, I can't be positive, but it looks as if it's a girl."
H immediately started laughing and squeezed my hand hard. I was in shock. "Are you surprised," asked the doctor. "Yes," we chorused. "She was sure it was a boy," H laughed. I explained the 13 week scan flash, and the doctor chuckled away. I started laughing. It was H's turn to look shocked.
The rest of the scan looked fine, in fact we have a big one in there. Having measured in the 95th percentile for length at the 13 week scan, she's now measuring 19w2d on most of her measurements. The doctor indicated that that was a good thing, which allayed my fears about it being an early sign of gestational diabetes. Everything he could measure was in good shape. We saw the four chambers of the heart clearly. He showed us a close up of a tiny, perfect hand, and the bones of the spine, beautifully regular, curving towards us on the screen. He told us he'd examined the kidneys, the bowel, the bones, and the lips and palate, and that everything looked good. Although we have to have the detailed scan in another 2-3 weeks, he told us it would be very unlikely for a major abnormality not to have shown up already.
All amazing news. But most amazing, or perhaps just weird, is that I walked out of the hospital feeling, well, a little flat. H teared up as we stood and hugged on the stairs. "I was dreaming about a little mini-me," he whispered in my ear. "I know, darling," I answered. We walked back to the car in silence. At last I figured it out. I had always known how much I wanted a daughter, so when I thought I was having a boy, I was aware of the loss involved in not having a daughter. After you'd all written me such beautiful and thoughtful comments, I started to understand better the wonderfulness that a son would mean. So now that I know that I am probably carrying our daughter, I have a sense of the loss that not carrying a son means. The answer is that only were we having boy/girl twins would we not be anticipating a tiny sense of regret. Not a major regret, not a big sadness, but a knowledge that in having something wonderful happen to us, we also have to let go of another tiny dream, a different life that might have been. I am delighted, but I am greedy.
But those dreams are on the gross scale - the lumping together of everything our child might be under the heading of a gender. Although it surely is a big determinant of the kind of person they might be, it's not the only characteristic that might surprise and delight us. Within the categories of "boy" or "girl" there are a universe of possibilities about the person our child might become. I now better appreciate that whatever this baby turns out to be, it will be what it is, the person it's meant to be, and that will be tremendous.
This morning I feel really delighted. Not so much because it's a girl, but because everything is fine. She's in great shape. My cervix is long and closed. The amniotic fluid is at the right level. There is nothing wrong. Perhaps we might really have a baby in September.