I wanted to hold on to this news for just a few hours, just to savour as a family. It’s quite nice having that bit of time to just let it soak in and imagine your family as a four.
We’re going to have a family of four. Can you believe that?
We went for a private scan this morning. At 10 o’clock. Me, Mark, Bill and my parents, or Granny and Po, if you’re Bill or this little baby.
We arrived far too early. To the point that the clinic wasn’t even open yet. We joked in the rain that, from the front, it looked like a tanning salon. But soon, once a lovely chap arrived and opened up, we were met with warm lights and a lovely waiting room.
We were first in. And I sat nervously. Fidgeting. A mixture of those nerves and the fact that my bladder was extremely full. As excited as I’ve been, in that moment I just wanted a heartbeat.
I had no preference with this baby. I didn’t want either or as a preference. Just a baby.
I just wanted to know so I could imagine. I just wanted to envisage our family and get excited for our future together.
We went up, and you never do forget that feeling of lying down on a paper-covered bench and exposing your stomach. Nervous. Excited. Almost tired from the energy of it all.
The lady apologised for the squirt of cold jelly on my tummy. I remember Bill piping up that: “Mama has Peppa jelly on her tummy!” Just like the Peppa jellies he likes from the shop.
The ultrasound was placed on my stomach, more swollen than last time, and straight away the image of a baby appeared. And again that hold of breath as I waited for the heartbeat to flicker.
And it did.
A strong heart. Two hands. Two elbows. Little arms curled up to the face. A little profile. One that still reminds me of Mark. Two long legs stretching out. How I didn’t feel my womb pull stunned me.
Mark and I realised at the exact same time that we’d forgotten to hold each other’s hand. And we reached for each other.
Bill with his grandparents. Five pairs of eyes fixed on a screen. Glassy with happiness.
And so the sonographer asked us if we wanted one last guess.
My mum: “Girl. We all think girl.”
Bill: “Just a little girl.”
My dad: “Girl.”
“Let’s see shall we?”
I held my breath as she looked. For as long as I could at least. She was careful and wanted to be certain.
I had no preference. Honest truth. I felt lucky enough to be having the chance to have a second child with the man I love.
I would have been happy either way.
And then I knew.
I saw Mark in my peripheral.
I knew he was the same.
We didn’t need to be told. It was as clear as day.
“Right! Are you ready?”
And it was then that I learned that I was, for certain, to have a daughter.
It’s a girl.
A whole new relationship. A whole new love. A whole new set of challenges. A new bond. Shared interests perhaps? Plaiting hair. Exploring the pinker aisles. But still stealing the cool bits from the boys’ one. Teaching her about life as a woman. Teaching her to ignore people who tell her she’s anything but wonderful. Talking about periods. And having every sympathy. Would she like winged eyeliner – and want to know how I mastered it? Could I teach her? I could teach her that. But not how to walk in heels. I still don’t know how to do that very well. Would she like boys? Girls? I hope she doesn’t have her heart broken. “No one will break my daughter’s heart,” the proud dad next to me says. She’ll be a daddy’s girl no doubt of that. And I think that man of mine deserves nothing less.
My daughter. I can’t wait to know you. I can’t wait to be your best friend, if you’ll let me. I can’t wait to bicker with you. And marvel at you.
I can’t wait to welcome you to our family properly. Your brother loves you. He can’t stop kissing you. My stomach has never seen so much love.
I’m going to have a daughter.