On September 20, 2013 by Kunle Barker

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Since discovering I am to be a father I have noticed an alarming thing, I’ve developed a nervous disposition and I don’t like it, I don’t like it one bit.  It’s my first child, and an important time so I guess it’s natural to want everything to go well. The problem is, I have become very anxious and almost paranoid about this pregnancy. Over the years, I have managed to hand-cuff paranoia and throw irrationality in jail, but this pregnancy seems to have granted them early parole. Okay, that’s not quite as eloquent as Muhammad Ali, but you get the point.

Normally I would think that having tests and performing scans is a good thing. I have always thought it better to know than not know. However, a part of me hates scans and a part of me wishes there were no scans. The thought of a scan terrifies me; as much as I try, I can’t help but focus on its negative aspects. I suppose that’s natural as even though the doctor doesn’t really say it – no-one really says it – a scan is really designed to see if there is something wrong. It’s negative by its very nature and at 12 weeks they are specifically looking to see if your baby has Downs Syndrome, so naturally all I think about is Downs Syndrome, and its implications on Kidney Bean and us as a family.

We have resisted the temptation to tell anyone other than family about the pregnancy but this has somehow made me even more nervous about the scan. Somehow, I have convinced myself that there is going to be something wrong, there is nothing to suggest this but I just can’t stop thinking about it.  I haven’t slept for days thinking about birth defects and what I would or wouldn’t do if I was told that my baby was somehow less than perfect. This is not like me, and totally irrational as I know that statistically most babies are fine and there really is nothing to worry about. No matter, the irrational side of my personality is out of jail and wants to have some fun and there is no way it’s going to let statistical facts get in the way.

Perhaps one of the worst aspects of this is that I feel I can’t or shouldn’t share my fears with Mummy Bean. I’m the man, I should be strong, rational and not worried sick about something that hasn’t even happened. But I can’t tell Mummy Bean, if she is already worried then I will make it worse, and if she is not, then telling her will only make her worry. The way I see it, it’s a lose-lose situation so I keep quiet and on the morning of the scan I am forcefully chirpy and claim that I’m really looking forward to seeing Kidney Bean. This is a lie, really I’m terrified, terrified about what I’m going to learn, see, or hear about Kidney Bean.

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Turns out I drove us to the wrong hospital, but we managed to make it to the correct location with 5 minutes to spare and are almost immediately called into a treatment room. As Mummy Bean applies ectoplasm to her stomach (neither the midwife or Mummy Bean find this description funny), I take a seat and nervously await the scan.

Turns out Kidney Bean no longer looks like a Kidney Bean. Kidney Bean now looks like a baby; even I can recognise the head, legs and arms. It’s a little weird as at some points you can actually see the baby’s bones making Kidney Bean look like a skeleton. But it’s all good and I’m beginning to relax as the nurse plays us the heartbeat, which to me sounds very quick, but I guess it’s an exciting occasion for all of us.

The midwife begins taking measurements and immediately my heart drops, this is the Downs Syndrome bit. I really try to fight the urge but can’t help myself and ask, “Do the measurements look normal?” What an idiot! It’s a stupid question as I know that the midwife cannot answer me, or at least answer in the way that I would like. Obviously she simply says, “I have to send the measurements away for testing and you will get the results back in 2 weeks.” Woh, woh, woh. That was not the deal! I thought that this was the point of the 12-week scan, we turn up, you scan, you tell me all is fine, and then I ride off into the sunset with my wife and healthy baby. Where did these 2 weeks come from? Obviously I don’t mention any of this to the midwife and instead smile politely and ask how we get the results. I’m now beside myself with worry and have already decided that I’m not telling anyone about the pregnancy for another 2 weeks.


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As the midwife tries to take her final measurements it appears that Kidney Bean is in the wrong position so the midwife tries to move Kidney Bean by pressing the ultrasound head into Mummy Bean’s stomach. As she begins to do this I feel my first pang of parental protection as I see little Kidney Bean complete what I can only describe as a series of break dance moves; first the caterpillar, then crazy legs and finishing off with a head spin. At first, I think this is really cool but then I feel it again, that urge, parental protection; it’s strong and fierce, like anger, but controlled and focused. The problem is its focused on the poor midwife and it takes all of my self control not to leap up, rip the ultrasound head from her hands and jab it into her side and see how she likes it. But I’m restrained and instead, as Kidney Bean performs another head spin, I just ask if she thinks that’s hurting the baby.

The scan is over, and all is fine which is a relief, also we now have a little picture of Kidney Bean. I’m still very worried about the results of the Downs Syndrome test and as Mummy Bean discusses who she is going to tell first I can’t hold it in any longer, and let her know how worried I am. As we sit in the car, Mummy Bean simply says, “Don’t be silly, there is nothing to worry about, everything will be fine.” “But what about the test?” I ask. Mummy Bean turns to face me, smiles and says: “Whatever the result of the test, everything will be fine.” Immediately my worry evaporates and I wish I had spoken to Mummy Bean weeks ago.

Kidney Bean @ minus 6 months

Kidney Bean @ minus 6 months



  • Sharlie

    I love these blogs, really puts into perspective that the farther to be can have the same worries as the mom to be. I’m pregnant myself with my first so I can relate to what your going through as I was like it myself about the down syndrome test, my first scan didn’t go quite to plan and I was worrying like mad, my partner tried telling me it was all going to be find and our little one was perfectly fine. I wouldn’t listen until the midwife said it herself and all my worries were gone, I still have the worries like any expectant mom does about their unborn child but I know that my little boy is doing just fine.

  • Christoph

    As a first time father with my Daughter, Aurora, only 2 weeks from birth I’m feeling the same worries, or was should I say! So far from the posts I’ve read, we’ve had very similar worries and superstitions, granted you held your tongue about 6 weeks longer than I could. Your blog is hysterical and yes ECTOPLASM! It was my description too 🙂

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