Ever since we found out that Michelle is pregnant we have been convinced that we would be having a girl. It was just one of those gut feelings that are unexplainable. To be honest, it probably goes back further than that, for as long as we have been talking about having a baby, we have always pictured that it would be a girl.
Over the last few weeks we have been discussing names more and more, but almost always just girl’s names. We have ordered nursery furniture and started discussing ideas for nursery themes, always with a girl in mind. It started to reach a point where we would be genuinely shocked if we found out it was a boy. Although we wouldn’t have minded at all if it was a boy, we were just convinced it wouldn’t be.
There are still people out there that go through the whole pregnancy not knowing what sex their baby is, they prefer to wait for the birth for that surprise. Michelle was never going to be that person though, she couldn’t wait to find out, in fact she couldn’t even wait for 20 weeks to find out.
Traditionally, expectant parents can find out the gender at the 20 week scan should they want to. During the routine midwife appointment and sonogram you will usually be asked if you want to know or not. However, from around week 16 onwards a sonographer should be able to specify which sex it is as long as the baby is in the right position at the time of the scan. Although the NHS don’t offer scans that early, there are plenty of places where you can pay for this service and no end of impatient parents-to-be ready to pay to find out.
Michelle did some research online to try and find the best place to book for a gender scan. The most accessible of the companies offering these private scans is Babybond, who partner with Mothercare to offer in store scans at around 20 locations around the country. The online reviews for Babybond were quite mixed, with some getting great feedback but our local store, in Leamington Spa, getting lots of negative comments.
Put off by these reviews Michelle found a local alternative and we booked with them, however, after taking payment they proceeded to tell Michelle that we would have to travel over an hour to an alternative branch as they had no availability at the store five minutes down the road. A pretty underhanded sales technique.
After a few exchanged words over the phone, a refund was issued and we were back to square one. Our only alternative was to go with Babybond at Mothercare. A quick phone call was made and it was booked. We would just have to take our chances with the bad reviews.
Almost two weeks went by, and then two days before our scan Michelle got a phone call from Babybond telling us that there was no sonographer available for our scan and that we could either re-book later in the week, or travel to another branch an hour away!
Arranging a scan was proving to be much more difficult than it should be.
We reluctantly agreed to move our appointment to the Merry Hill branch as we had booked the day off work and wouldn’t be able to find an alternative company in two days. They offered to throw in a free USB of the scan images as a sweetener, a small consolation for all of the inconvenience. These businesses are built solely to meet the needs of impatient soon-to-be parents who can’t and won’t wait another four weeks for their free NHS scan, so they know that their customer service can be on the poor side but the emotional drive to get the scan anyway will prevail.
In all fairness, our experience once we got to the scan in Merry Hill was great, but then again, how it could it be anything but when you are watching your unborn child wriggle around.
There are a million ‘miracle of life’ cliches that can be thrown around, but sat in room seeing this tiny little thing moving is nothing short of mind blowing. Finding out the gender was our main reason for scan, but it’s also hugely reassuring to see that everything looks as though it should, and hear the sonographer tell us that everything is developing perfectly. I’ve said it before but there is a lot of time spent feeling helpless when it comes to pregnancy, lots of worrying that everything is OK, and lots of waiting for certain milestones such as scans. During all of this waiting and worrying there is a growing, innate feeling of wanting to protect.
The sonographer was in no doubt that our baby is a little girl.
“How sure are you?” asked Michelle
“I’m absolutely sure” she replied “I’ve never been wrong”
Although Michelle had said all along that she would be happy with a girl or boy, I knew deep down that she really wanted a girl and I watched her eyes fill up as we heard the news.
To see her that happy was worth the cost of the private scan and worth the two hour round trip to get it.. and seeing as we were already in Mothercare, it was time to start buying pink things.