On Thursday John and Debbie asked if I'd accompany them to the gynaecologist in the city. I did and am I glad I did! It was a wonderful family outing and the first time I'd ever been present at a scanning of the baby in the womb. (When we had children in the seventies, there were no scans or technical devices to show the parents/grandparents what the baby looked while it was being expected.)
Before the allotted time of the appointment, however, we had lunch. To save us the trouble of eating in a restaurant or coffee shop with three small children, we decided to picnic on the lawn outside the doctor's rooms. We bought fresh bread rolls, a ready-made Greek salad, a tub of cottage cheese. We sat on the grass and made our own salad sandwiches and washed them down with ice-cold fresh juice. A really relaxing repast.
We waited in the outer waiting room for about forty minutes before we were called into an "ante-room". Here a nurse took Debbie's blood pressure (much to my three year-old grandson's fascination) and then took her into another side room for further [more personal!] tests and samples.
Next, we were all ushered into ANOTHER room: this time one with a bed, onto which the nurse settled Debbie. There were two large flat tv screens suspended above the bed - one over the pregnant mommy's bed and one in full view of the dad and/or other family.
When Debbie was pregnant with our grandson, his daddy (John) was away at sea. He planned his leave to coincide with the birth extended for six weeks into the life of the newborn. So when Debbie had to go for a check-up and scan in a very advanced stage of her pregnancy, John asked Angus (our younger son) to accompany Debbie to the city. At the same time John and Angus' best friend, Charles, (who later was Angus' best man at his wedding) was visiting Angus. So it was absolutely natural for Charles to accompany Angus who was accompanying his sister-in-law to the gynaecologist. When Debbie entered this room with two men, neither of whom were John, the doctor (who's a jokester of note!) looked up and said, "Which one of you is the father?"
But I digress. Last week, when the gynaecologist eventually came in, he asked me if I was the gran of this HUGE family! He was a dear man who then approached Debbie's bed and by his manner you could see how he put her at ease. When he applied the scanner to her tummy, he looked at the children and asked what they were wishing for. Both the older children immediately said: "A baby brother!"
By now the images had appeared on the screen which I could see and I realised once again, that the miracle of birth will never cease to amaze me. We could see the baby clearly; it moved around all the time. The doctor then turned up the sound and we could hear the heartbeat. He used the cursor to point at and commented about what you were looking at: "There are the two hips seen from the back" ; "These two little knees, perfect" ; "The heartbeat: 64 per minute - excellent" We noticed the little mite lift a hand towards the mouth and the doctor said: "There, it's sucking it's thumb" What a precious moment.
Then six-year-old granddaughter, in a very loud whisper, said: "Gran, is this ALL we came for?"
When our little baby (nine-month-old granddaughter) began to cry because she was tired, cold, (the airconditioning was so high in the room),hungry and had just plainly "had had enough", I told John I would take the children and wait outside while they chatted to the doctor in his rooms.
What bliss when we walked out into the late afternoon summer sun. Wheeling the pram and with the older children beside me, we meandered to the duck pond and waited there for John and Debbie.