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Surrogacy Part 5: The early scan

E: By this point I am now in Scotland, on a 4 week campervan trip. Not ideal timing in the sense that we want/need to do an early scan, but actually quite good for being able to try and get through the days now we’re not seeing each other every day!

S: I’m glad Ems away on her trip around Scotland and relaxing in the fresh air. I try my hardest not to message and let her enjoy some peace and quiet from me and my extra anxiety! 

E: I know S is super anxious (I’ve lived and breathed the last 5 years with her and know that anxiety won’t be switching off anytime soon) but I do think that my (probably sometimes annoyingly!) laid back-ness must go some way to help her to not feel as anxious as she might if we were both googling away.

S: I managed to organise a scan in Inverness in the 24 hours that Em was there before she went off to the isolated Scottish islands. A big part of me was gutted to not be there with her and the other part was saying it was obviously meant to be, possibly to help my anxiety. I felt so grateful that we didn’t have to turn up at Watford EPU (early pregnancy unit) for this. A place that brings back such painful memories. 

E: It’s the night before the scan and I feel a bit nervous simply because I’ll be going in by myself. We’re now in Inverness and James will be with the kids (we think it’s too early to take Mollie especially into the scan room and explain anything to her. We will eventually, just not yet). S&J will be on FaceTime but I do feel a bit guilty that they won’t be in the room. As I know it’s going to be the first time they see their baby, who they WILL be holding in their arms in 7/8 short months time.

S: I woke up at 5.30 on scan day and felt like I couldn’t breathe. My stomach was turning and that feeling brought back such awful memories. Scans were not my friend or at least hadn’t been my friend for the past 5 years. Please just let there be a heartbeat. I knew it may be a few days early to see this but was willing for us to see something we had never seen before. 

E: So I’ve never had a negative experience with a scan (apart from living them with Soph and Jack and a few other close friends). But personally, I had never experienced not seeing something positive on that screen. So it’s basically all I could imagine and all I focused on when I thought about the scan that day. Soph reminded me I needed a full bladder so here I am with my massive bottle of Highland Spring reassuring her!

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S: 8.10am and Em messaged to say she was there. Jack and I sat in the lounge with my mum who is currently staying with us (and wouldn’t leave our sides that morning!). Em tried to FaceTime but her reception was so bad it wasn’t connecting. 2, 3, 4, 5 minutes felt like a lifetime. 7 minutes later we get a photo on our group whatsapp. It’s a scan photo but we can’t really figure out what it shows. Then she calls....

E: Bloody technology! In the moment I couldn’t connect to them I felt really bad- I wanted them to be there with me so much! But in the end we all agreed it was for the best, as I was able to record the whole scan instead. I recorded the HEARTBEAT flickering away... I can’t actually tell you how proud and excited I felt in that moment. I think I did a mini fist punch on the bed at the thought of reaching the biggest milestone yet. This was starting to feel like a marathon and we had just gotten up and over the biggest hill in my opinion!

I called Soph and Jack as soon as I got out of the room and got some signal (after taking a quick selfie with Jocelyn- the awesome sonographer!)

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S: THERE’S A HEARTBEAT! The 3 words we’ve longed to hear for over 5 years. I think I scream. I can’t remember. There were definitely a fair few seconds when I didn’t breathe properly. Mum was up saying ‘YES’ and burst into tears, Jack had a grin on his face I don’t see too often and his eyes lit up. I just kept saying ‘Are you joking Em, are you joking!’. I was just so thankful in that moment. Em had gone into that scan by herself like the trooper she is and we had at that point got further than we had ever done before. A bloody heartbeat! Seriously. 

E: Definitely NOT a joke, my gorgeous friends xx

S: Em sent us the video she had taken of the scan. When the nurse says ‘There’s a baby with a heartbeat can you see the flicker’ my own heart skipped a beat. I kept replaying it over and over just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. It’s a video we will all be treasuring forever. It was our baby with a heartbeat. 

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E: To say we were on a high that day would be an understatement! All I wanted as I walked out of the hospital was a drink ha! It had been quite the build up and it was the best outcome we all could have asked for that day. We continued our trip and headed off to some beautiful waterfalls in the highlands.

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S: We were under no illusion that it was still such early days and we couldn’t think too far past that moment as we know hopes get raised and then come crashing down in pregnancy and we were still only 6 weeks 2 days. However that evening we shared a bottle of Prosecco and celebrated this small but very BIG step for us. Now we needed to wait 2 weeks for the next scan which I had booked for when Em got to Glasgow. 2 whole weeks to try and not turn to google again. Come on Baby Smith hang in there ❤️

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Emiliana Hall