'The gel is a little cold, so I do apologise.'
The lady smiled kindly as she squirted the gel onto my bare stomach as I inhaled sharply. Jesus! It was like ice, was there really any need for it to be so cold?! Don't they know they are putting it on pregnant mothers not using it in a recipe? The sonographer gently pushed down on my lower stomach with a probe, the tv screen beside us flickering into life. It was difficult to make sense of it at first, and I realised I wasn't even breathing as she used a finger to point at the screen.
'This is your uterus, and this area is the amniotic sac where your baby is forming.' She was pointing to a white rim around a clear centre, whilst the rest of the screen was a grainy black and white image.'This is your baby.'
My eyes focused on the centre, my heart pounding as I recognised the circular head and a tiny body attached to it. Cal squeezed my hand as I gazed at the screen in wonder.
'Everything looks as it should be, and I am just going to measure the little one to see how far along you are for sure.' She zoomed in, clicking on various buttons until she nodded with satisfaction.
'You are approximately thirteen weeks. Which would make your due date around March time. Your midwife may be able to give you a more exact date. You can clean the gel from your stomach now. You will have another scan in about seven weeks which may be able to tell you the sex of the baby, should you want to know.'
She printed us a couple of scan photos and I dabbed at my stomach, turning to see Cal sitting, completely stunned. He was staring at the photo and I saw him gulp, a lump in his throat.
'Finally we meet. Hello Bean. Wow baby.' He flickered his eyes over to me and I blinked back tears. Panic flashed over his face as I grabbed his hand in reassurance.
'Happy tears Cal.'
He nodded as I pulled my top back down and swung my legs down, standing slowly. I was starting to show a tiny bit, but I have to confess I was more excited than ever at the idea of having a large baby bump. We made our way out of the hospital and Cal drove us to a little Italian restaurant we both loved, and he even ordered me a coffee without me asking. I ordered the Spaghetti Carbonara with extra cheese and a side of garlic bread and Cal watched me in awe.
'What?' I smiled as he gazed at me.
'I just really love you right now. I can't believe our baby is in your tummy, listening to us. I want us to go and view some houses soon, and stay with your parents until we find one. We need to leave New York honey.'
I nodded sadly. I had become so fond of the city, despite having recently only spent it with Cal, I had made some friends. My parents were shocked but elated when we told them about the baby, but more so they were ecstatic we would be moving back to Winterburg. They had offered for us to stay with them until we bought our house for when the baby was born. My stomach lurched when I thought about becoming a mother, but I had no real fear. I would be bringing our child into the world at the same hospital I was born in myself, going to the same schools I had, growing up in the same town I did. I wanted that for them; my childhood was idyllic.
'Have you considered names?' Cal asked, his eyes flickering with amusement. I had already gone through about a hundred baby name websites and still was no closer to choosing one for either sex.
'I can't decide on any. What about you?'
'If it's a girl she will need a plain name like Margaret. Or Beryl. She won't need an attractive one.' He scowled as I suppressed a giggle. I would really feel for Bean if it was a girl. 'I like names like Grey, Thor and Theo for a boy.'
I scrunched my nose up as I shook my head. This was going to be hard work. Luckily we had six months to argue about it. The food came and we both tucked in, unable to speak with his delicious the food was. When we had finished, Cal turned to me.
'I think we should spend your birthday in Winterburg. Shall we move out next week? I can have things shipped over to us so I'm not concerned about that. Then we can get looking for our forever home.'
I nodded enthusiastically as I dragged ny hair into a rough bun on my head as I yawned.
'You still take my breath away, Gretchen. The most beautiful girl I've ever laid eyes on. Shall we get you home?' He signalled for the bill and I sank back happily into my chair.
'Cal, are we sticking with Cal or Leo? You said you waned me to call you Leo but you're always gonna be Cal to me.' I shrugged and he smiled.
'Cal Fallon or Leo Cape. It's still me, whichever way you look at it. But I think I'm going to stick with Cal. My old name had too much trauma attached to it.' His eyes turned dark as he gazed behind me, as though peering into a memory. He paid the bill and we left, walking to his car. The tiredness was overtaking me now, my shoulders slumped as I tried to keep my eyes open. I slid into the seat and watched as a huge truck drove by with a magazine promoted on the side.
'Elle.' I mused aloud as Cal studied me.
'Elle. Its a nice name.'
He nodded as he smiled.
'Whatever you say darling. Your choice. Always.'