As an expectant mother, the wait between seeing the double lines on the test to seeing your baby for the first time is a daunting one. It’s easy for your mind to work into overdrive and for you to start thinking negative thoughts.
When we broke the news to our friends, a few asked us if we’d thought of booking a private scan. To be honest, we never did as we both thought they’d cost an arm and a leg and we could probably wait for the 12 week scan from the NHS as most people do. However, they mentioned that their partners both went when they were expecting, and it provided an instant peace of mind, which neither of us had at that point. After their advice, we researched the different private clinics that were closest to us.
A clinic that came up was Window to the Womb who have clinics all over the UK. The closest one to us was in Ellesmere Port. As I was nine weeks pregnant at the time, the scan I needed was the dating scan which is offered between eight to 12 weeks pregnant. It includes health checks, checks for a single or a multiple pregnancy, and they give you an estimated due date from the baby’s measurements. At the time of booking, it was £69 which we were pleasantly surprised about as we were both expecting the cost to be extortionate as you do whenever you hear about ‘private medical procedures.’
We attended the dating scan on the 20th September. My stomach was doing knots all the way to Ellesmere Port, and I don’t think we spoke a word for the whole journey. From the second we walked into the clinic, we instantly felt at ease with the welcoming faces and we were greeted by a lovely lady called Laura Dawes who was our scan chaperone. After arriving, we were allocated a sofa in the waiting room, and to abide by Covid rules, they were all situated at different corners.
We had no worries whatsoever when it came to our safety with Covid as all the staff were wearing masks, we wore masks, and if they felt like the waiting room was getting a bit full, they’d politely ask the next customers to either wait outside or go back into their cars.
When it was time for our scan, we were called into the ultrasound room where we met our sonographer, Via. She was fabulous! I felt so comfortable as she explained in detail what they’d be doing, and how long the process would take. As I’d only passed the 10-week mark, they explained that I’d maybe have to have a trans-vaginal scan as the baby may be too small to be picked up on an abdominal scan, but they reassured me that they’d try their best to pick him/her abdominally.
Luckily, Babi G was big enough to be seen through an ab scan and we had the first glimpse of our bundle of joy. Via talked through the scan and explained every detail as she checked the health of our little baby by ensuring us that everything was looking ok. That peace of mind was priceless.
Who knew a little blob on a screen would fill your heart with so much love? From that moment on, I could start to enjoy my pregnancy journey (well, until the nerves set back in ready for our 12-week scan!!).
Well-being and gender scan
We always knew that Babi Griffith wasn’t going to be a surprise as the both of us are too impatient to wait nine months to find out the gender. As we had such a lovely first experience in WTTW, we decided to go back for an early gender scan at 16 weeks. This scan is available from 16-23 weeks and it costs £59.
When we arrived, we were again greeted by Laura Dawes, our scan chaperone. After seeing a familiar face (ok, half a face because of the face masks) we instantly felt comfortable. One of the first questions that was asked was “will you be finding out the gender in the room today?” which we did as the virus limited our chances of having a gender reveal party with our friends and family. If you do want a gender reveal (when life finally goes back to normal), you could ask for the gender to be written on a piece of paper and they’d avoid the slip of showing if it’s a boy or a girl (and trust me, it’s pretty obvious from the scan angle!).
Our sonographer was Rachel, and she was so thorough with the well-being check at the start. Although a gender scan isn’t deemed a medical appointment, they do provide a well-being scan beforehand just to ensure that the baby’s growing healthily, check the baby’s heartbeat and to detect any abnormalities.
Again, I couldn’t fault the staff and how professional they were in their jobs. What I also liked was you could see that they were having so much enjoyment out of seeing other people’s joys!
We were given a sneak peek of our little cherub in 4D format which was completely bizarre to see how our little son was developing! At the end of the scan, we got the option to choose four pictures taken in the scan to have as a paper copy, and the remainder of the pictures were all uploaded to an app called ‘Bumpies’ which you were given a code that allowed you to view and keep digital copies of all pictures. This was such a great touch as we were able to share the code with all of our family and friends and they were able to keep these copies forever as well!
I remember telling Danny on the way home from the gender scan that I’d love to go back for the third time for a 4-D scan. This is how impressed I was with their service. I’d barely walked out of the clinic and I wanted to re-visit!
4D and Well-being Scan
The 4-D package we went for was the ‘Born to Be a Star‘ which costs £109. In comparison to the other packages, this was a bit more expensive. However, the information and the attention to detail you receive within the scan is second to none.
WTTW recommend the best time for 4D is between 26-30 weeks. For multiple pregnancies they recommend visiting from 22 – 26 weeks, and if you have an anterior placenta, 26-28 weeks to ensure there’s plenty of room for baby to move.
We were right at the end of the recommended time to go for a 4-D scan, at 30 weeks. In our scan, we had Laura Starkey (the manager) as our chaperone. Laura did warn us beforehand that we may find difficulty in seeing the baby clearly on the 4-D as he would possibly be too big. Usually, if we weren’t successful in the first scan, they would offer a free second appointment to ensure we’d get to see our baby boy. However, due to the third lockdown, they weren’t able to offer this service as the 4D element was not deemed medical, which is completely understandable. Laura did then reassure us that they’d try anything possible to ensure that we’d get to have a peek of our boy that day, which would include going for a walk to try and move the baby, and eating something sugary which would wake the baby up and possibly cause him to move.
The girls really did go above and beyond to ensure that myself and Danny had the best experience.
Jan was our sonographer for the day, who talked us through every detail as she was checking the health of our son.
As our little boy isn’t that little (God help me!), he was pretty squished which restricted movements to try and get the best pictures. However, the pictures Jan took of our bundle of joy was amazing. We had photos of him smiling, his squishy little nose pressing down, and him sucking his thumb. This was such an emotional moment as we both got to see a sneak peek of how our first born child would look, and I may be biased, but he is the most beautiful little boy I have ever laid eyes on!
As part of the package, we were entitled to four photo prints, all digital images on the Bumpies app, and also a copy of the full video of the scan. The scan lasted around 15 minutes, and I don’t have to worry about forgetting any detail within the scan as I have it all saved on my phone for me to cherish forever!
We’re now only four weeks until Babi G is due into this world, and I feel so much better about my pregnancy journey after visiting Window to The Womb. The care they have for their customers, the attention to detail, and the professionality are all second to none. I would recommend them to any pregnant women, and I’ll keep recommending them for years to come. You truly have made my journey into welcoming my son into the world so special, and for that I will be forever grateful!
A huge thank you to Laura Starkey, Laura Dawes, Via, Rachel and Jan for your amazing service throughout the three visits. I’ll definitely be back when we have a brother/sister for the little man!
DISCLAIMER: Although WTTW have sonographers who are all medically trained, the additional scans ARE NOT to be replaced by the NHS appointments that are available at around 12 and 20 weeks. These are still essential appointments that you should NEVER miss.