I’ve been going to this same OBGYN for over 10 years. Actually… probably longer. His waiting room is always full of pregnant women, and then me.
There was always a comfort in knowing if I changed my mind about having children he’d still be my doctor, instead of having to find someone new to trust then. He’s also the perfect kind of doctor, the soft spoken peaceful type that inspires trust. Despite his lobby always having over 20 patients waiting to be seen, he has never rushed through my visits, he looks at me straight in the eye and slowly, thoroughly answers all my questions. I’m the kind of patient who shows up with at least 3-6 questions written down each visit. He knows and sometimes, after the check ups he’ll jokingly ask “what questions do you have for me today?”
I had to wait two and half weeks to get this appointment. It’s been so stressful just waiting, not knowing if the baby is alive in there, if all four pregnancy tests were wrong, if something else is wrong. But I’m here now sitting in this lobby and, for the first time, there’s only a handful of women with me. And my husband. He’s sitting quietly beside me which usually means he’s on full “observing GiGi mode.” He does this when he knows I have a lot going on. He just gives me space to be while observing for cues of how he can or should support me without overwhelming me, since most of the time I don’t need him to DO anything, just to be with me. This man is God’s greatest gift to me.
My mind goes back to the women in the lobby. Why is it so empty today? Did this doctor have someone die on the table and it was on the news and I missed it? These 10 women and I missed it? Which one of us is next?
What the fuck is wrong with me?
“You need water or anything?” Hubby’s voice is soft and soothing as he leans into me, asking me this simple question to gage how far off in my thoughts I am. These days I think he thinks I’m a ticking bomb or something.
“I’m good thanks. There’s never this few women in here…”
“Lucky us! Less wait to see the doctor”
He’s right. This is lucky. Waiting two and a half weeks is enough. Doc probably hasn’t killed anyone. Why are my thoughts so crazy? I need to Google that later. Service in here sucks.
The nurse calls my name and takes me and Hubby to a room I’ve never been in before. It’s smaller than the other check up rooms and there’s a sonogram machine. She gives me the paper sheet and says “Remove just the bottom and the doctor will be in in a little bit.”
I follow directions and sit on the examination table. Hubby can’t decide if to sit across from me or stand beside me. He looks at me and I feel like a Cat in the Hat book, so easy to read, as he takes a step to stand by me and takes my hand in his. He doesn’t say anything. He doesn’t need to. I love that we don’t always need words to understand each other. There are so many levels of communication in relationships. I’m happy I don’t need to tell him I need him beside me right now cause I’d probably lose my composure. I need composure right now cause I need to ask questions, I need answers. I need logic. Logic and I do really well together.
After I few minutes I hear the soft knock on the door. Doc is here. The door cracks open and he peeks inside. His blue eyes shinning and the deep wrinkles around them more noticeable than ever as he smiles big and softly says “congratulations!” as he walks into the room.
Why is he so happy? Aren’t doctors supposed to be objective and shit?
“It’s a happy moment. You’re the broken one.” The self destructive bitch of a voice in my head hasn’t missed a single shot she’s taken at me since this started. I need to get her under control. Later. Right now I need to get myself under control.
I do the best I can to smile at the doctor while Hubby’s uncontrollable joy fills the room as he says “Thanks! Thank you doctor.” But the doctor sees right past my smile, he sees right through me and immediately the joy leaves his eyes and he goes into doctor mode.
I did that. He loves this part of this job. Taking part in the happy couples’ joy, celebrating with them and I took that away from him with whatever failed attempt at a smile that was.
I didn’t come here to make him happy I came here for information on this situation.
He asked a bunch of standard questions like when was my last period and how I was feeling. I told him the truth. I learned a long time ago you shouldn’t lie to doctors.
“Scared. I feel really scared.”
His gaze changed then almost like he was measuring my fear, how much of it there was. Hubby squeezed my hand, his way of reminding me he’s right beside whenever I’m doing something that’s difficult for me.
“It’s normal to feel scared. How about we take a look to see that everything is ok?”
He called in the nurse while I laid back. He tried the transvaginal ultrasound first. I forgot how uncomfortable these are. Not as uncomfortable as Hubby looks and that makes me giggle inside.
“It’s not that bad” I said to him hoping it gave him some ease.
“Have you been having trouble going to the bathroom?”
“How can you tell?” I asked, as I looked at the sonogram screen trying to make something out, anything, there was no baby on the screen. Why was there no baby?
“I should be able to get a better view with the transvaginal ultrasound but you’re really backed up so we’re going to try through the top. You can start taking Miralax to help with the constipation.”
The nurse turned off the lights. Doc poured the ultrasound gel on my stomach, beneath my belly button. It was warm. He moved the wand around a few gentle strokes and there it was…. on the screen. Not quite a baby shape, but definitely my baby.
“There it is… that’s your baby” Doc said in his soft, almost whispering voice. “Looks like you’re about 8 weeks along.”
“Is it ok?”
It took me a second to realize it was my own voice that asked the question.
Doc replied by turning up the sound.
Galloping hoofbeats. Fast galloping hoofbeats.
“Yup. Sounds like everything is perfect with your baby.”
Suddenly I couldn’t see the screen anymore through my tears.
The baby was alive and it was ok.
I looked at Hubby and he was wiping tears off his cheeks, smiling. Lost in the moment and glowing with joy. He looked down at me without words to say and just kissed my hand through his smile.
“That’s our baby” I said to him.
“That’s our baby and everything is ok” he replied while we both kept staring at the ultrasound machine, through tears, trying to make out a face or body parts in the black and white pixelated blob on the screen.
Doc printed out the sonogram and handed us copies. The nurse turned on the light and he sat back down in his rolling chair. He looked straight at me as I sat up on the table.
“No deli meats or anything raw. No sushi, nothing like that. Sex is ok throughout the pregnancy. Try to do some exercise, walking is great, 30 or 40 minutes a day. Drink a lot of water. Lots of water.” He stayed looking at me for a moment in silence, studying my face.
Then a smile creeped a little out of the right side of his lips.
“What questions do you have for me today?”
I couldn’t help giggling. It was our own little moment and it felt great to feel known, understood.
“Everything looks ok then?”
“What tests come next? What do I need to do next?”
“We’ll do a full prenatal blood panel and the nurse will give you a kit to test for common chromosomal conditions like Down Syndrome or anything like that. It’ll also tell you the baby’s sex. They’ll come to your house to draw the blood and the results take about two weeks to come through. I’m also going to refer you to an Advanced Pregnancy Specialist since you’re over 35.”
“Is that a geriatric pregnancy doctor?”
“No. It’s called an Advanced Pregnancy”
“I thought it was called geriatric.”
Doc looked at me, with his objective doctor face and with a lightness in his voice said “I’ve been doing this over 30 years and I’ve never heard it be called that before. Don’t get lost in Dr. Google it’s not good for you.”
Fuck off Doc.
The nurse followed the doctor out and Hubby immediately wrapped his arms around me. I cried into his chest without trying to figure out what kind of tears they were. I was tired of trying to understand or judge every emotion I felt. I just cried and it felt so good.
They were tears of relief.
The baby is OK. I am OK.
Everything is OK.
Will the genetic tests be ok?