Wednesday, January 25:
The last time I had a checkup with my OB/GYN, the waiting room was overflowing with women. I mean, there wasn’t even room to sit down. Today, it’s a ghost town.
The FBI now has a face. It’s not smiling, no surprise.
“Is this your first prenatal visit?”
“No,” I say, “I’ve been here before. I’m a patient. I have the same insurance, address and everything.”
“But this is your first prenatal visit?”
“I’m here to find out if I’m pregnant.”
We go back and forth like this until another agent appears.
“Do we have a problem here?” she asks. I swear I’m not making this up.
“Look, I don’t know your terminology,” I say. “I’m here to find out if I’m pregnant.”
“So this is your first prenatal visit.”
Like I said, I want to scream.
Now, if there’s something I hate to do, it’s fill out forms. Even though my doctor has all of my information up to date, because this is my first prenatal visit
, I have to fill out the same paperwork plus some, which goes in a separate file from my regular one. What a pain in the ass. (Forgive me, God.)
On top of my contact information (on two or three separate forms), insurance information, health history and other goodies my doctor all has, I get a special form from the state asking questions like:
Do you go to bed hungry?
Do you ever fear for your safety?
What education level did you attain?
This is part of why I hate forms. Yes, sometimes, I recall being hungry but being too tired to do anything about it -- but I had already eaten a nice dinner. Yes, sometimes I fear for my safety -- who doesn’t? Why does my education level matter -- can only smart people have children?
Later, I find out the state won’t do anything with my form. What a @#*! waste of my time! Waste of my taxpayer money, too.
I turn the stupid forms back in and wait. I’m too tense. I tell myself to relax despite my reception from the FBI. It’s an hour before I get called. Even though the office is a ghost town.
The first person I see is a nurse with my mother’s name. She asks me if I have already peed in the cup. I tell her no one told me to. She looks at my file. Once again, I say I am there to find out if I’m pregnant.
Apparently, the FBI didn’t tell her this vital information.
Now it’s a whole different ball game.
So I get to pee in a cup. I get weighed (which I hate -- I don’t keep track of my weight because I don’t care about numbers, only how my clothes feel) and heighted (hey, it should be a word). I answer a half-hour of questions about my medical history, family medical problems, everything down to when I broke a bone in a car crash. I happen to mention I might -- might -- be a tiny bit Native American, and the nurse writes this down with interest. She has no problem answering my questions and seems very on the ball. I like her. I tell her I don’t know anything. Anything. This doesn’t bother her.
Now I meet the nurse practitioner, who is like a nurse plus. She is a mature woman, but not stuffy at all, and I like her, too. She examines me and I’m instantly aware of a little device on wheels that turns out to be an ultrasound machine.
This might be too much information, but apparently the only way to do an ultrasound this early is to stick a wand inside you. The screen looks like static to me, but the nurse practitioner finds something, and shows me. Something like a dark kidney shape. There’s a little cursor blinking rapidly. It’s the heart, she says.
I cry just one tear.
She prints out a couple different angles and gives them to me. Souvenirs.
“My husband is going to be so jealous he wasn’t here for this,” I say.
Using some kind of little wheel, the nurse practitioner estimates the due date at Aug. 31.
“No!” I say. “It can’t be in August.”
“Because there’s already a kid in the family -- everybody’s favorite kid -- with an August birthday.” I have a sudden, crashing daymare of my child always competing with this kid -- a nephew, the first grandchild in the family -- and possibly being required to share a birthday party with him. Blond, blue-eyed, beautiful, a kid who seemingly can do no wrong when the family gets together. I just don’t want any comparisons.
“You know babies come whenever they come,” the nurse practitioner said, smiling.
“I know,” I lament. “But it just can’t be August. I thought it might be more like Sept. 11.” Come on, I was the one there for the conception, wasn’t I?
“OK,” she says. “We’ll put down Sept. 1.” She writes in a file. “It’s official, Sept. 1.”
Now I get my blood drawn. I go to the lab area of the office. I’ve never been here before. The lab tech reminds me of Marisa Tomei. I cannot watch, so I look around the room. She draws blood for 11 -- 11! -- different vials.
“Congratulations,” she says when it’s over.
She’s the only one to say that to me that day. Actually, the first person, ever.
The nurse with my mother’s name appears with a goody bag. It’s full of pregnancy magazines, free samples and prenatal vitamins. The bag weighs 10 pounds. I tell her about the vitamins making me sick. She says to try these new ones.
She also tells me to set up my next appointment in one month, and also another one with a genetic counselor the office recommends.
See, I’m over that special age of 35. Apparently, I’m old and high risk.
The FBI aren’t pleasant when I make my appointment. They also refute the nurse’s direction for me to make an appointment with the genetic counselor, telling me instead that someone will call me for an appointment later. Whatever. I’m just glad to be outta there.
When I go home, I put one of the ultrasound printouts in a frame that’s sitting empty on a shelf, a gift from last year some time. Then I put it in a leftover gift bag for my husband.
He puts the frame on the nightstand with the sunflower seed.