Monday, May 22, 2006

Fire drill

Monday, May 22:

This is a test of the emergency baby system. If this had been an actual emergency, you would have run out of the building, stumbling down the stairs, clutching your stomach and trying to keep your too-big pants up, screaming and hoping not to go into labor early. But this is only a test.

As soon as I get to see a doctor for my regular monthly Ob/Gyn appointment today, the fire alarm goes off. I'm sure I fairly leap off the exam table and almost hit my head on the ceiling. The doctor -- the newest one in my doctor's practice, who looks somewhat pixieish -- checks with someone in the hall and finds it is just a fire drill. Nobody flees the building. There is no teacher-like person standing in the hall to make sure everyone walks quietly single file to the nearest exit. The alarm keeps going off, loudly, during the rest of my visit.

Over the noise, the new doctor goes over my chart and confirms things are going well. The genetic counselor comes up, and even though I wasn't going to mention it, I end up telling her I'm not too hip to go to the next scheduled appointment at 30 weeks because nothing seems to be wrong. She admits -- aha! -- that no one can make me go, but it's nice to have more people looking out for me and taking care of me.

And then she mentions my "low placenta" blah blah blah . . . .

"What's that about a low placenta?" I ask.

"One of your early ultrasounds showed your placenta was lying close to your cervix."

"Hmm, no one mentioned that to me."

"Well," the pixie doctor says, riffling through the pages in my file, "let's see, yes, the placenta was low."

"I believe you, but no one told me that before."

"Oh, I'm sorry," she says. "Could be they knew that 20% of the time, the placenta migrates to where it's supposed to be, so they didn't say anything."

I don't know who this mysterious "they" is. But the doctor keeps apologizing that I wasn't told about this. Isn't that what's called placenta previa?

"So the placenta is OK now?" I ask.

The pixie doctor says everything is where it should be, so there's nothing to be worried about -- but I'm a little peeved "they" didn't tell me about the situation at the time they knew about it, especially when 20% seems like a low chance for this placenta migration. And she's so apologetic. My own little fire alarm is going off in my head.

But the real alarm in the building keeps starting and stopping, and I just want to get out of there.

Me and my migratory placenta.

But first I have to take a brown paper bag with a bottle of this bright-orange fluid for next month, when my appointment will include yet another rite of pregnancy passage: the gestational diabetes test. Drink the super-sweet stuff an hour before the appointment and get tested for blood sugar.

People who do recreational drugs supposedly get some nifty stuff to hide the evidence of drugs in their system when they have to take a drug test, like when they apply for a job. Is there something like that for pregnant women taking the glucose test to hide the sugar?!

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