Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fried Chicken and Babies

I've been a patient at my gynecology practice for 2 years. It's primarily a midwifery practice with some backup doctors around. I liked being seen by a nurse midwife because it's a much more personal and less clinical experience than those I've had with doctors in the past. Every time I went for an annual exam, I saw a different person, which also never bothered me, although it is a little bizarre to exchange first meeting pleasantries with someone who is about to root around in your lady bits.

Frank and I went there together a few weeks ago for my first prenatal appointment and it's no exaggeration to say the whole experience was a nightmare.

My appointment was in the morning, when the office was just opening. It's a large practice and the waiting room was packed with pregos. The lady behind the desk was already yelling at people everyone who came through the door to sign in. When we were finally called back to the exam room, the very nice nurse/medical technician/Lincoln Tech graduate had the wrong codes on the form explaining why I was there. Codes that she kept repeating to me as if I knew what she was talking about. She then said she had to go find out why I was mislabeled or whatever and she would "be right back". We're left alone in the room for about 20 minutes. I fell asleep on the table and Frank tried really hard to keep his head from exploding.

Then a little old lady walks in and introduces herself as the midwife and asks me how my other baby is doing. I tell her I don't have any other babies. She then asks if I had the baby somewhere else and that's why she doesn't have it on the chart. Again I tell her that I've never had a baby before, but I'm working on one right now. She finally gets the message and moves on to asking us what we expect for this pregnancy and what kind of birth we want to have. I told her we have no plan, none of this was the plan, we're totally shell shocked here. She asks why we didn't consider abortion.

Are you kidding me lady?! We're both sitting here, wondering when the world turned upside down, and you as my health care provider ask me why I haven't considered abortion? What type of shit is that? I don't need any effing reverse psychology where you reveal to us that we've been ready all along! This isn't an after school special!

I calmly responded that we're over 30, we've been married for over 5 years, and while this wasn't the plan, we can handle it. Abortion isn't for us.

She then spent the next half hour counseling us on how we can do this. She just talked and talked and talked. Finally, she got around to asking some medical questions about family histories and then said she had to go see how many people were waiting to see me because I wasn't really scheduled for a prenatal visit. I hadn't even taken my pants off yet! Ten minutes later she comes back and says she does have to go but she'll examine me first. She uses some stupid little external Doppler stethoscope to look for a heartbeat and finds none. She actually examines me and tells us "that's about an 8 week uterus". She writes a prescription for prenatal vitamins, tells me to make another appointment in 4 weeks, and sends me down the street for some blood work.

Not exactly the experience I was expecting or looking for in my first visit. When we left the place, Frank very gently suggested that perhaps we should consider changing doctors. Like, getting an actual doctor. He said he was pretty sure that place was selling fried chicken out of the back office. I was surprised to find myself wanting a more clinical experience. So we made an appointment with the doctor who delivered Frank's son. He has his own practice and we'll see him every time we go. And he went to medical school.

Next on my list; the hospital. I am making appointments and touring some facilities because I am not sharing my room with some damn crackhead.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Over the last few days I've become gripped with overwhelming, probably irrational, fear. When I first began to suspect I was pregnant and right after I found out, I was knocked out by some pretty bad nausea and the exhaustion was paralyzing. Two weeks later, the nausea is just about gone, except for an occasional wave, and the exhaustion seems to be manageable. All of which makes me terrified that the hormones are decreasing because I'm about to miscarry.

The rational explanation of course is that I'm adjusting to the hormones and nearing the end of my first trimester so everything is leveling out. If I were a little more objective I would realize that the emotional nuttiness is a symptom (seriously, the little girl dancing with the Phillie Phanatic made me cry the other day), as is wanting to fall asleep while driving and the weird cravings for peaches and my mom's chicken soup (not together, that would be gross).

Yet the fear still grips me. I could not fall asleep last night because I was so scared. I'm not having any miscarriage signs. No cramping, no bleeding, no back pain. Nothing. In fact, things seem to be progressing pretty smoothly. I can feel my muscles stretching and if I press on my belly I can feel the hard, grapefruit sized lump that I'm guessing is my uterus. There is no real justification for being this scared. My brain keeps reminding me that my mom had a miscarriage with her first pregnancy, but then she had 7 perfectly healthy kids. None of the other women in my immediate family have ever miscarried, including my own sister. There's no real family history.

I think part of it is how fast everything is happening. I have no time to catch my breath or wrap my mind around how quickly my life is changing. We're going to buy a house and move, I may have to change jobs, I'm going to own a person and be responsible for keeping him or her alive. Everything about my life is going to change in the next few months and the catalyst for all that change is completely beyond my control. This is a lot and I don't have the emotional fortitude to handle it so the freaking out continues.

It's also quite surreal to know that I'm pregnant but not see any real evidence. It's hard to process a tiny (now) human looking person growing inside my own body. Without any outward evidence it's like it's not really happening.

For all of you wanting gory details:

I don't look knocked up. My pants don't fit anymore but it just looks like I've been eating too much pizza and drinking too much beer. I now keep my pants closed with a hair tie looped through the button hole and around the button. My friend gave me a really awesome gift that I tried out yesterday and I have to say, it's a genius invention. I wish I knew about this years ago, for when my pants didn't fit just cause I really did eat too much pizza and drank too much beer.

My boobs are getting bigger, which is truly frightening. I got measured for new bras right before I got pregnant (actually, the week I got pregnant I'm pretty sure) and I was in between two cup sizes. I'm glad I went with the larger size. I have a couple more weeks in those and then I think I'll have to move on up again. I may choke on my own cleavage by the time this is all over.

As for Chicken Dinner:

He's barely the size of a kumquat — a little over an inch or so long, crown to bottom — and weighs less than a quarter of an ounce. This is the beginning of the so-called fetal period, a time when the tissues and organs in his body rapidly grow and mature.He's swallowing fluid and kicking up a storm. Vital organs — including his kidneys, intestines, brain, and liver (now making red blood cells in place of the disappearing yolk sac) — are in place and starting to function. Tiny nails are forming on fingers and toes (no more webbing) and peach-fuzz hair is beginning to grow on tender skin. In other developments: baby's limbs can bend now. His hands are flexed at the wrist and meet over his heart, and his feet may be long enough to meet in front of his body. The outline of his spine is clearly visible through translucent skin, and spinal nerves are beginning to stretch out from his spinal cord. Baby's forehead temporarily bulges with his developing brain and sits very high on his head, which measures half the length of his body. From crown to rump, he's about 1 1/4 inches long.

I'll get some belly pictures going soon. Right now there's not much to see.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Universe is a Comedian

My husband and I were so smug and self satisfied. "We're never having kids!" we declared. We loved our little life with our dog and our cat and our spur of the moment vacations and crazy work schedules. We never wanted anything to change. It's not that we didn't like kids. We just liked the kind that went home with their real parents after we were done playing with them. We didn't want to own any personally.

That was the excellent and well executed plan we had been following for over 5 years of marriage. Excellent and well executed until last week, that is, because last week two ept's told me I was pregnant. Holy crap. Not even wait two minutes for the line to appear pregnant, either. Nope. I got a full on, instantaneous, screamingly positive test. Twice. Two days later a grandmother of a midwife told us I was 8 weeks along.

That's when the freaking out really began.

We're not ready says my brain and Frank's brain. We don't own a house, my job is now in jeopardy, THIS WAS NOT THE PLAN! We worried for a couple of days. Then we decided that it was all going to be ok and that we would be happy and excited instead of scared to death and freaked out.

So here we are, expecting the thing we never expected: a baby.

I hope to document my physical and emotional changes as this pregnancy progresses. It should be an interesting ride.