Last week, I tried to go to my first OB appointment. I called and asked for an appointment with the same midwife who cared for me with my last pregnancy. Reason for the appointment? they asked. I'm pregnant, I said. First appointment? they asked. Yes, I said. They gave me a date and time.
I went. The midwife wasn't there. They had scheduled me for a paperwork appointment. First day of last period? How many pregnancies? How many births? Any complications? Any allergies? Planned pregnancy? How do you feel about it?
I was mad - not about the pregnancy...about the appointment. Had the appointment-person told me she was doing this I would have asked to do both the paperwork and actual exams on the same day. I do need to find childcare for five children each time I go.
Today I did see my midwife. She asked if it was okay if a nursing student did my exam. I was really pretty happy with this. My midwife happens to be my next door neighbor - ah, army living! She is very professional, but still, living next door to the woman who does your pap smear is a bit...awkward. She spoke with me long enough to ask me when I intended to go down and get my blood drawn, since the paperwork lady put in my referral to the lab, and I didn't go. I hemmed, hawed, dodged and evaded answering as best as I could and basically put the discussion off until next time. I have no intention of having my blood drawn before I move to Kansas. I'm a difficult patient. And a big wimp. I don't give up my blood easily. I know I need to have an antibody screen in July, so I'd rather get ALL bloodwork done at once.
The nursing student was a really nice lady. She had to ask me all those obligatory questions: I can't get mad at her for them. There's a test called the AFP Screen...? No, thank you, I said. Because of your...age...you could go to Bethesda for a level 2 ultrasound and have an amnio if you'd like...? No, thank you, I said. One happy moment was when she was listening to my heart and observed that I obviously exercise - do you run? she asked. As a matter of fact, I do, I said.
And then: You're too far along to use an ultrasound for dating the pregnancy (I don't need to have the pregnancy dated, I thought), but if you'd like to have a peek at the baby, we could do that...? No, thank you, I said. For that, I got raised eyebrows. I do want to see the baby, actually, but I had the kids with a friend, I would have to walk down the hall to another room, it would take more time...and I'm not 100% sure that ultrasounds are perfectly safe and don't want to frivolously subject my child to them...did I mention that besides being a difficult patient, I am a firm believer in a minimalistic approach to healthcare? Sick people go to the doctor, you know. Healthy people stay away from doctors and their technologies. It's just a theory...
But finally, finally, we listened to the very strong heartbeat, and that was enough. Yes, those flutters I feel are tiny kicks and not the gurgling of digestive juices. Yes, that hard lump I feel when I lie back and press on my stomach is a growing baby. Soon that lump will be even bigger, and I'll be forced to dig the maternity clothes out of the bin. And soon the kicks will be stronger and my children will share in my excitement that comes from actually feeling a tiny new life develop in the womb.
And sooner than I think, I'll be waiting, probably just as impatiently as Cris, for that tiny new life to join us here in this world.