Posts Tagged ‘Doctor’s Visits’
When my Mom arrived to pick me up I notice that she seemed pretty keyed up, even more than I would have expected. I was in the car for about fifteen minutes when I learned why. I had cousins in town (remember we had agreed to keep this pregnancy quiet so that my cousins struggling with infertility wouldn’t be hurt that I hadn’t chosen them) enjoying the beach for a week. My Mom had told them I was out of town for work, and late last night one of my cousins had been taken to the emergency room complaining of sharp pains. It would seem that Murphy’s Law was in full effect, fabulous!
I won’t get too off track with this whole cousin thing but my parents were spread pretty thin over the next few days trying to take care of me in the hospital and my adult cousins who were far from home and needing to be taken care of as well. I will say that it was a HUGE blessing that they were at a hospital near the beach, I was not. In the end it turned out my cousin had liver damage, the hospital here got him well enough to travel home and then later he ended up getting a liver transplant. I know that you are all caring and wonderful people and I wanted you to be completely in the loop!
I had a contraction checking Ben in at the vet, and it was amazing to see how much that expedited the process of getting him checked in! I felt a tug on my heart as they walked him away and I saw him look back at me with those big sad eyes. It was so hard to leave him because he didn’t understand what was happening, but I would be back soon. (The contraction hit just as I signed the last piece of paperwork and when I said I was in labor right then, I thought the very sweet girl that worked there was going to pass out!)
Once I got to the hospital, I was rather quickly put in a room where I changed into a gown and got hooked up to all the appropriate machinery, and now the waiting game began. My Mom’s best friend, Ruth, came to the hospital to wait with us. Occasionally a cell phone would ring, sometimes a nurse would come in and check on me to see how I was progressing, but other than that it was just a waiting game. We told stories, we laughed, but we were really just waiting. (Ruth, who I call my Aunt, had never had children so I don’t think any of us really knew what to expect.)
However these things happen in their own time. In time the dilation continued to occur, the contractions got to be more of what I expected. The Doctor came in that did my epidural and I made it a point not to look at the needle or move, even a tiny fraction of an inch, while he did what he had to do. What happened after the epidural is all kind of warm and fuzzy for me, I don’t remember feeling any pain but Dr.A was there urging me to push, while my Mom and Aunt Ruth stood on either side of me and encouraging as well! It wasn’t too long before I saw him for the first time, my almost nine pound son. He was whisked away and Ruth followed with the camera clicking away. (She had refrained from taking any labor pictures, something I am very grateful for.)
I am sure it was only moments later, but it seemed like an eternity, as I watched where the baby was and where Ruth was and waited for them to bring him to me. I was vaguely unaware of whatever mess had been made and whisked away by Dr.A and the nurses. I couldn’t tell you what my Mom was doing or saying, it seemed like everything else just fell away except for the squalling little boy that they cleaned up and then placed in my arms.
I don’t have the words to express what I felt in that moment, when he was in my arms for the first time. I checked and counted all of his fingers and his toes, and talked to him without really be aware of what I was saying. Mostly though I just held in my arms and thought he was absolutely the most beautiful perfect baby in the world. (Yes, I know all mothers think that but that’s because for all of us it’s 100% true.) I don’t know how long I held him but I was faintly aware of Aunt Ruth clicking away with the camera in the background. In time, the nurses brought me a bottle to try to feed him and I handed him off to my Mom for her to feed him. My arms and hands were shaking (I would later discover I had been given a little too much epidural as I couldn’t walk when it was time to change rooms!) but I watched like a hawk as my Mom fed, and held, and loved her beautiful grandson.
Looking back it seems like it happened really fast, like I checked into the hospital and moments later – there he was. However, I realize now it must’ve taken longer because sometime after that first bottle, when he had been passed around and hugged and loved by everyone in the room several times over, there was a knock at the door and there were Beth and John. (Enough time had passed for her to get an email and a phone call, get in touch with John, rearrange their travel plans and travel from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast!)
They entered the room tentatively, if ever there were people literally walking on eggshells, it was them! I smiled as big and brightly, as I was capable of and I held out the baby to them and said -
“I would like for you to meet your son, Michael.”
Beth immediately burst into tears as she reached her arms out to the baby with John peeking over her shoulder and Ruth, still vigilantly snapping pictures.
My weekly appointment came and went, still no dilation, and I was still on track to be induced at the end of the week. I was clearing everything off my desk at work so that at the end of the week, so I wouldn’t leave anything behind. Still dealing with pupps and finding it hard to sleep at night made the last week of pregnancy a bit of a rough ride, I was tired all day but I had too much to do to really be tired.
However, last night I woke up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, and getting back to sleep proved to be impossible. I would get comfortable and start drifting and then suddenly that position wasn’t comfortable anymore so I would shift around and go through the process all over again. (Ben was so unimpressed by my restlessness that he actually moved to the dog bed to go to sleep!) By the time morning came around, I realized that something wasn’t quite right in what I was experiencing. I suspected that I was having contractions, but I wasn’t sure. (I had never been pregnant before and they weren’t painful…not to mention that two days before I had not been dilated at all and I was pretty sure that had to happen first.) However, I called to the office and said I would be late and called my Mom and told her I was going to the Doctor’s office and why, just so she’d be on standby. (I should also probably remind you that I was adopted so my Mom couldn’t really offer me any wisdom or guidance on this.) Then I went straight to the Doctor’s office when I knew they were opened.
I checked in and explained what was going on, and I patiently sat in the waiting room reading. I was not in pain or huffing and puffing, I would describe what I was feeling as moments of discomfort at best, so I waited.
When Janet called me back and I described what was going on, she looked at my chart, and then looked at me skeptically.
“Have you eaten anything today?” She asked.
“Well no, I thought I might be in labor and I didn’t think I should eat before I gave birth.” I said, and at that moment I really wished I had taken a Lamaze class or something, should I be more prepared about what I was supposed to do?
She left me in an Exam room and came back with a doughnut. There was something about Janet that radiated peace and calm, and with my doughnut in hand I felt very at peace while I waited for Dr.A.
Dr.A blew into the exam room like a hurricane, a very professional hurricane, but a high energy swirl of a man bustled in. He had them hook me up to a machine and then did a quick exam and announced that I was three centimeters dilated and in labor!
“I bet you’ve been tired since I last saw you,” he said smiling, “your body has been working hard!”
It was funny to me that on some level, I knew I was in labor, but still to hear it out loud I was suddenly overwhelmed by all the things that I still needed to do! I had a proposal on my desk waiting for some numbers from Ken, I hadn’t done all the shopping I had planned for when I get out of the hospital. What was I going to do with Ben if they couldn’t take him at the vet’s office today? I had a thousand thoughts running through my head, and developed a plan of action while Dr.A called the hospital to let them know that I would be headed that way, and give them all the vital stats that they needed.
I left the Doctor’s office and went straight to my office. (Yes, I am ridiculous and I know it.) I called my Mom and after a few frantic minutes, she was gearing up to head out of the door. Then I turned my attention to my desk. I popped in the numbers that Ken had sent me for my last proposal, double checked my inbox for anything that required immediate attention so I could send it to someone else, and then I sent out an email to let Beth and John, Mary, and even Rob know that I was in labor and headed to the hospital! With all of that done, I made the rounds at the office and let everyone know I was headed to the hospital. My web team gave me awkward hugs and words of support, Kay gave me a big genuine hug and asked if she could come and visit me in the hospital, I told her of course! When it was time to tell Cathy, she gave me a hug and wished me well. I didn’t know if she was still doubting if I could pull off my adoption plan, but I was well past caring.
Back at my apartment, I double checked my bags and took Ben for a walk while we waited for my Mom. I wasn’t timing my contractions though I noted that they were starting to get a little bit painful, but still it seemed too minor to mention. Ben, the calmest dog ever, and I leisurely walked around the apartment complex and I wondered what would happen over the next few hours and the next few days and thought about how my life was going to change.
My heart is pounding, my head is reeling – I am being induced in two weeks, a week early.
At my doctor’s appointment, Dr.A made that concerned face and since I knew I had been staying away from the watermelon I didn’t think I had done anything to cause the concerned face. (Especially since moments earlier he was laughing at my explanation of why I smelled like peppermint.)
“Well Joy, here’s the situation,” he said, still looking serious, (have I mentioned that I’m not really a fan of the serious face?) “you aren’t dilated at all and that baby boy seems to be doing some serious growing in there. I’m concerned that the longer the wait, the less realistic it will be for you to have a vaginal delivery.”
“Ok,” I said, and I knew my voice sounded small and scared because in that moment I felt small and scared. His nurse stepped closer and patted my shoulder reassuringly.
“I think we should schedule you to be induced.”
“Ok.” I said, and he looked relieved.
What I should probably explain is that I have since learned from watching my girlfriends go through several pregnancies, is that apparently most people have a “birth plan” – I did not. Most women have strong opinions about the drugs used when they induce labor or just about the general induction process – I did not. I suppose with so much experience with women who have plans and strong opinions, Dr.A was braced for the storm and so what he got instead was probably a bit of a let down.
So Dr.A went about the business of getting me scheduled to be induced and when I left I went about the business of getting ready to go to the hospital and have a baby.
For weeks, I have had my bag and Ben’s, packed and ready to go. Ben would be staying at the vet while I was in the hospital. Knowing that Ben was prone to separation anxiety I had talked to the vet and packed a bag for Ben that included a blanket that I had on the sofa for a few weeks so I knew it smelled like me and him, so that would be comforting for him. I packed his food and a soft snuggly toy, and then on top I wrote a letter to the vet techs that would be taking care of him while I was in the hospital. I explained that while lots of pets were in their care Ben was especially important, because I was going to the hospital to have a baby and coming home without one, Ben would be the only baby I had left. I admit I know I was playing on their sympathies a little but I was worried about Ben and I knew I was going to have my hands full of emotion and worry so I was trying to lessen the worries on my plate.
I had packed my bag haphazardly, I had some things that Beth and John sent me – a book to pass the time, sugar free hard candy, etc. I also had packed a comfy sleep shirt, basic toiletries. While I’m confessing things I should probably admit that even now, mere weeks away from having the baby, I hadn’t read any books, watched anything labor and delivery related, or taken any child birth classes. I somehow missed the window on the classes and I seemed to purposefully avoid the other two for fear of, well, fear! I didn’t want to see anything terrifying or think about all the things that COULD go wrong, so I was kind of flying by the seat of my pants as I pulled my bag together.
I learned that apparently I do have some Type-A tendencies as I lined up the proposals that I had to work on between now and induction day. I told everyone in the office what was going on and I planned to be out for two weeks after the baby was born. (Obviously I didn’t need a full maternity leave.) All of my work ducks were in a row.
I emailed Beth and together we squealed in excitement across cyberspace. She made the plans that needed to be made on her end, and I knew I would see her soon!
The last duck was the hardest to get to line up, Rob. I didn’t know what to say or do about him. We hadn’t spoken since we said goodbye at the barbecue restaurant. I wondered if he wanted to know or didn’t want to know. He had already said that he didn’t plan on coming back, so should I even bother? I flipped and flopped on the issue but ultimately I cast a message out across cyberspace and across the miles, one day if my Son asks why Rob wasn’t there when he was born I wanted that to be a question Rob had to answer, I didn’t want to shoulder the guilt. I sent the email and said a prayer, and knew that really there was nothing else I could do.
As I enter the home stretch of my pregnancy, I get to go see Dr.A every week. Every week I go in, with very little to report and I always seem to be right on track for where I need to be. Dr.A has taken to teasing me that if he had more patients like me, he would be out of business, everything has been by the book. Well everything until this week. The scale has never been my friend, but even more so now that I’m pregnant. I tend to pretty much ignore that part of my visit all together, so when Dr.A walked in reviewing my chart with his eyebrows knitted together, I felt butterflies start fluttering in my stomach.
“Joy, have you had any problems this week? Felt differently? Feeling emotionally stressed perhaps?” He asked me.
“Not that I can think of,” I said. My hands were feeling a little sweaty, as he studied my face.
“Well, I can’t help but notice that you gained three pounds this week,” he said looking down at the chart, “which is more than you’ve been putting on. Did you have more sweets or eat anything unusual?”
This was just embarrassing! I thought as I scrambled through all of my meals looking for something out of the ordinary, at no point had I bought a cake and eaten it by myself.
“Nothing, well except for watermelon.” I said.
Truth be told, as it got hotter outside, I had become a little watermelon obsessed. Ever since I found out I could get a big bowl of precut watermelon at the grocery store.
“How much watermelon?” he asked, and his eyes were twinkling with laughter.
“Umm, you know those big bowls they sell at Albertson’s?” I said, he nodded “I think I’ve had three in the last week.”
“That would do it,” he said chuckling.
“I thought fruit was healthy?”
“Well some fruit is more healthy than the others.”
I couldn’t decide if I wanted to laugh or cry. I had been trying so hard to make sure I had a healthy pregnancy and now I had poisoned myself with watermelon. Really, I was so proud that I had resisted the urge to buy ice cream or popsicles. It was really bothering me.
“Don’t beat yourself up about it,” Janet, Dr.A’s nurse said as she squeezed my hand reassuringly before I got off the table, “it will be just fine, your son is fine.”
“I just feel so stupid,” I said sheepishly. Again she smiled at me and patted my hand.
I guess in pregnancy, you don’t really cross the finish line until the baby is born and in your arms. Something I just sort of take for granted since everything has been going so smoothly. I contemplated that, the whole car ride to the office. The health of my baby was really important to me, I had been trying to make sure that while I was carrying him I was giving him everything he needed to be healthy and strong and here I was drowning the poor kid in watermelon! When I got to my office, I had resolved that I wouldn’t buy anymore of the big watermelon bowls until after my son was born.
Imagine my surprise when Ken walked into my office a few minutes after I got there with a big smile on his face and a parfait sized cup of watermelon!
“We noticed that you seemed to be craving watermelon, so when Josh went out to grab some breakfast, he picked this up for you.”
I thanked Ken but I couldn’t help but laugh as he handed me the cup. I guess my steely resolve on watermelon would have to wait until tomorrow.
“Dr.A, when do I get to have an ultrasound?” I asked at the end of my visit. He had just told me that things were good as we were entering the home stretch.
“You mean you haven’t had one yet?” he asked, as he began flipping through my chart. I shook my head in response. I could tell by his flustered reaction that some oversight had happened. However, it was quickly resolved and as I checked out – I had two appointment cards in hand, one for my next appointment and one for my ultrasound.
I was so excited that I called Rob, thinking surely he would share my excitement and be ready to at least see if the baby was a boy or a girl. I am too happy and excited long to dwell on the details of that phone conversation, but I will say that Rob did not share my excitement and in fact said that he would come with me “if his work schedule allowed” but he wasn’t going to ask for time off or anything like that. Of course, we quarreled over this but in the end he was not off work and I was probably better off without him. (Towards the end of this journey I’ve tried to make this my mantra, I am better off without him.)
I got to the doctor’s office twenty minutes early on the day of the ultrasound, and I could already see a difference in the waiting room. Normally the OB GYN office is mostly just women. (Frankly since Dr.A has his pregnancy check in’s scheduled in clusters normally it’s just pregnant women.) However on ultrasound day – there were couples. I had a book open, one of the Harry Potter books, but I was peeking over the top at the couples.
More than once I had to blink tears away, when a man touched a pregnant belly or a couple had their heads close together whispering excitedly. The snatches of conversation I was able to catch seemed to indicate that names were being debated, playful arguments about “I know it’s a boy” or “I know it’s a girl” and never in my whole pregnancy did I feel more alone than I did at that moment, but I also promised myself that one day I would be back here, with someone to share my excitement.
My name was called and as I followed the nurse, she looked at the Harry Potter book in my hands and smiled, “you’re going to be a great mother,” she said.
“I will,” I said but I silently added “someday.”
With eyes intent on the screen while the ultrasound tech moved the instrument over my belly, I couldn’t tell what anything was at first. There was white objects that seemed to emerge out of the darkness but they were all completely unidentifiable. However, then as clear as day I saw an arm and at the end of that arm I saw a little fist with his thumb sticking up. Like the baby was giving me a “thumbs up” sign. The ultrasound technician laughed, as she explained what I was looking at (even though I could tell) she printed out the picture.
She moved the instrument around some more, and showed me a profile picture, took some measurements, and made comments about how good the spine look, how the measurements are right on track. Then she asked the million dollar question – “do you want to know the sex?”
“Yes,” I said smiling a bright excited smile. (Beth and John did not want to know but I was dying to know.)
“It’s a boy,” she said and she pointed out his “boy parts.”
A boy! Finally no longer just “a baby” – I was having a boy and I couldn’t wait to hold him in my arms and meet him.