Posts Tagged ‘Doctors’
I felt a little bit like I was having an out of body experience in those first few moments after Beth and John arrived. They were holding Michael, looking at him, falling in love with him and my Mom and Ruth were telling the story of his arrival, the parts that they had missed. I am sure that I participated in the conversation but to be honest, at that point between the labor and all the emotions of the day, I was exhausted. I remember taking a little bit of teasing for going to work while I was in labor, but mostly I just remember feeling that there was very much a glow of warmth and love in the room. However it wasn’t long before nurses arrived, it was time for Michael to go to the nursery for some tests and for me to be moved out of a labor and delivery room and into another room. (It was at that point that they realized I was still pretty numb from the waist down.)
Beth and John left to go check in their hotel, my Mom had to leave to go check on my cousins, and Ruth disappeared as well so suddenly I was tucked into a room where I promptly fell asleep. I woke up from my nap to Ruth coming in my room with a big box! Inside was a beautiful and very modest night gown. (I guess my big comfy night shirt was probably not the best item for receiving visitors.) They brought Michael into my room around that time, and I held him and gave him a bottle while Ruth and I talked. She has known me since I was ten days old, and been there for all of my important milestones, but she said she had never been as proud of me or as afraid for me, as she was now. She was happy to meet Beth and John, and she knew I was doing the right thing, but she worried about the toll losing my son would take on me.I put on a brave face and tried my best to reassure her, but holding Michael in my arms I was aware that the deadline for saying goodbye to him was creeping closer. I knew that what was coming was not going to be easy, but I wasn’t sure when it would hit me.
That night and the next day passed in a blur. A delicate dance began as Beth and John tried very hard not to make me feel pushed off to the side, and to give me time with Michael, but they also wanted to be close to their new son. I was touched at the number of people who came up to the hospital to see me. I woke up early in the morning to Uncle Jerry sitting in the rocking chair beside my bed. He showed me a picture of his son, that he had relinquished his rights too, and advised me that until Rob and I made some sort of peace I would have a hard time moving forward. Cathy and Kay came up to see me and told me how beautiful (and how BIG) Michael was. Girlfriends buzzed in and out. Even Doctor A’s nurse Janet came up to see me.
The hardest visit was when my Dad came to the hospital. He had really struggled with my pregnancy, knowing what was coming. I think he had tried to hold Michael at a distance to keep from getting too attached. He was only there for a short time, long enough to hold Michael in his arms, and then he had to leave. He mumbled something about my cousins who was being discharged that day. When he left, I cried. For all the tears he had that he had been unable to shed, I cried for him, for the grandson he had said hello and goodbye to that day.
That night I was told that I couldn’t take my pain medicine as I needed to be in a completely clear mental state for the paperwork I had to sign the next day. (At that time the baby had to be so many hours old before you could technically terminate your parental rights, I’m sure like all laws that varies from state to state as well.) I didn’t think that stopping to take my pain meds was going to be a big deal, after all I was taking Tylenol! However, I woke up in the middle of the night and realized that I had definitely had an 8.8 pound baby and that was going to be something that would not heal right away! (It’s a dull achy kind of pain but it was enough that I wished I had my prescription strength Tylenol.) However, I knew that the moment I dreaded the most was on the horizon, and even Tylenol couldn’t dull that pain for me, so there was nothing to do but rest and wait for the Attorney to arrive so the papers could be signed.
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.
I cannot tell a lie, visits to the ob/gyn are my least favorite doctors visits – they are horribly uncomfortable, so I’m going to gloss over the gory details. My first OB visit went much like every GYN visit I’ve every had, after I endured the indignity of being weighed “in public” (okay in public means by the nurses station where no one is really paying attention but the number is always higher than I think it’s going to be.) I was put into the stirrups where I closed my eyes and tried to send my mind some place more exotic.
The new aspect was that instead of leaving at that point, I was taken to the doctor’s office where I sat patiently waiting for him. I looked at the pictures of the doctor and his beautiful wife and children. He had warm kind eyes and I noticed that his children seemed to have inherited his warm kind eyes. (As someone that is adopted I am always fascinated looking at how biological parents and children are similar.) The doctor bustled in with my file, and patted my shoulder as he passed me on his way to his desk.
“You’re into your second trimester,” he said “and I would say your due date is June 11. We need to get you scheduled for an ultra sound. Are you taking any prenatal vitamins?”
“Over the counter ones,” I responded.
“I’m going to give you some samples of prescription prenatal vitamins,” he paused and flipped through some of the pages in my file.
“You are placing your child for adoption?” he asked, looking up at me.
“Yes,” I said simply.
“I want you to know that I applaud you in your decision, and my staff and I will do whatever we can to support you.”
I opened my mouth to answer him, and I thought I squeaked out a thanks, but eyes started to fill with tears at this unexpected statement. I was moved beyond words.
“We’ll work out the financial arrangements with your attorney, please don’t worry about anything on that front. Focus on taking care of yourself and the baby.”
He came around the desk and handed me my paperwork to take to checkout and patted my shoulder as he passed again. Graciously, leaving me with a moment to compose myself before I left his office.
Perhaps it was my imagination but I felt a genuine warmth from his staff as I checked out and made my appointment for the next month.
Back at work, I talked to the receptionist about blocking out my doctor’s appointment for next month. While we were chatting I noticed that Cathy and her business partner Charlie were out of the office for the afternoon. I still felt rattled by Cathy’s reaction to my news but I knew that I was not going to be able to hide my pregnancy for long so it was time to bite the bullet and tell my coworkers.
I supervised our art department, there were three guys in there. Ken who was the team leader and two years older than me and then Tim and Josh who were both much younger. I walked back into their office and as is often the case with creative people there was some nerf ball rolling across the floor. I glanced at the job board, frowning – a common occurrence in that office, but in fact I was buying time, trying to find the words.
“Guys, there’s something I need to tell you.” I said as I turned to face them.
The radio was turned down, heads popped up from the back cubicles kind of like prairie dogs popping out of holes and Ken leaned around his monitor to look at me.
“I’m pregnant and since Rob and I are hardly able to be in the same room together, we obviously can’t parent a child together, so I’m placing the child for adoption.”
At this point I didn’t think I had any expectations because everyone I had shared this news with had reacted so differently, but I was surprised again by the reaction.
“Thank God,” Ken said to me and then he turned to Josh and Tim. “see I told you there was a logical reason.”
“A logical reason?” I asked, puzzled.
“Yea, for all the throwing up,” Tim said with a slight tone of exasperation as though it should’ve been obvious what they were talking about. Ken and Josh nodded in agreement. “we were worried you were developing an eating disorder.”
“But you didn’t seem to be losing weight,” Ken said with a solemn expression and a twinkle of mischief in his eyes.
My cheeks colored slightly, as I didn’t realize that everyone knew I was throwing up but of course, the walls were thin and the bathroom was rather centrally located so I imagine I had been heard in there more than once.
If you had told me that those three men that I so often thought of as “man children” with all of the toys in the office, late night movies, and long talks about video games would have taken the news so in stride I would’ve been flabbergasted. However, there was a slight shift, as they took me under their wings and tried to protect me. In the days that followed they learned that french fries didn’t make me sick, and so they often brought me some back when they ran to get lunch whether I asked for them or not. I was also presented with ginger ale and ginger candy as someone had read some article that told them ginger was good for upset stomachs. There was, of course, teasing now – after a bout of morning sickness I was told that it was the watery eyes that made pregnant woman seem to glow, but I was touched by their kindness more than I was harassed by their humor.
There was still a coolness that I couldn’t explain between Cathy and myself, but I refused to settle on it for any length of time. After all I was under the advice of my doctor to focus on myself and my baby and the blessings of friendship were far outweighing the small bumps in the road I had encountered and I knew I would still encounter.