Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Whole New World

The waiting area at my new obstetrician's office was just as I'd imagined. There was some comfort in the fact that I could've been just another girl who threw out the birth control and peed on a stick after a carefree night. Waiting at the RE's office always felt like wearing a "Reproductively Challenged" sign on my forehead (I routinely imagined turning to the woman sitting next to me and asking, "What are you in for?"). So it was oddly comforting, in a way, to feel like just another pregnant lady doing what pregnant ladies do as I sat in this new waiting room.

Still, I felt like somewhat of an imposter, like an actress playing a different version of myself. I felt that once I got back to the exam rooms, at any point they would find me out – they would find something wrong, take away my newly bestowed pregnant girl credentials and send me running back downstairs to the RE clinic.

That's not what happened. Instead, my husband and I got called back for an initial consult with a nurse. She went over our medical histories and answered some questions about the practice. They then took at least half my blood supply, had me pee in a cup (first complaint to the OB's office: Could you please buy cups that are appropriately sized for peeing into? While urinating in the direction of one's hand, one prefers to be holding something larger than a tiny toy tea-party sized cup in said hand) and sent me back to the waiting room to wait for the doctor.

By the time we got called back to an exam room, I was worried about a few things. First, the nurse had said that typically an ultrasound is not given at that point – most patients wait until the integrated screening (NT scan/bloodwork) at 12 weeks. This information seemed unfathomable. Most women just walk in and walk out, taking brochures on pregnancy and talking about due dates without confirming that the pregnancy is, in fact, still going? I didn't yet know how to do it, but I knew I had to somehow convince them to give me one. Second, I worried that I wouldn't like my doctor. How could anyone live up to the ridiculously high standards set by my RE? And third, I worried that she wouldn't like me. Could she handle the bundle of nerves and barrage of questions that are my trademark?

Turns out (as with most things), I could've saved all that nervous energy. The doctor came in and, though I could tell she was a bit frazzled (a patient was in labor and she had to take a page in the middle of our conversation), she never made me feel rushed while I peppered her with my questions, many of them aimed at taking her pulse and sussing out her general philosophy (she seems to be "middle of the road" – cautious but not alarmist). Then she said that she knew I wanted an ultrasound, but that the techs were already gone for the day. I thought it would end there, and was mentally formulating how we might get around the absence of the people who do ultrasounds and still have an ultrasound when she added, I may be able to do a quick scan if you're willing to wait. I told her I would wait all night.

As she squeezed goop on my belly (ps I hate that word. If anyone has a better word for belly, please let me know ASAP. To me it's as irritating as "panties" and I hate to think about using it for the next 7 months.), she told me that when her friends get pregnant, they beg her to sneak them in for a quick scan between their appointments, which made me feel less like someone who needed unusual hand-holding and more like just another worried mom. And then suddenly, there it was on the screen (which, in this ultrasound room, is very conveniently positioned on the wall so you can actually see what's going on): a tiny little baby shape with that telltale frantic flicker. As if on cue, s/he did a little wiggle. A tiny, developing baby that is inside of me can move.

All of the above was confirmed on Friday when I went back in. I noticed a lot of pressure and pain on my right side, where my RE's office had told me a residual cyst was lingering. Thoughts of that cyst suddenly bursting and harming the baby were enough to overcome my desire to stay quiet – to avoid being "that patient" for the next few weeks until my integrated screening at 12 weeks. It was far easier than I thought to get an invitation to come in for a look, and though I knew everything was probably fine, how could I pass it up? I was there for nearly two hours, but I got another look at the kiddo (this time I got pictures) and reassurance that my ovary was not going to explode. What could be better?

Something dawned on me as I drove home on Friday. I seem to be the only one still worried at this point. My RE is clearly not – she gave me a due date and sent me on my way. My new OB (who was even better on Friday) knew the baby's heart was still beating before she even looked. My husband – well, my husband has never been worried (he's not the type). Yet I soldier on, an army of one in these mental battles against unforeseen (and unrealized) threats and complications.

I'm the only one still worried, and it's beginning to feel like lonely work. Perhaps it's time to consider a sabbatical.


histmedphd said...

Sabbaticals are always good. Relax. Enjoy the morning sickness or whatever other symptoms you may have developed over the past few weeks.

BTW, I use tummy with my girls because that's what they say. I use stomach with adults. I know it's not my stomach per se, but as long as people unrelated to me get the point when I glare at them and say, "No, please don't touch my stomach," it's all good.


Anonymous said...

I hope you're able to take a sabbatical. And if you can, please detail the process for the rest of us habitual worriers, eh? Seriously, so glad that everything's looking so good and that you like your new OB. You're an inspiration to us all!

Amanda said...

I'm sure you won't be able to completely give up the worry, but for now you should probably try to focus on the positive and enjoy as much of it as you can. My mantra is "No news is good news" at this point. It sounds like your OB is pretty good and that's great.

I'm was kinda surprised they did an abdominal u/s at this stage. I didn't figure those came until later.

Oh, and I always wanted to ask other people in the RE waiting room what they are in there for. It always seems like a good idea to talk to the other patients, but completely socially unacceptable. Just me and my blogger mentality.

kirke said...

I know exactly what you mean! I'm the only one worried at this point, but yet I can't give it up. I feel if I relax, if I don't remain vigilant that's when something will happen :) My husband says all my worrying is starting to exhaust fact he's taking a nap.

I'm so happy to hear about your OB. She sounds perfect!

Ashley said...

You seem to always be reading my mind;) Like you are my long lost twin or something!! Plus you are a wonderful writer;) My husband has never been worried either..even when I was worried to death because of the blood!! I have that same fear when I go to the OB's office. I want them to give me an mom said they probably won't....SCARY!! How do they expect me to make it without weekly ultrasounds;) I think a sabbitacal would be great...if you figure out how to take one please let me know!! I'm so excited that your appointment went well!! I can't believe that we are moving into the 10th week...just think we are almost out of the 1st trimester!!! I hope my appointment goes as well on Wed. PS. what did you come up with for the hair situation?? Did you ask the OB?? Anyway..I hope you have a fabulous weekend!!

JamieD said...

It's a good sign when the professionals aren't worried!

I remember feeling like an imposter as well, sitting in the waiting room of my OB's office. You'll be happy to know the feeling doesn't last too long. Enjoy!

Dianne said...


Michelle said...

I know it is hard to let go of the worry. I hope that you are able to soon and you can start enjoying. It sounds like you OB is great. I am glad she did an ultrasound for you. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you got an ultrasound. Your OB sounds great! And I'm glad that your ovary is not exploding.

Being the worrier certainly does take a lot of energy. I feel like I worry enough for ten people. As time goes on and milestones pass, I think you will worry less and less. Congratulations on your first OB appointment!

Astrid said...

I am dreading my next pregnancy because of the imposter syndrome. I'm SO glad to hear things are going well for you though! Congratulations, try to enjoy it :)

Molly said...

I've come over here from Stirrup Queens' blogroll, and I wanted to say CONGRATS! Your story gives me hope (I was diagnosed with PCOS a year ago, we haven't started trying quite yet, but talking about it).

- Molly

Heather said...

Sounds like a great OB. I love that she went ahead and scanned you, instead of wasting time explaining why you don't need to be worrying. Hang in there. You'll feel better about the pregnancy soon. It just takes time.

Michelle said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! Hope it is a great one!