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Doctor Doctor, Give Me a Snooze…

After our weeklong hiatus in the desert, we’ve returned to Salt City and within days found ourselves back at the OBGYN for another baby appointment. In the end, it proved to be one of our least exciting visits to the baby doctor so far, mainly because we didn’t get any “ultrasound” love. Having had two already, I guess we just expected to see it every time we went, which is apparently not the case. We arrived early, as usual, and after the standard stint in the waiting room, we were called back into “Examination Two.”

We started the visit with a nurse who asked us a series of questions we hadn’t heard before, such as “Does your family have a history of birth defects,” or “Do either of you have genital herpes?”, and our favorite “Are you at increased risk for the Fifth Disease?” We’re not entirely sure what that particular disease is, or the other four that apparently precede it. Maybe it’s a staging thing (“What’s wrong with your face? Oh, it’s just Third disease – I’m hoping it will increment soon.”) After dutifully recording our answers, she disappeared and left us to ourselves for a good half an hour.

In my experience, there’s always a sequence you follow when sitting in an examination room waiting for the doctor. First off, you look around at all the signs and gadgets that are in the room. In a regular doctor’s office, this may include fiddling with the blood pressure monitor, or chomping down on a tongue depressor, or possibly looking in the biohazard trashcan (something I don’t recommend). It’s even more fascinating in an OBGYN’s office, especially being a man. I have fun pointing at various medieval looking devices and asking questions like “Where do they insert THAT?” or “Is that…? Eww.” After a few minutes of that, I usually page through the ancient health magazines (“Amazing Medical Breakthrough Sweeping Colonies: Blood Letting Deemed ‘Miracle Cure'”), and then flip through the informational pamphlets (“Speculums and You”). After that, the rest of the time is spent in uncomfortable silence as you stare at that clock, with every noise you hear in the hall giving you that false hope that the someone might remember that you are still in here, waiting. Finally, when you’ve just about given up and lie back on the exam table, they invariably walk in, and you sit up quickly, embarrassed.

Once the doctor arrived, she quickly went over my wife’s blood test results. Gonorrhea? Negative. AIDS? Negative. Hmm, the syphilis test appears blank. Let me go check on that. Wait, there it is. Negative. Bloodworms? Negative.

Then she spent a little time going over the “pregnancy diet.” Here is the gist of it: you can basically eat nothing that tastes good, and you need to eat more of it than you usually would. For example, she said to avoid fast food, processed food, unpasteurized food, booze and sweets. Soylent green is apparently ok (lots of protein), but Brie is not (unpasteurized). Ham off the bone is ok (not processed), while SPAM should be avoided. Eating fire is ok (high in calories) but eating glass is to be avoided (could cause stomach discomfort). We decided that we will be diligent and follow these rules to a fault. Or at least she will. I will balance the equation by eating and drinking all the things that she cannot. I’m willing to take this sacrifice. Pass the booze, please.

Next, the doctor brought up a series of optional prenatal tests that can be done to determine some birth defects reasonably early on. One test was for cystic fibrosis, another was for chromosomal disorders, and there was another one but I can’t remember what it was for. One of the tests was essentially a blood test to determine whether she or me are carriers, which could essentially rule out the possibility but not say for certain whether the fetus had it or not. Another of the tests was a detailed ultrasound with a specialized “sonographer,” who I envision looks like some scrawny kid with thick glasses and large headphones in a submarine staring at a screen of green fuzz and yelling things like “Contact! 67 degrees starboard!”

It is entirely up to us whether we want to take these extra tests. We discussed it somewhat, but the doctor pointed out that unless there is a thought of terminating the pregnancy, or wanting to “be prepared” in case of the worst, there really isn’t any reason to take the tests other than peace of mind. I think we both agree that we intend to carry to term regardless, and so I’m pretty sure we are going to skip this round of tests. Plus, the possibility that I will have to give blood is a definite deterrent – I generally only spill my blood when honor dictates it, for example in duels and for paternity tests.

Finally, the doctor had Kim lie down, smothered her stomach in some weird blue goop, and then hooked up a karoake machine to it. The baby, after some coaxing, broke into a rousing rendition of “Wipeout” with his/her heartbeat. It was good to hear that everything was ok in there, but it wasn’t an ultrasound, which is simply far more exciting than hearing a heartbeat amidst the “other” rumblings in Kim’s gut.

And that was it. Within an hour, we found ourselves back in the car, heading to Dunkin Donuts to follow through with our plan to diligently adhere to the “pregnancy diet.” 25 Munchkins later…

Posted in Doctors Visits, Months 3-4. Tagged with , , , .