Folks, we have irrefutable proof that pregnancy tests are accurate. Little 2.0 is definitely there, with a heartbeat of 126.
Jay and I have known this intellectually for several weeks. He has posted some cryptic remarks during this time. One was “If I had a son, I would name him Jay Musselwhite, 2.0. The suffix “Jr” always seemed so old fashioned,” hence my 2.0 reference above. Isn’t he hilarious? The other post was about changes being afoot. Truth be told, however, we have this child named already – whether it be a boy or girl. I am sure that will be a blog post later, but this one is about the first doctor visit.
I set this appointment up my very first opportunity after the first positive pregnancy test. Sure, I was a bit shocked and still checking out that pee stick every time I walked into the bathroom (yes, I have thrown them out by now. No offense to those of you who may have framed yours, but that is just not my style), so I was still suffering from bouts of disbelief. However, I do have a practical streak in me that kicks in when circumstances dictate. I can fall apart later if need be, but the first order of business is to do the things that need to be done. When it hits the fan, my first instinct is to cover the bases. I decided when I made this appointment that I would just take the day off. I would be worthless at work, anyway – I would be writing this blog or otherwise preoccupied, so I figured I would do myself a favor and take the day.
By the time Monday morning got here, we were fairly well rested. Greta had gone on her merry way with friends, the clothes were washed (and actually put away this time) and the kitchen (which I swear had been cleaned no less than 4 times over the weekend) was clean – except for the fact you could not get to the sink. (I made Shrimp and Grits Sunday night. It was divine – but I can destroy a kitchen in the making of it. And I had run out of steam by then, so the dishes just had to wait till later) Jay and I decided we would take Ezra in to school on the way to the 11a doctor appointment, so I got up with him at about 8a and decided it was a great morning for a pancake breakfast. Yum! Excellent start to the week.
Needless to say, Jay has never been to an OB and I had never been to this place. Luckily, we were only about 15 minutes late, which is well within acceptable levels (for me). I found this practice by deciding at which hospital I wanted to deliver this baby and then finding a practice that delivers there through my insurance. I figured if I got a bad vibe, I could find another doc in plenty of time. Luckily, I don’t think this will be necessary. Anyway, you know how it goes, paperwork, medical history, etc. And so we waited. I wondered how Jay would take this first foray into medical intimacy. You know, things like being listed as a father and medical emergency contact (I carefully skipped the marital status questions, deeming them relatively unimportant at this juncture. If they ask, I can always tell them, but for now leaving it blank seemed right) and I was pretty sure there would be pap smears, a different sort of ultrasound and a full physical exam – which of course there was. Jay is a farily practical guy and is not much bothered by such things, but it is a first, and there is always a bit of apprehension about your guy being present for the first time. It was all fine. Just another thing to do, although Jay did bug out pretty quickly when I went to the lab (seven vials of blood they took… good grief) as he has a particular aversion to needles.
Once they called me back, I was impressed. The first place they took me was not a scale, God bless them, but to the ultrasound room. Wow, they just knock that right out at the beginning so you don’t have to wait for the very thing they know you came there for in the first place. Smart of them. Within minutes of being called back, we were looking at the baby – or the little moving white blob inside the blackness that is my uterus. He is tiny. They originally had calculated me at 8w, 6d according to my history, but once she measured the little guy the tech put me at 6w, 5d with a due date of 10.26.2011. This is fine by me. All I am looking for is an end date and I am not too concerned on which date they give me – I just want something to count down to. Right now it is not so important, but come September I will care a great deal about how close that day happens to be.
Jay was standing next to me during the ultrasound. He said later that they should take pictures of guy’s faces when they first see this. According to him, his expression with a bit slack-jawed. Anyway, there he/she was. You could barely hear the heartbeat since I am only 6 weeks along, but if you listened closely you could hear it beating along at a good 120+ beats a minute. And you could see it. That is the part I really needed. The tech can tell me head from tail, and it is not like you can see clearly in there this early on, but you can see that tiny heart fluttering (having miscarried once, even though it was 20 years ago and there was no baby developing inside the sac, I needed to see what I didn’t that time – a heartbeat). That was the high point of the visit. The rest – eh. Jay and I not being too terribly emotional (well, Jay not being, I am on pregnancy hormones, so I am graded on a curve), there were no tears or high fives. Just a general need to check things out closely, ask a few questions and let the knowledge settle.
I do like the doctor and, since she delivers 95% of her patients herself, that is a good thing. It is an all female practice, but this really makes no difference to me one way or the other. I have had both male and female doctors and I don’t really have a preference. Greta and Ezra were delivered by men, although my regular OB with Ezra had been a female. Once you are 9 months pregnant and in labor, you are not overly concerned with the gender of the person helping you get the baby out. And modesty is laughable at that point, as well. But she was nice and seemed good at what she does. The hospital has a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit which services all of north Georgia. Not that we want to have to use this, but it is nice to know it is there and it makes you feel like the doctors there can deal with very sick little newborns, so they will be spot on for your healthy one. The doctor also complimented me on my pelvic structure. She said something along the lines of me being born to have babies. She also quickly added that this has nothing to do with the size of my hips, just the structure. Thanks for the clarification there, doc. My blood pressure, which runs low normally, was in a good range and, in my past pregnancy experience, will drop even more the farther along I get, so I have no worries about gestational hypertension and preeclampsia. Luckily for me, I also have never had to worry about gestational diabetes, either. Each pregnancy is different, though, and I am older, so I will keep an eye out. Besides, it was 15 years between my previous pregnancies; more than 7 years between and you are basically starting over. Maybe this time, I can cut the labor hours. They say the second baby comes faster than the first. Ezra was born just over 11 hours from my being admitted to the hospital. I would love to cut that down significantly.
One more thing. When I was pregnant with Ezra, a mere 4 years ago, I was 36/37. Over 35 is considered old by OBs. We all know about Downs and the other chromosomal disorders that are more prevalent when the parents are over 35 (Jay slipped in just under the wire… he will be 36 in July), and then there are the neural tube disorders (which are scarier to me). So I was offered all kinds of testing with Ezra – triple (or quad) screening, CVS and an amniocentesis. I let them do the triple screening, which simply amounts to a blood test, but the other 2 tests are invasive and I do not want anything stuck into my uterus, especially while there is a baby in there. All was well. (This is not to say there cannot be a false positive on that blood test, as I know someone who had to live through the horror of a false positive.) Fast forward 4 years. They now have something called a nuchal scan. Apparently, at 12 weeks you can look at the baby’s neck and see fluid and measure the thickness. An abnormally high thickness indicates a problem – chromosomal disorders, congenital heart problems, among others, and it is less likely to give a false positive (like my friend had to deal with). Modern science seems to always be progressing… sometimes at a surprising rate.
So, I left the doctor happy to know that there is a tiny heart beating away in there. I got a bag of goodies (mostly vitamins) and an appointment in 6 weeks for another ultrasound. I felt good (except for the brief moment when I could not help but look at that *&^$#^%#@*&^ number on the scale). It is amazing how much seeing and believing go hand in hand. This means I can switch gears and focus on wedding planning and then on to getting the house ready for a new baby. Oh, and making sure the pressure of all this does not give Jay a heart attack. It’ll be a piece of (wedding) cake.