Monday, March 8, 2010

Nuclear Sound Waves

I blame estrogen for the title. In fact, if there were room the full title would be "Nuclear Sound Waves: How the first prenatal care visit screwed over the rest of my week and triggered an emotional breakdown." Being realistic, though, it's too long a title. I mean, really. Anyway...

I had my first visit to the clinic last Wednesday. Overall it wasn't a bad experience. I got Illinois public aid set up, which is awesome because my insurance doesn't cover any of this pregnancy business. The midwife "ordered" an ultra sound at the local hospital, but until I get my Public Aid card, I can't actually go and get it done.

Now, right around when I say "midwife" the people around me get this excited smile and ask if I've decided to have the child in my home. The answer is no. (This is mostly due to the fact that I have no idea where I'll be living in September.) See, a midwife isn't just a person who helps deliver children in people's homes. At least in this case, the midwife and the doctor work together with each patient. At my last visit, the doctor was unavailable, so I talked to the midwife instead. Now, I've not met the doctor yet, but talking to the midwife was NOT AT ALL like talking to a doctor. I mean, I understood most of what she said, she was able to answer my questions, and I didn't leave the office feeling confused. But, moving on...

Up to this point the appointment had gone well, besides the part where the midwife walked in to hear me saying, "shut up or I'll throw my shoe at you," to my boyfriend. (Who, by the way, milked it for all it was worth and almost convinced the midwife that I'm an abusive partner. Thanks, Honey. Thanks so much.) It had been mostly talk thus far. Before she moved on to the next patient, however, the midwife got out the sonogram-thingy, and I heard the baby's heartbeat.

I can see you, at the other side of the computer screen. You're making a cute face and are, if not saying, at least thinking, "Awwwwww!"

Shut up.

I'm going to have to get over it. No matter how much gravitas and doom I put in my voice while I'm telling this story, everyone always says, "Awwwwwww!" Well that was not my first reaction. See, up until then I had no tangible evidence that this baby actually existed; it was just urine tests and nausea. So while the midwife is looking at me with that same cute smile everyone else gets, saying, "Guess what, that's your baby," all I could do was close my eyes and say, "shit." I don't think she understood.

The rest of the day ended okay. I got a test to screen for gestational diabetes, which I am at risk for, they drew LOTS of blood, which is NOT my thing (wanted to pass out), I got lunch with my very understanding and good-looking boyfriend, and went home.

I was supposed to go to class that night. I didn't go.

I was weirded out, no mistake. I spent most of my time in my living room eating toast and playing solitaire. But I didn't really realize how it had effected me until Friday. I woke up with a touch of nausea, as usual, and was contemplating the positive effects of a hot shower when my phone rang. It was the clinic, calling to inform me that the test they had drawn all the blood for had been inconclusive, and would I mind coming in for a three hour test on Monday? Well, the problem is that this week is spring break, and at the time I was planning on being in Michigan starting Saturday. I explained this to the doctor on the phone, who asked, "Well, have you eaten anything today? I could get the test started in an hour."

Okay. Let's take a moment to analyze the situation. 1) I had just woken up. 2) "Wait, I'm not supposed to eat anything? How do I keep from getting sick?" 3) I don't have a car. 4) The clinic is in fricking Evanston! "NO I CAN'T COME IN TODAY!!!"

That's how it sounded in my brain. In reality it sounded more like, "I'm sorry, I have class today. Could it wait until week after next?" Which was met with an irritated, "Well, when are you leaving tomorrow? We open at 9." I finally got her to accept an appointment on Monday, the 15th. I thanked her, (why?) and hung up the phone.

Right about then, my roommate walked in. All she saw was me hang up the phone, then hurtle something (I think it was a pen) across the room, and fall back on my bed in a soggy mess of tears and sobs. (My poor roommates.) She was great about it, gave me a hug while I explained between sniffles, and got me a tissue.

So that's when the crisis began. It's the, "I don't know if I can do this," "This has messed up/will mess up my life in so many ways," "What happens after the baby is born," "Don't you dare tell me to suck it up while I have a kitchen knife in my hand," kind of crisis. I called my mom about an hour later, looking for some motivation to finish all the things I needed to do. In her words, I "melted into a nuclear puddle of tightly wound springs." (Might not sound like the best metaphor, but trust me...) She came and got me that night.

So Saturday I spent talking to my mom in the car. I spent half of Sunday sleeping, the other half planted in front of the TV in my pajamas with a rather glazed expression. Today I spent most of the day planted in front of the TV with my bead box making bracelets, and at some point I put on a bra. So I guess things are... progressing? Tomorrow I'm actually going to leave the house.

I guess I'm just coming to terms with all of what this means. All of this is a big shift to my life. I'm just realizing what this will mean, for college, for my career, for everything. This ordeal is no longer just a pregnancy. Something is going to happen afterward, too.

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