Most of our visits are routine. I am called to the back, after a brief wait. We get the evil out of the way first: the scales. Not too bad this time. Not too good either. Dr. Narendaren gently mentioned that I might try eating more "less calorie dense food." That is her way of saying to raise my nose out of the trough every once in awhile and get some air. I have only gained five pounds so far.
After the weigh-in, (yes, I feel like a steer at the county fair) I am sent to the bathroom with a cup and implicit instructions. Collect, write your name on the cup and set it on the shelf. I always try to write my name first, just in case my aim sucks that day.
Next, the nurse checks my blood pressure. I have never had problems with my blood pressure until the 33rd week of my last pregnancy. My numbers shot up and I blew up. Pre-eclampsia. Yeah. Dr. N. already is watching me for a encore. The first visits' numbers were good. Lately they have been drifting skyward. I was put on bedrest during my last bout. I don't want that to occur again. This visit they were 138/78. Not great. My homework is to chart my bp daily.
After the blood pressure, I am escorted into an exam room. Here I wait. And wait. To give credit to the practice, I rarely wait long. Maybe 5-10 minutes. Today was no exception. Dr. Narendaren tapped on the door and entered. She wore her normal bright smile and eagerly extended her hand to me. I had Aveline in tow, so she bent down and spoke to her. Aveline grinned.
The most frightening part came next. This was the first visit where we would be able to hear the baby's heartbeat with the doppler, a device that looks very similar to any number of karaoake machines. I raised my shirt and lowered my pants as I lay on the table. She took the microphone end and firmly pressed it into my gut. Squishes and scowls screeched from the speaker. Nothing rhythmic or steady. A baby's heartbeat sounds like a galloping horse through the doppler. We heard nothing. After five minutes or so of Dr. N. gouging the mike in my stomach, she assured me that she heard the baby moving, but for some reason could not get the heartbeat. She drew up an ultrasound order with the words "Threatened AB" on it and handed it to me. I was panicked. She explained that she was sure that everything was alright, but she wanted to make sure today so I wouldn't worry. I was glad for that.
Aveline and I went back to the reception area to wait to be squeezed into the ultrasound schedule. After twenty minutes or so, Rhonda called me back. I mounted the table and turned my head toward the screen. She instantly found the baby and the tiny bb sized throbbing heart. The heartbeat was 137 bpm. She commented that the baby was measuring over a week ahead of his age and that everything looked good. Relieved, I thanked her and we left. We even got a souvenir picture from our emotional roller coaster ride.