** Memoir Monday is a weekly series that features pieces of Katie’s memoir-in- progress that covers her first pregnancy. Click here to see past entries. **
The obstetrician’s office I visited had five doctors. They suggested that you try to divvy up your appointments in order to meet them all before delivery. They were on rotation at Winnie Palmer Hospital in downtown Orlando, so depending when you went in to labor, you never knew which doctor you would get.
|My first daughter at
I saw the first guy about six weeks into my pregnancy. Before then, I had only seen nurse practitioners. According to the digital scale, I had gained four pounds since my last visit. This displeased the doctor very much.
“Four pounds already? That’s not good Katie. Most women lose weight in the first trimester.”
“How do you figure?”
“The morning sickness, the nerves. The weight gain doesn’t generally start until the second trimester. You are still six weeks from that point.”
“Well I haven’t had any morning sickness. I’ve been eating pretty healthy actually. Just a little more than I used to.”
He just shook his head and scribbled on my chart.
I really hoped this wasn’t the guy on rotation once I’d gained 45 pounds and my water broke. The last thing I wanted was a lecture on laying off the candy bars while I tried to birth a small human.
I saw a few of the other doctors and they were okay, I guess.
At 24 weeks, I had an appointment with Dr. Lopez. He was a doctor with salt-and pepper hair with a fantastic Cuban accent and a wicked sense of humor. The first time that I met him, I was having such a lovely time that I almost forgot how uncomfortable metal stirrups and medical tools can be. He had a disarming way of distracting me from the unpleasantries that often accompany pregnancy appointments and I appreciated that he cared enough to make that sort of effort.
From that point on, I scheduled appointments with Dr. Lopez exclusively. If he wasn’t on rotation the day I went in to labor, at least I could enjoy prenatal visits along the way.
At 35 weeks along, Dr. Lopez decided to check to ensure the baby was positioned correctly before she got too big to get in the proper exit spot in the coming weeks. He called in a nurse and made her laugh with a joke about baseball players and dictators. He told me a joke about a duck and the White House as he checked to see if he could located the position of her head. I almost peed myself — less at the hilarity of the joke and more at my increasingly small bladder functionality.
The doctor stood up and grabbed my chart. He flipped through it and said “Hmmm” a few times.
“What’s wrong Doc?”
He continued to read the charts.
“When is your due date Kat-ee?”
“May 15. In about five weeks.”
He set the chart down, sat on his small metal stool and rolled over to me.
“I want you to listen to me Kat-ee. … Are you listening?”
“Yes, yes. Of course I’m listening.”
“Due dates are just an estimate. These babies… they aren’t like you and me. They come when they want to come. Do you understand?”
I could feel panic wash over me. I was banking on having all five of those weeks to finish getting ready mentally, financially, and emotionally for my daughter. Experienced moms told me “the first one is always late.” My mom bought an airplane ticket from Indiana for May 20th. Today was April 10th.
Doc saw the tears in my eyes.
“I need you to take it easy. I need your little girl to stay in there for at least two more weeks. Do you need me to write you a note or call your work?”
My mind was racing.
“No, I can work from home if I need to. At the newspaper at least. I guess I should stop working at the restaurant though.”
Doc’s eyebrows shot up.
“Restaurant? Like on your feet? Carrying food and empty glasses through slick kitchens? Please tell me you are joking, Kat-ee.”
I bit my bottom lip.
“I’ll call my restaurant manager when I leave here. And I’ll work from home on my newspaper shifts.”
Doc laid his hand on mine.
“Just be ready at any time, okay? Call me if you think precious angel may be coming in the next two weeks. After that, just check yourself into the hospital. You can do this, Kat-ee.”
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