I have a propensity for drama. I get it from my mother’s side of the family. Those old hens were never happy unless they were fighting among themselves or tearing someone else to shreds. I used to have a best friend who was constantly surrounded by drama, and I always managed to be heavily involved. Usually, my favorite start to a conversation is, “Have you heard the latest gossip?”
Today, I had an opportunity to create tension and drama. To be the one with “the news.”
I had a regular obstetrician appointment today. If you’ve never been pregnant, this is how these appointments go down: you bring in a little cup of pee, have your blood pressure taken, and step on the scale. You dip a little test strip in the pee to check for protein (pre-eclampsia) and sugar (gestational diabetes), breathe deeply and slowly hoping for a nice low blood pressure reading, and cry a little on the inside when you see your weight going up. Later on in the pregnancy, you will probably cry on the outside too. I had trace amounts of protein in my urine (probably not drinking adequate water says my nurse), blood pressure of 112/60, and a four pound weight gain.
And then the moment I’d been counting down to eagerly for weeks. The doctor came in with the pocket Doppler device, and it was time to hear my baby’s heartbeat for the first time. We chatted about my pregnancy symptoms and the weather as she squirted the ultrasound goo on my belly, and then we both got quiet to listen. And we didn’t hear anything. She ran the little wand all over my belly, and still nothing. She put the Doppler up to her ear and tried again. And again. Just static.
Very relaxed, she put the Doppler aside and wiped the gel off of my belly. “It’s still too early, I guess. But if you want, we can go to ultrasound.” I imagined the kind of worrying I could squeeze in to my days and nights during the next eight days before my nuchal translucency scan at the perinatologist’s office, and immediately said, “Yes, let’s do that.”
And then I had to wait twenty minutes for the machine to be free.
Sitting in the waiting room, I pulled my phone out of my pocket and began to dial my husband. this was big news. Drama to share. I imagined the conversation from my end. “Honey, I’m waiting for an ultrasound. Dr. O can’t find a heartbeat.” Then I pictured his side of the conversation. I pictured his eyes getting big and his chest constricting with fear and pain. He was home with V, probably playing a game or giving her a snack. If there was bad news to share, I’d wait and do it in person when I got home. And if the news was good, I wasn’t going to get him all freaked out for nothing.
So I started a text to my sister Beezy. I saw the words appear on the tiny screen of the shitty phone I’ve been using since I found out Blackberries don’t drink coffee. “Waiting for ultrasound. Doctor didn’t see heartbeat.” Backspace, backspace, backspace. Delete, delete, delete. Why would I do that to my sister? For a moment of drama? To be the center of attention for a few minutes? To send cortisol shooting through her already taxed body, causing damage to her tissues? Lame.
I closed my phone, put it in my pocket, and sat quietly holding my own emotions. I think that is where I struggle. I’m not skilled at being a container for my own difficult feelings. I need to shoot them out at people and watch them bounce off so that I can deal with them (or not). This is growth for me. This is blooming. I chose to suffer alone and spare loved ones pain in lieu of getting relief for myself from the tension of waiting.
Dr. O put the ultrasound wand on my belly and instantly smiled. She turned the monitor so I could see it, and there s/he was. A tiny little human being with a fluttering heart. I even saw the umbilical cord pulsing in the background. S/he has tiny little legs that kick and itty bitty arms that wave and flail. My little blastocyst has been very, very busy since I last saw it.
I feel I bloomed a little today. I didn’t give way to needless drama. I told Odie and my sister about it, of course, but I carefully prefaced the story with, “Everything is perfectly fine, but I had a scary moment at the doctor.”
And in Odie’s case, I handed him a grainy black and white picture of what I’m pretty sure is his son.
*The comments on this were hilarious. Um, I’m certain that the baby is Odie’s. What I’m not sure about is the gender.