This morning, I saw my obstetrician for a regular visit. I have been noticing lately that each visit unfolds in exactly the same way:
Nurse/ receptionist: “Go pee and then I will weigh you” (She actually says, “Did you go pee pees yet?” but I find it hard to write this and I find it so bizarre that these playful baby talk words come from HER mouth).
Me: I say nothing and simply move fast. I have learned that she doesn’t actually want me to reply. She just wants me to produce the peed upon little litmus stick with as little fuss as humanly possible.
Nurse/ receptionist: She weighs me in lbs and kgs and then indicates for me to sit so she can take my blood pressure. No conversation takes place and somehow I know I am not to speak. When all the accounting is done, she says, “Come on. Follow me.” I know by the swiftness of her pace I am supposed to hurry.
My OB/GYN: “Bonjour! Ça va bien?”
Him: “Any contractions, discharge, bleeding?”
Me: “No. Just Braxton Hicks.”
Him: “The kid is moving?”
Him: “Do you talk to the kid?”
Me: “Sometimes. Not enough.”
Him: “Ok. I’m going to step out. You take your clothes off from the waist down. I”ll be right back and we’ll check your cervix.” He returns moments later, measures my uterus with a tape measure and then says: “Ok. It’s going to be cold…” (He does the cervical examine…it takes him about 5 seconds) ”Good. Cervix is long, closed. The way we like it.” He says the exact same phrase everytime.
Him: “Ok. I will step out again and be back in a minute.” I get dressed and brush up on my questions before he reappears. ”Questions?”
Me: ”Is it ok to eat and drink during labour? I usually have about 3-4 questions so this is just a sample.
Him: “I have no objections. Next question?”
And so it continues until I have all my questions answered. Sometimes there is something else like a requisition for standard blood tests or an ultrasound that throws off the routine a little. But mostly we stick to the script. He’s kind and nice and efficient. It encourages the same in me.
I usually get a little bonus parting comment at the end: “You don’t have diabetes so eat what you want!” or my recent personal favourite,”You have an excellent recipe for success!” Comments like these come with a little sly smile.
Unlike my pregnancy itself, which seems to bring something new each day– nausea, heartburn, aching hips, a tender lower back, growing breasts, puffy legs, no symptoms at all (rare but it has occurred) or manic levels of energy–each of my doctor’s appointments have been practically identical. It’s like I am living in the movie Ground Hog Day.
And what I am learning, after repeat attempts at getting pregnant, is that this little doctor patient routine is incredibly reassuring and the perfect treatment for this patient!
In this unpredictable life, what routines reassure you?