Today J and I went to the doctor (OB/GYN). This was our second visit. She has to pee in a cup. I’m not sure what this urine sample is used for (other than to generate awkward conversation with the nurse/receptionist), but given some of the other clientele I have seen combined with the poster depicting the physical ravages of ten years of crystal meth use I suspect the doctor might be testing for illicit narcotics.
When the doctor finally sees us (I only plugged the parking meter for 40 minutes) she doesn’t accuse J of doing crack cocaine and instead reviews the findings of the sonogram from a few weeks past. Yes, we are on track. Due date? Oh, let’s stick with April 2(ish).
Then, with what looks like a decades-old children’s walkie-talkie, the Doc searches J’s belly for an elusive heartbeat. She says “don’t worry” if we can’t hear the baby’s heart. But I instantly do – straining my ears, focusing on the crackling whooshes coming from the tinny speaker. I’ve spent years in the Army listening to crackly radio signals. I’m pretty good at picking out sensible sounds. For what I start to feel is much too long, I hear nothing.
Then: the perfect sound track for a heart. A rapid gentle pounding of a young creature.
And suddenly the fear is past. Everything is fine. 156bpm, or thereabouts.
J has two questions:
A) Take the vaccine.
Q) Sleeping on my back?
A) It is okay for awhile yet, but in a few weeks you should transition to sleeping on your side (as best you can).
And then J gets a parting-gift: pamphlets and information and samples, tucked into a sealed, clear plastic bag.
This is one of the last nice days of the year. Soon there will be very cold winds, and snow, and dark mornings and nights. But today it is a sunny Autumn day. And we are happy.