Doctors, Nurses and Girl Parts

One of the worst things about moving was finding new doctors, new dentists, a new church.  New everything.  All of the tiny, mundane things about your every day life that you never think of, the underpinnings of your health and spirit.  When you move, you don’t take them with you.

It was something we’d actually not really done at all the entire year we’d lived in Oklahoma.  Well, except for the doctor thing, for me.  But I’d only gone to see a gynecologist because I suspected I might be pregnant.  We’d never bothered to find a dentist (horrible, horrible parents that we were, we’d never taken Zachary even for a check up that year), or a pediatrician (well, except for the one time we’d taken our baby fresh from the hospital to one), or a doctor for R.  We’d gone to the one Catholic church in town for Christmas Eve mass and not cared for it at all.  I wondered, at times, what we would have done if we’d ended up staying there.  But we never did.

When we’d moved to Cincinnati a year ago, it was one of the first things I resolved to do.  I didn’t have much of a choice on the pediatrician front; my daughter was six weeks old when we’d come to our new slice of suburbia.  But I took Z in for his well child check up too.  I’d found a dentist straight away and booked us all appointments and asked around our neighborhood where everyone went to services.  We weren’t entirely sold on the church we’d ultimately chosen, but we started going regularly and I volunteered to teach Z’s religious education class there.

But I’d never gotten around to finding a doctor for my girl parts.  I’d done my six week check just before we’d left Oklahoma, and after that I didn’t really feel a sense of urgency about it.  I didn’t plan on using the pill, and I was married for heaven’s sake; it wasn’t like I needed a regular VD test or anything.  So I never bothered.

But now, here it was, May, 2001, a whole year later.  I found myself in the eerie deja vu of having a question about whether or not I might be pregnant, so it was high time I found myself some place to get things checked out under the hood.  It was probably bad practice to be looking to hire a baby doctor “under the gun” so to speak, but it had worked out well for me last time.

It was silly, I kept telling myself. The whole time I looked through the phone book, made the appointment (“What?  I wouldn’t see a doctor on my first visit?”) and asked my friend Annette to watch Melinda so I could drive the twenty minutes to the office, I thought I probably was crazy.  I’d had a little pregnancy scare a few months ago, telling only my neighbor about it, and she thought I was a lunatic.

“You’re over 30, you use protection, right?  You can’t get pregnant.”

“Well, I did, you know, before,” I reminded her.

“You were eighteen and way more fertile than you are now.  Don’t be silly,” she told me.

But this time was different.  I knew it was probably too early for the urine test, but I felt it.  I just had a feeling (that likely had something to do with that well timed early morning romp a few weeks back) that this might be more than just a silly thought.  So I went to the doctor, which was really a nurse practitioner, she asked me as part of the routine screening, “Could you be pregnant?”

Because of course I hadn’t let on that I actually thought I was pregnant. No, I was a responsible thirty year old woman who was simply attending to her important gynecological health by booking a regular screening exam with the Women’s Health Center.  “Yes, it is possible,” I answered (in place of the “Actually I took a test yesterday and it was positive” that I’d stated at the last two “new doctor” visits I’d been to).

The nurse performed the rest of the exam, the Pap, the ever so fun “palpations”, the routine scolding for not performing regular self breast examinations.  The whole time, I was waiting, waiting for the results of the urine test that I knew they’d run based on my “possible” answer to the pregnancy question.  Finally, after all was said and done, the nurse let me know:  “Oh, and you’re not pregnant.”

I was shocked.  I’d broken the cycle.  I had actually gone to a new girl parts doctor and not been pregnant.  I was a grown up. No shotgun doctor patient (even though I hadn’t actually seen a doctor) here.  I felt surprised, and a little disappointed as I pulled out my undergarments from their carefully concealed place in my pile of clothing.

A week later, the stick had two unmistakeable lines on it.

Shotgun after all.  I was pregnant.

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