Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Woman and the Tissue Box {Choosing Life: Chapter 3}


July 2010

Facebook status, July 6th, 2010: “George Patrick lassos stork!"

Excitedly she pulled the glass door open to the women's clinic, breaking the seal between the hallway and waiting room creating a cool whoosh of air in her face from the air conditioning inside. She had brought her husband and two little boys, ages 8 and 11 for her first prenatal care appointment of her third pregnancy, the one where she fills out all the paperwork and agrees to a payment plan, the one where she pees in a cup and gets blood work done to officially confirm the pregnancy, and the one where they would get to hear the heartbeat for the first time!

When the nurse called her name, she followed her down the hallway to the exam room, alone at first. Her husband stayed with the boys in the waiting room. She planned to have them all come back once they got to the fun heartbeat part. No need to freak the little boys out with the peeing and exam part!

The nurse asked a few questions and took her blood pressure and then left her to undress and put on a gown. Once she had the breezy little gown on, she hopped up on the exam table and waited. Her nurse-midwife, the same gal that had delivered both of the other children, knocked quietly to see if she was ready and came in. They went through the routine of discussing her health and pregnancy history, she answered lots of questions and got an exam. Based on her answers to some of the questions, it was guessed that she was 10-11 weeks along. The nurse midwife asked if she wanted to go ahead and hear the heartbeat before they called the boys back to the room, and she said, "yes!"

As the nurse-midwife positioned and repositioned the fetal Doppler around her abdomen but couldn't seem to locate the baby's heartbeat, she began to feel more and more apprehensive. But her nurse-midwife brushed off any concerns and said after she came back from getting her blood work done, she would send her to get a fetal ultrasound.

She got dressed and walked in a daze back to the waiting room where her eyes met her husband's surprised look since he had expected to be called back with the kids to hear the heartbeat. She briefly filled him in on the plan and left them quickly to go to the Laboratory Department for the blood work.

She felt the panic and emotions welling up inside her. She sat down in a row of chairs off to the side out of the way, hoping to get control of herself. But she couldn't stop the flow of tears. She worried about all the things that could have gone wrong, and thought how funny that she could be so attached and so emotional over a 10-11 week old barely developed baby the size of a kidney bean.

As she sat alone in the waiting room of the lab, another woman across from her noticed her distress and without any words, quietly got up and brought her a box of tissues and then went to sit back down. She could barely see the woman through her tears and would not recognize her today if she tried, but she gave her a quiet thank you and an attempt at a smile. The fact that it felt like someone cared helped her finally get control of herself and continue through the motions of getting the blood work done and going back to the clinic where her family waited. She has never forgotten that tiny gesture of kindness.

Eventually she and her husband were ushered into another exam room. They left the boys just outside the room sitting in chairs in the hallway with threats to behave. After getting undressed again, she and her husband held their breath as the ultrasound technician lubed up the wand preparing for the up close and personal peek inside.

Immediately, the image of the baby popped up on the screen along with the unmistaken sound and picture of a beating heart. The baby was alive! He or she must have just been hiding. They both smiled and exhaled sighs and words of relief. Nothing seemed to have come from all her apprehension. The ultrasound technician pushed a button and printed out a tiny picture of a little monkey looking bean. She got dressed again, and she and her husband proudly went out to the hallway to show the boys.

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