Waiting games

Written by: Hillary Grigonis

There's just something about the people in the waiting room at an obstetrician’s office—there's not really another place where you can find the same unusual mix of people. There are the menopausal women, the women chasing their kids around, the husbands that look rather embarrassed to be there, the annoyed teenage girls.

And then of course there are the pregnant women. When I was trying to get pregnant, that was the reason I hated going there. All these seemingly happy women with big round bellies reminding me I wasn't going to have a baby anytime soon. Now that I am pregnant, there are all these seemingly miserable women with bellies much bigger than mine showing me just what I have to look forward to pretty soon.

Sitting waiting for my appointment (sometimes for just a minute sometimes for nearly an hour), I often pick up bits and pieces of strange conversations. I remember one woman telling the woman beside her about the twins she was carrying. And the screech of that second woman when she found out the twins were conceived on birth control, What were you taking so I don't get that? At this morning's appointment, a toddler was asking her mother where all the babies were. In the belly like mommy's, she answered, then quickly clarified that not all women had babies in their bellies. I nearly thought she was going to have a birds and the bees talk right there, but the little girl quit asking questions just before asking, Well how did the babies get in the bellies?

I now know that a complete stranger has the entire Winnie the Pooh cribset for her girl (which the family is ecstatic about because there are too many boys). I've sat next to soon-to-be-moms in sweats and others in business suits. I once had a little girl show me pictures from a baby magazine as her big-bellied mother sat a few chairs away. I watched a little boy drive his toy car up and down all the empty chairs, then cry when he had to leave the “racetrack” to go to momma's ultrasound.

Then the nurse eventually calls my name and I try to embarrassingly avoid people in the hallways as I go from the bathroom to the exam room with a cup of pee (because I always forget to bring in a sample, not that that is any less embarrassing). The nurse does her usual routine, often scolding me for one thing or another, and then I find myself waiting again.

The walls in those offices though—they are rather thin. This morning, I heard the swoosh, swoosh of the heartbeat of a baby across the hall—and that's cool even when you don't know the mother (or even what she looks like). I heard deep-voiced doctors greeting patients. Chit chat from idle nurses.

And when I finally left the office with yet another handful of brochures and appointment cards, I was at least glad of one thing—I know there will be other women just like me who will realize and appreciate why we’re all there to share a waiting room. Which is good, because I just moved from the point of scheduling appointments every month to every two weeks. Which means a lot more waiting.

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