This week, I went into the doctor for my 11-week appointment. (A 12-week appointment makes more numerical sense to me, but I’m no doctor. What do I know?) After asking for a urine sample (an OB/GYN’s way of saying, “Welcome back!”) and getting weighed (not a big deal … yet), I was ushered into a patient room where I waited to meet my doctor.
Yes, you heard me correctly—meet her. As in, for the first time. For a small number of pregnancies, I’ve had a strangely high number of doctors. My original doctor, henceforth known as Doc #1, the one who diagnosed me with endometriosis (loooong story) and actually made it possible for my husband and I to achieve our first pregnancy, no longer delivers babies.
Enter Doc #2, who just so happens to be Doc #1’s son. We loved him. He and my husband joked around at my appointments, and we both felt very comfortable with him. But he was finishing his fellowship year and moved to Texas at the end of July 2014. Baby Phillips was due in August. Not very convenient.
Because we had known his departure was a possibility, we’d already met the doc who would take his place. Doc #3 was lovely. She ended up delivering our darling daughter and letting my husband be the one to tell me the baby was a girl, which endeared her to me even more. But, with us, all good things must come to an end. Doc #3 was also a fellow and moved to Fresno this past spring. Luckily, before she moved, I asked her to recommend a new doctor for me. She recommended Doc #4, and said she thought I would be very happy with her.
When we found out I was pregnant, I called the doctor’s office, and they asked who my doctor was. What a loaded question. I gave them the name of Doc #4 (and mispronounced it in the process). Guess what? Doc #4—on maternity leave.
So, that brings me to my Week 11 appointment. And meeting my doctor, Doc #5. She was wonderful. Welcoming, friendly, relaxed yet knowledgeable—exactly what I appreciate in a doctor. We did all of the normal appointment jazz, and then she brought out the Doppler. It was time to see if we could hear Baby Phillips(#2)! I leaned back, braced myself for the cold gel and listened. We both listened. Doc #5 moved the Doppler around, trying to find baby’s heartbeat. But all we could hear was mine.
Slight panic. On my part, not hers. She wasn’t worried in the least. Mama, however, was starting to sweat. She finished the rest of my exam, wrote me a prescription for compression stockings (which I highly recommend to avoid varicose veins and as a highly underrated and never at all smelly fashion accessory), and answered my questions. She was ready to move on, but the baby’s heartbeat nagged at me.
“Are you sure it’s OK, and I shouldn’t be worried?”
Doc assured me it was fine. No, I shouldn’t be worried. But I’m a mother. So I still was. And this wonderful doctor found yet another doctor to attempt to find the heartbeat. I leaned back again. More cool gel. More static sounds. Still no heartbeat.
I could feel my own heartbeat quickening. As calm as they were, I felt rising panic. They could tell I was freaking out, so they offered to bring me down to the ultrasound department to see the baby and find out if we could hear the heartbeat there.
We walked downstairs, I laid down and got my third helping of gel. The doctors turned the computer screen toward me, and there he or she was, our little pumpkin. And in the middle of baby’s chest was the flicker of his or her heart beating. Relief!
They hit another button, and the next sound I heard was the rapid thump-thump-thump-thump of my baby’s heart. I could hear it, I could see it, and I could hold it (in picture form) in my hands.
There is nothing like the first time you hear your baby’s heartbeat. It is a rush of reassurance, pride and love, and I am so grateful I have dedicated doctors who are willing to go above and beyond to make sure their patient can leave knowing her baby is growing and his or her heart is beating away! God bless doctors like these, whether they are Doc #1 or #47 in the series.
And to my sweet baby? I hear you, Love!