If you are in the “home stretch” of your pregnancy, you know that reaching this final phase brings a wonderful feeling of relief. You also know it brings a bevy of doctor’s appointments, whichare no big deal unless for you, like me, “doctor’s appointments” is code for “nervous breakdowns.”
For years, I’ve been convinced that doctor’s offices are actually Dante’s ninth circle of Hell. Or, when I’m feeling especially generous, maybe just his fourth or fifth circle. The bottom line is, they aren’t somewhere you want to spend an eternity.
To be fair, in the first few months of pregnancy, those early appointments really aren’t so bad. Of course, there are the Interminably Long Waits in the waiting room, followed by The Weigh In, followed by the Needles and another Interminably Long Wait in the examination room, but all in all, the visits are bearable. Thanks to limited contact with the medical staff, the visits leave me only slightly ill.
Unfortunately, there is an inverse relationship between the number of days left in my pregnancy and my level of doctor-induced dread. As I count down the days ’til D-Day, I know that (too) soon I’ll be shivering on the examination table, most likely in the fetal position, as the midwife pulls on her rubber glove with a terrifying snap and declares, “It’s time to check you.”
Never have two words had such a fearful effect on any person. (Fact: Just typing out that sentence made me fingers freeze up a bit.) In my previous pregnancy, I handled that announcement from my midwife with my usual aplomb: I whimpered, cringed, cried, and squeezed the sugar out of my husband’s hand. I only only calmed down once my midwife promised me Starbucks in the event that she caused me any pain. And, then I did it all again at my next appointments— and, being two weeks overdue, there were more than I care to recall.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking: “Didn’t the dumbbell know she was signing up for all this when she got pregnant?” Of course somewhere in the recesses of my mind, but really, were you thinking about pap smears (just typing it makes me shudder) and dilation checks when you were getting frisky? Me either.
This time around, I hope that I can handle the upcoming infringement of my personal birth canal with more dignity than I did in my last go ’round, but I’m not getting my hopes up. So far, except for the internal dating ultrasound at 9 weeks—which left me shaking and in tears—I have avoided almost all uncomfortable physical inspections. No pap smear, no glucose test, no invasive checks of any kind. It’s been grand.
But, I know the bliss can’t last forever. Pretty soon, it’s going to be rubber glove and fetal position time. Or, maybe from here on out, I’ll just play hooky.