Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pap smears and tears?

Yes, it was time for my yearly visit to my gynecologist. Is that TMI?

I've gone to the same ob/gyn for almost 20 years. It shouldn't be a big deal for me to visit his office. But something today was different.

I only saw my doctor once a year until I was pregnant with my first child. Then I remember the visits and how routine they seemed to my doctor. I almost considered changing doctors due to his apathetic responses.... but he'd been delivering babies for 30 years already. Then one day, I saw him after he'd delivered a baby and he was positively glowing. Aha! That's why he continues to do this. He loves birthing the babies. He's had a soft spot in my heart ever since.

Today as I sat in the waiting room, I thought of the hours I'd waited after drinking that horrible sugary drink to test for gestational diabetes during my first pregnancy. I remember storming in the same waiting room a week later after being struck with the horrible PUPPS rash and demanding that someone give me drugs!! I hadn't slept in 4 nights due to the incessant itching and the "it will go away when the baby's born" prognosis wasn't going to work in week 29 of my 40 week pregnancy. Between the itching and pricking my finger to draw blood and test my blood sugar levels every 4 hours, I felt as if my skin was on fire.

I had a sonogram today to check the status of my IUD. I'd told the nurse (who has also known me for years) about my soldier and plans to have lots of sex in October. I want to make sure we won't be making any R&R souvenirs. I also told her of my divorce. She remembered the day that I came in for STD tests after finding out about my husband's affair. Both she and my doctor were very disappointed and sad. They'd seen our seemingly perfect little family through so much.

As I sat in the sonogram room today, I remembered the first time I saw my first baby's heartbeat (Rose).

I also remember the day that I was told my second baby's heart wasn't beating anymore (Baby Nubs passed at 11 weeks gestation). My doctor took me to his office to make the phone call to my husband. I could barely speak.

Then I smiled remembering the day that I was to hear the gender of my third baby (Grace). At age 2, Rose had proudly announced to me that I had "a sister" in my belly. This was before I had even considered taking a pregnancy test. She was right and when I had that ultrasound, she was right again. When the doctor said it was a girl, Rose replied, "Told ya."

I had to catch my breath when I remembered that we were a family then. My husband and daughter sitting in the chair next to me while I lay vulnerable and bulging on the sonogram bed. We became a family of four that day. And then a family of 3 again a little over a year later.

I remember when I had to go in for my D&C after finding out that Baby Nubs had passed. My doctor, the apathetic one, held my hand as they wheeled me into the operating room. The last thing I remember before acquiescing to the anesthesia was my doctor's face close to my face, his eyes looking deep into my tear filled eyes, and his voice saying "It's not your fault."

After all was done today, my doctor made brief small talk and gave me a little more insight on the IUD. He'd commented on how much weight I'd lost, asked how the girls were doing (he still keeps photos of every baby he's ever delivered in photo albums), and asked how were things since the divorce. As he left, he gave me a quick hug and shut the door behind him.

I couldn't hold it in any longer. I started to cry.

I don't regret all that I've experienced there. I suppose I just don't think about it. I can't explain what it was about that fatherly hug he gave me. I don't know. It caused emotions to bubble to the surface.

Maybe its because of the date today. I feel as if I'm teetering on emotional anyway as I see flags hang at half-mast. I wonder about the thoughts of my soldier. How must it feel to be serving in Iraq on the anniversary of a day that causes him to be there?

I guess my ghosts caught up with me today. I'm going to take a deep breath and try to see tomorrow through different eyes.


  1. This post speaks volumes about you and your life. Thanks for sharing those ghosts with us. Sometimes ghosts are good because they never let us forget things we should always remember.

  2. He has been through so very much with you. It sounds almost like you were ending something and beginning something new - and I am not sure why it does.

    That Rose is one amazing kid! (just like her mom)

  3. T- Our ghosts, often hidden behind the layers we build to protect us, come out at times when we least expect them to, and sometimes they come out where we feel the most protected.

    Having shared so many memories in this office....those ghosts came out, maybe not so much to haunt you, but to remind you of just how far you have come and to give you the hope of the future you have ahead of you giving you the "permission" to release your don't have to forget it, but allow it to be just that, part of your past....remember what we have talked about before regarding growth through are such an amazing woman raising two amazing little women right behind you....those tears speak a lot more about who you are now, verses who you were then, merely because of what you had to go through to get to where you are now....

    You are in my thoughts, as always...



  4. Part of the difficulty of moving around so much is that I lack those intimate connections with caregivers of all types. I have a lovely group of midwives I travel quite a distance to see, however, and they have been amazing.

    I wish I had had someone to tell me it wasn't my fault when I lost my baby. The attending doctor made me feel as if it were my fault by ordering batteries of tests to find out what was wrong with me (nothing came back wrong) and my mother blamed me for the entire loss.

    I admire that you can go to a man for that care; I couldn't do that.

    Be well, T.

  5. Wow, T. Your post moved me to tears, too. We all have days when our ghosts catch up with us. I think it's good to acknowledge the ghosts and emotions (every emotion is there for a reason, as they say). Let those feelings wash over you (or out of you via a good dose of crying) and then wish them well as you move on to living life today.

    You are doing great, absolutely great, with everything going on in your life. Don't forget that -- or the deep yoga breaths either

  6. Fatherly and motherly hugs are great. As parents we give them out all the time. As single parents we don't get many in return. It's the small gestures of kindness that catch me unaware, and move me to tears. That hug in your post is what got to me.

  7. Wow- I thought I was the only one that had a tough time not losing my mind at the ob/gyn. Lots of emotional ups and downs in that place for so many years, and the highs and lows of your life seem particularly pronounced there. Great post, thank you!

  8. You know, I don't say this a lot. But he sounds like one helluva doctor.


  9. Whenever I go to the doctor memories of when I was sick--at age four--all come rushing back like mad. It's interesting the memories we associate with different places and how it affects us. I hope you're feeling better and your doctor sounds kick-ass.

    Here's to no R&R souvenirs!

  10. thanks so much for you comment! as always, the advice is very helpful.

    i hope that you are feeling better and that you are enjoying your weekend. it must be very exciting that october is almost here and you will get to see your soldier! i hope he is doing well!

    have a great weekend!


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