Exam room #8

I finally made it back in to my OBGYN’s office for a well woman exam. It only took me almost 2 years after giving birth. My appointment was with the nurse practitioner, a new one (not the same one who was there when I was pregnant).

To my delight, the office was relatively empty. Not too many people waiting around. I’ve  been there before when it’s been packed full of pregnant people. I wondered if my doctor would be around. I wondered if I would see his face and if he would recognize me.

I thought to myself, this is weird, to be here, and not be pregnant. To be, just another woman getting a pap smear. No one special. Just in and out and see you in a year or two. Before having kids, I never made much of my yearly exams. I never cared which clinic I went to or which doctor I saw. The only reason I ever went was to get a pap smear and birth control. It was just sort of like going to the dentist, but even less frequent. But after being pregnant, and developing a relationship with my doctor and his staff, it was like a whole new experience. Toward the end of my pregnancy (err, when I was past due) I was in there every few days. Now I was just back to nameless woman. It was odd.

They called me back and walked me to the end of the hall. They put me in an exam room which used to be the room they would put me in and strap me up to the machine that measured contractions and the baby’s heart rate. The room they would leave me in for like 30-45 minutes at the end of my pregnancy as they worried about all the fluid my body was retaining. I’d just lie there and listen to music or the thumping as my baby kicked around inside me. It brought back SO many memories. So many emotions. I remembered it all so vividly. Anticipating the birth of my daughter. I remember when my doctor told me he would be out of the country from my 39th week to my 41st week. He was so apologetic. But I held out! Baby stayed put! My giant pregnant belly. All the flurry of action and monitoring and guessing. It kind of made me long to be pregnant again. (but I still don’t want a newborn). Now, it was just another room. They’d moved the machine somewhere else. This was just, exam room number 8. Nothing special.

As I sat and waited for the nurse practitioner to come in, to my surprise, my doctor walked in. “Hi there!” he said. “I came to see how you were doing!” His voice is so gentle. His sweet, kind face. “I saw your name on the schedule, (he says my last name), I’ll never forget that name!” (I was his longest pregnancy ever, at 42 weeks). We laughed. He asked me how everything was going and if there was anything he could do for me. Inside, I thought, well you’ve already done it. You made me feel remembered and not just like a nameless person. I kind of wanted to cry. Is that weird? I mean, his simple act just touched me. He told me they would be moving office locations to just a mile down the road to a brand new spot since the current building was going to be turned down. I told him I’d follow him to the moon!

One of his nurse techs came in and helped the nurse practitioner with the exam. She remembered me and we chatted. It was nice. It was sort of like this strange kind of closure to the anticipation and worry I had felt about going back. Maybe a little over dramatic? Oh well, I did it. I told them I’d be back one day for another baby  but not anytime too soon.

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