Archive for the 'On the doc' Category

Waiting, waiting, waiting…

At my weekly doctor appointment, my blood pressure was high. So they took it again. High again. Apparantly, it has been creeping up slowly the past few weeks. I don’t have swelling, no protein in the urine, or anything else that sets off alarms. Just this stupid slightly high BP. So the doc casually announced to me during the question portion of my appointment that she’d be writing me a doctor’s note that I was to stay home. Really! A doctor’s note! Like, to hand in to the principal!

I asked her the purpose, since at work I sit behind a desk all day. She said it was all the getting up and down she didn’t want. I could work from home, if possible, but I should really take it easy. Slightly appalled at the thought of sitting on the couch all day, I asked about walking the dogs. That’s healthy, right? Good for the heart? “No,” she replied, “You really just need to take it easy.” “Vacuuming?” I asked, picturing the layer of doghair that I was scheduled to get rid of this week (yes, I have a regular cleaning schedule in my head that makes some, namely my husband, call me slightly anal). “No vacuuming,” she replied.

The kicker of it all is, I feel fine! That kills me! So I sit, and look for excuses to get up if it’s been too many hours. Wally’s not leaving me many chances, though, since he’s cooking, grocery shopping, vacuuming (my hero!), letting the dogs out, entertaining them, and basically taking care of, well, everything. The doctor’s note, instead of being written to my work, was written to “to whom it may concern,” with the instructions, “no work,” so I handed it in to Wally as a “get out of cooking free” card. I guess he took it seriously. So I get to sit here and wait.

It hasn’t been terribly bad. Luckily I can work from home, so my mind is kept active wrapping things up at work, and I don’t have to start my leave and use any of my precious time off pre-SmallWal. And the weekend has been rather relaxing. It was hard to sit while Wally cleaned the house (the guilt!), but at the same time, it’s nice to be taken care of. And I know, believe me, I know, this is the last chance for us to sit and do nothing for the next 18 years or so. I worked on craft projects. I watched mind-candy TV (Top Model! Say Yes to the Dress!). And this is embarassing, but I’m going to admit it…while crafting, I “instant watch”ed 13 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. Over half a season! In one weekend! (Until this weekend, I didn’t know what they meant when they would say every patient’s BP. Because of my new condition, I had that aha moment in about the 7th episode.)

I called in my BPs to the doc office, and they’ve been good enough that we’re not talking about inducing yet. Just more of this “modified bedrest,” as the doc calls it, since she’s okay with me working from home. So if Wally V waits until his due date (Oct. 30) to make his appearance, we’re talking 2 more weeks of this fun. And I swear, this bedrest thing makes that looming sense of waiting that comes with the last month of pregnancy extremely torturous. I think about Wally V all the time.

I go daily from being afraid and not quite ready to go into labor (yesterday…ultra-relief when we were told we weren’t inducing yet!) to extremely ready to have him (today! I practiced receiving blanket wraps on a stuffed animal monkey!). Here’s to hoping the day he comes is one of my ready days. And if not, I’ll buck up out of necessity. Until then, we’re just waiting, waiting, waiting…


The Ultrasound: It’s a…

We plan to post a short video of the ultrasound, but since we haven’t yet, I’ll describe the experience.

We woke up June 2 extremely excited. That day we’d find out if Wee V was a he or she, and we couldn’t wait. Neither of us were sure how much it would change things to know. We just knew we wanted to know so bad!

On the drive to the appointment, we were both thrilled. Of course, we both show it in different ways. I show it by asking Wally over and over the same questions, “Do you think it’s a boy or girl?” and “Do you want a boy or girl?” and “Do you think the dogs will be better with a boy or a girl” and “What do you think the dogs think it is, boy or a girl?” Wally shows his excitement by putting up with all my questions.

In the waiting room, more questions from me. And more tolerating answers from Wally. At this point, I was nervous. I’m not sure why…I would have loved either answer. I think I saw it as an initial introduction to the baby…we’d see him for the first time (besides when he looked like a chicken nugget), and it would feel like he knew and was seeing us, too. Like he has his own ultrasound screen in there and is seeing us in black and gray fuzz and thinking, Oh, so that’s who these goofballs are that I’m starting to hear. That’s the dude who sings when he’s walking around and the chick who feeds me icecream.

Then we finally got into the ultrasound room. We had Susan, a much recommended, much talked about technician who has been doing this for 35 years and is never wrong when she tells you how the baby is doing, and if you have a boy or girl. If she can’t get a good angle of whether she’s looking at girl or boy parts, she works it until she knows, because she knows it’s important to people.

She turned down the lights in the room, squirted the warm jelly on my belly, and gave us our first view of the baby. Which looked like a blob. I had no idea what I was seeing. “That’s a crotch shot,” she said, “But the umbilical cord is blocking some of the view.”


“So do you know if it’s a girl or boy right now,” I asked. Please know, please know, please know.

“I have an idea, because I think I see something sticking out, but it’s blocked, so we’ll wait to say until there’s a better angle.”

At this point you could tell the baby was moving around, but it was still hard to see what we were looking at. Then she got a different angle, and started to type on the screen an arrow, then “penis.” Boy!!!! (Oh man, he’ll love this shot when he’s 15.)


She said then that as soon as she called him out on it, he turned and gave her a full view. Like saying, Aw, the gig is up. You got me. What a jokester.

Then Wally and I knew…little Wally Ben Ottenhoff V! And what a relief! I immediately pictured a handsome little guy running around, sporty like his dad, and sweet and fun. I also felt relief…no pressure for the next baby! We know we’ve got the next Wally. The 5th generation of totally awesome men.

The rest of the ultrasound was amazing. We then got views of the baby where we could clearly see legs, arms, belly, nose.


We saw him kicking, bouncing around, shifting positions and resting. We saw him open his mouth really wide, saying, Hey mom, hey dad. What’s up? We even saw him sucking his thumb.


Susan couldn’t get a good view of his spine, and as soon as she said that, he shifted over to show a great spine shot. What a good little boy.


Already we can tell he’s one cool little dude. He’s active, funny, and helpful. We love him. Him!

Our baby’s heartbeat!

At the last doc visit, I got to hear the little guy’s heart. The only thing that would have made it more perfect is if Wally got the chance to hear it with me. But good news! We hear the heart at every doc visit, so Wally came with this time.

Wally was so excited to hear it, it was all he could think about the rest of the day.

And now, without further ado, something special for you folks…I will let our baby take it from here!

2nd doc visit: Find my baby, please!

I went to the doctor for the second time today. I’m at about 10 weeks now, food aversion starting to subside, just barely starting to show.

The reception nurse handed me a teeny tiny vile and a paper cup when I signed in. She acted like I should know the routine. I looked at it, looked at her, and when it was clear she wasn’t going to explain the 2 container process, I clarified. “Umm, so I should, umm, go in here?” I said, holding out the small vile. Seemed an impossibly messy task. The cup then, would be for…quenching my thirst after?

“You go in the paper cup, then transfer that to the vile. Bring it back here, and place it in one of these cups on the counter,” she explained. Now I know.

We weighed (2 pound gain), blood pressured, then I waited for the doc. She asked a few more medical questions, then said we get to hear the baby. Hear the baby!

She used this little plastic speaker ultrasound thing, splattered the gel, then started the search. She searched. I thought she started to look a little worried. I pictured Marley and Me, where they can’t find the baby and it turns out Jennifer Aniston is going to miscarry.

Then, a heartbeat! “No, that’s your heart,” the doc said. Oh. Then she started to reassure me that it sometimes takes a little while to hear the heartbeat at 10 weeks. That’s just when they are able to start hearing it. I started to feel okay. Then I heard it.

It was twice as fast as mine had sounded. It was steady. It was a beauty. It was my baby! I teared up, and started laughing at the same time. Because my stomach was bouncing, the doc had to keep refinding it.

Until now, I have felt a little detached. Because of not feeling well, I’ve been trying to avoid thinking about being pregnant. Plus, we haven’t told anyone, as we were waiting for a good report from this appointment. Because of the detachment, I felt a little heartless. On top of all that, I’m a person who cries at Hallmark commercials, but real-life emotional things I should cry about rarely tear me up. But now, I am starting to know how much I already love this baby. His heart evoked tears of love and joy from me. I can’t imagine how much I will love his kicks. His movement. His growth. And him, when I finally get to meet him!

1st Doc Visit: 9 Weeks! I mean 6 weeks! Yay!

Wally and I went to the doc for the first full checkup. It included:

  • Waiting. And peeing in a cup.
  • Weight and blood pressure taking.
  • Waiting. (No peeing this time.)
  • Check up. (Wally’s first experience at an OB checkup. New world for him!)
  • Waiting.
  • Ultrasound. More on this later.
  • Waiting.
  • Blood-taking.
  • Waiting.
  • Ask the doc time.
  • Done!

So during the exam, the doctor told us we were 9 weeks (based on the last cycle time) and our due date was October 14. Woo hoo! This meant we were almost done with the 1st trimester, which supposedly means I’m almost done with the mental stomach monster!

Then we went to the ultrasound. The doc said we’d have to do an internal one (which means through the privates). Ew. I told Wally, This is not how I pictured the first ultrasound. But when we went into the Ultrasound Tech’s room, she said she’d be doing an “unofficial” ultrasound, so the normal on the belly kind you see in the movies. Much better.

First the jelly, then the searching. Then more searching. She couldn’t find our baby! She asked if my cycles were normally 28 days, and while I was telling her they’re much longer, she found it. Heart beat. Little blips on the little radar screen. We couldn’t hear it, but she said those blips were it.

And she told us we’re only 6 weeks along, due October 30! Yay to our little Halloween baby! But boo to waiting longer. Oh well, I’m just glad the guy has a heart (a new heart, actually, new this week), and that we finally know when to expect to meet the little guy face to face.

Two Phone Calls, One Good, One Bad

The first weekday after taking the positive test, I was ready to call the OBGYN first thing to schedule our appointment. I wanted to hear the little guy’s heart beat. So all morning I thought about the “proper” way to tell the doc’s office I was pregnant. Does it sound silly if I claim I am, with absolute certainty? Shouldn’t they be the ones telling me I’m pregnant? Should I show my excitement when I say it? Should I tell them it was on purpose? Should I request the appointment, then say why? Or should I casually try to work it into the conversation? I practiced. Not in the mirror or anything, but I practiced.

So much fretting. All of it unnecessary. When I got through, I mustered up the most casual tone I could, and said, “I know I’m not due to come in until May for my annual appointment, but I took a positive pregnancy test and needed to come in sooner…I think…er…right?” So they said the earliest I could come in would be in two weeks, when I would be 9 weeks along. March 10! And that was it.

Then a few days later another phone call, but this one not so fun. I had some “spotting.” So of course, I was worried. It sounds so simple…just a little spotting, pish posh. But when it’s happening to you, believe me, it is not pish posh. My mind and Wally’s immediately turned toward doom. We tried comforting each other by looking online (Dr. Wally, studying at WebMD) and in books (my 479-page Dr. What to Expect), but while my at-home diagnosis made it sound okay, his made it sound terrible. Then I started finding bad possibilities, and so we decided to just call the actual doctor. The one who who went to medical school. And has years of experience diagnosing these things.

I got through to the on-call midwife, and held it together (barely) while I explained the situation. She sounded comforting and grandma-ish, and said it’s probably fine. As long as I wasn’t cramping or having what was like a menstrual cycle, we shouldn’t worry. She said I should increase my water (WHAT? I was already drinking 2 quarts or more a day, but okay), and that it could last a few days. As long as it wasn’t too much, it was okay.

So we sighed (sort of) and felt better (sort of) and waited. I haven’t written the past few days because we’ve been a little more tempered with our thrill. Light spotting lasted. A little here and there. We prayed a lot. One day I was mid-thought about something else entirely (a rare moment), when a thought that was not my own said, “Don’t diagnose it, Mollie, you are not a doctor.” That, I believe, was to help me stop running through all the negative possibilities in my head. It was still lasting yesterday. So we still were worried, and I decided to call again today if it still was worrisome. But to our happiness, no need. Today, it seems to have let up.

The most difficult part about all of this is not knowing, even with all the info available in books and online, what for sure is happening. I want to know with certainty that our little baby is okay. My only “signs” are a few pregnancy symptoms, which I assume mean that everything is coming along. But that is not enough right now, as it’s not the baby communicating. So I can’t wait for the first doctor visit, the ultrasound, where I hope to hear that little heart beating, our baby’s little tin can, sending up a message, “I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay.”

July 2018
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