Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tails from the stirrups!

I’ve been thinking about my own experience with pregnancy ever since I heard from my good friends, Megan and Brad, about their upcoming addition(s) to their family. (Note – I said 1st) I’m expecting them to have lots and lots of babies, twins if we're lucky. Anyway, I was twenty years old when I had the first little inkling that I just might be pregnant. I had gone through the checklist and was pretty sure I had all the symptoms. Let’s see, sore boobies - check, nausea - check, fatigue like I’d never known - check. Bare in mind this was in the days before ultra sound, at home pregnancy tests or birthing centers. You had to wait until you were practically showing before you could confirm you were indeed pregnant.

I was working at the University of Oklahoma, Civil Engineering department at the time and decided to tell my female co-workers about my suspicions. They immediately began sharing their knowledge on the subject. It seems that women don’t actually have to HAVE babies to be an expert on the subject.

The first thing they advised me to do was call and schedule an appointment with an OBGYN. That seemed logical. Then they proceeded to tell me who NOT to call. It seems every one of them either had either had some horrific experience with one or knew someone who did. This left me no choice but to open the yellow pages, close my eyes and just pick one. My theory was that if I hadn’t heard any horror stories about him/her then bingo that’s my guy.

After the doctor had been selected I then made the mistake of asking if there was anything else I needed to do before the appointment. I was thinking more along the line of some needed medical information such as family history etc. but instead they asked me if I had ever had a pelvic exam. Being dumber than a rock I answered no, what’s that? Not to worry, all these experienced women were more than eager to share this little tidbit of information with their young novice. They went into vivid detail describing feet in stirrups and cold instruments and as I grew more and more apprehensive they told me that in addition it would be necessary for me to shave my uhhhhhh girl parts before the appointment. Slightly shocked but faintly recollecting somewhere in the back of my head that I had heard something about this barbaric ritual before and how it was somehow a pre-requisite for childbirth. I decided to accept their instruction without question.

Now, I’m not double-jointed or even flexible in any way for that matter so I wasn’t sure how I was going to accomplish the task at hand but what I lacked in dexterity I more than made up in determination. The morning of my scheduled appointment I went to work and with minimal blood loss managed to achieve the desired outcome. I then set out to meet my new doctor and present my handy work, so to speak. My chosen OBGYN was Dr. Haddock a man about my father’s age. He had been an obstetrician in Norman for many years and I liked him immediately. He had that familiar paternal quality that I found reassuring.

After the usual paperwork and list of general questions his nurse explained how I needed to undress and lay down on the exam table. She told me to cover myself with the paper sheet provided and then showed me how to put my feet in the stirrups. She said to scoot way down to the end of the table and wait for Dr. Haddock to return. Now, I had been prepped for this experience so I thought I knew just what was required. I did just as I had been instructed and managed to get myself on the table and ready for my debut.

Dr. Haddock came back into the room and with his back to me began laying out his instruments while at the same time instructing me to scoot way down to the end of the table. Now, I took this to heart and really scooted until my knees were just about eye level. Dr. Haddock turned around and then told me what he would be doing next. He told me to relax as he began to lift the sheet. I barely felt the breeze hit my now “bare” essentials when he dropped the sheet and excused himself from the room.

I had already begun to realize I had been duped by my co-workers even before I heard the laughter from the hall, the tears were beginning to well up in my eyes by the time Dr. Haddock returned to the room. He and his nurse were barely containing their giggles when Dr. Haddock slowly lifted the sheet again exposing my new Telly Savalas look once more. With a self restrained snicker in his voice he asked me why I had done this little barber job on myself and had I used a machete. I told him about the advise of my co-workers and he chuckled replying, “Well, they were partially accurate. The hospital will shave you when you are ready to deliver but it is not required at this time.” He then added, “You are going to be a little uncomfortable for the next few months.”

I was so discombobbled by the whole ordeal I forgot I had driven my car to my appointment and walked the two miles to my home. Oh, and the doctor was right…..It was a little uncomfortable for the next few months until it was harvest time again.


kenju said...

How very funny now - but I'm sure it wasn't then. I think the shaving part was the worst part of delivery!! What did your friends say afterward?

oklhdan said...

They just laughed and couldn't believe I actually did it!