The paper beneath me crinkled as I moved while sitting on that table in the doctor’s office. It was no different than any other doctor’s office with the sterile silver trays and generic white walls and that smell of disinfectant and Clorox. I sat on the brown leather examining room table with the tissue paper spread on top. I always wondered why the paper was so thin. Did it even do any good?
A poster of a woman’s inner body covered one wall. Just what I need to see right now, I thought. The doctor had left and said she’d return with the test result. I dreaded the test result, yet I knew it had to be true. Or maybe I was wrong. Maybe I really did have that weird disease that made test results different than what they showed? Maybe I was just imagining things.
I looked at the stethoscope hanging from a hook on the wall, and the scary tools on the tray. One looked like a plastic hammer and another looked like the torture device used for those women yearly checkups. I remembered sitting in doctor’s offices with kids who were fascinated by all that stuff, although their rooms were a bit different than the ones for the grown-ups. The kids wanted to try out the stethoscope and bang on each other’s knees with that plastic hammer thing. Ahh, the kids. My three kids who were now seven, eight and ten – all well into elementary school. In spite of my full-time job and the fact that I was a single working mom, we did manage to have a lot of fun. I could throw them all in the car and head for Silver Creek Falls or a lake, or Little North Fork. They were content to swim and have a picnic lunch. We were into Cub Scouts and whatever sports the boys were into – soccer, basketball, even baseball. Melissa liked theater and dance. Once a year, we’d drive to the San Francisco Bay Area to visit my Dad and we’d camp in his small apartment and do all kinds of fun stuff like visit the City. Of course, I’d show them the neighborhood where I grew up next to Golden Gate Park and the Haight Ashbury.
I breathed deeply, still waiting for the doctor, wondering what was taking so long. Why should I even wonder, I thought, as I looked at another poster that showed how much women were supposed to weigh. I cringed. Weight is relative. Right? When is she returning with those test results? Or would the doctor even know? Why wouldn’t she know? I mean, I sort of knew, but I wasn’t sure.
I looked at my watch. Uh oh, it’s after 2:00 pm. I had to get out of here to pick up the kids from school. I’d taken the afternoon off work and promised to pick them up so they didn’t have to go to afternoon daycare as they usually did. I promised we’d do something cool and fun, but I wasn’t sure what. It would be a surprise, I said. I yawned as I continued to wait. I was tired, and I wished I could lie down on that table and take a nap. But anxiety along with the tiredness filled my head as I breathed in some sort of antiseptic that always exists in doctor’s offices and clinics.
Finally, I heard a light knock at the door as if I wouldn’t be decent even though I wasn’t in a compromising position today.
The doctor was a small, Filipino woman who always donned a big smile, well usually, it seemed to me. She wore the usual white doctor’s jacket and a stethoscope hung down from her small frame. She held a clipboard with papers and a pen hung down on a chain from it. Her hair was pulled up in a bun, and she was probably in her 40’s or 50’s.
“Hello there!” she said, cheerfully, as she looked at the clipboard. “I have good news!”
“Okay.” I was so nervous. My whole body itched, and I wanted to scratch. That’s what happened when I was super anxious. Then there was that tight feeling in my stomach.
“You are pregnant! About 14 to 15 weeks! That’s why you’re so tired all the time and…” she sounded so excited.
The entire room spun around me and suddenly I felt as if I would pass out from shock. But I knew this to be true. Why was I so shocked? This can’t be happening to me, not now, now when I’m a 36-year-old single mom with three school-age kids and a boyfriend I wasn’t sure about.
“You’re as white as a ghost!” the doctor said, sounding genuinely concerned.