Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dr. Fuckhead's Tedious Carnival of Madness: We all sit the same

I am endlessly, immeasurably grateful that I haven't had any of the really horrific, weird side-effects of pregnancy that plague so many women. My skin has always sucked, so that's nothing new, but I didn't get any weird new dark patches, unexpected hair, or funky streaks anywhere on my body. I did have a nasty streak in the middle there where I just didn't know how to eat the right things, or the right times at which to eat them, so I would turn into kind of a psychotic monster when my blood sugar dropped...but at no point have I gotten irrationally hormonal without my own stupidity being somehow at fault. I've definitely felt more fragile during the last few weeks, emotionally and physically, but I attribute a lot of that to the fact that I am coming to terms with this massive change in responsibility and purview; I no longer live just for myself, your Dad, and beyond that, our friends and family; now there's you. I didn't get the magically lush and voluminous hair that so many get, but I also haven't mysteriously lost a ton of it, so I'll call that a win.

I have, however, developed some absolutely hideous joint pain, mostly in my hips. I can only pray it goes away once there isn't another human being jockeying with my bones for space in my lower abdomen. This has cause me to pick up the unfortunate habit of shifting my sitting position constantly, stretching and putting myself into weird poses pretty much any time I'm stuck in one place for more than a few minutes, and while I am not waddling (yay!), I am definitely walking at a somewhat affected pace.

This means that I sit, walk, and generally move like every single other pregnant woman in Dr. Fuckhead's waiting room. We all sit pushed back a bit in our chairs, hips conspicuously forward from shoulders because sitting up straighter means that a baby is practically in our lungs. (We also all inhale fairly deeply every few minutes, and I can only assume it's for the shared reason that we just aren't getting the oxygen we need from normal breathing.) We all cross, un-cross, re-cross, and shift our legs constantly. When one of us gets up, we all lean forward, push up against the chair arms, and generally make some sort of relieved or disgruntled noise as we do so; it's practically a performance. Today seems to be "women roughly as pregnant as I am" day, as all the other women here seem to have bellies of comparable size to mine. When I walked in, you made the seventh pregnant belly in the room.

Much like last week, I am powerfully glad that I scheduled such a late appointment. Even 4:00 is late enough that the waiting room was nearly empty when I hit the twenty-minute wait mark, but I was left with some interesting folks to observe. There was the requisite young-ish couple, the requisite couple of 30-40-ish-year-old women in L.L. Bean couture, and a scattered handful of thoroughly unremarkable women by themselves who looked the standard mix of disgruntled and calm that Dr. Fuckhead's waiting room forces one to feel after a long enough string of waits.

A woman in her late thirties or early forties had been sitting by herself since I came in, and did not appear to be pregnant. I'm learning that there is an entirely different look that people shoot at the door when they are waiting for a person rather than an appointment, and she was giving the door that look. When a teenage girl came out, she sighed and kept texting with resignation. The girl sat down next to her holding a pile of ultrasound pictures and a printout of some kind. They spoke quietly to each other for a few minutes before both started crying almost silently. Clearly, something was wrong...but what? The mother (I can only assume she is the mother) was trying to convince the daughter of something...but what? The daughter kept offering to do something and go somewhere...but what, and where? I overheard the phrases "that's what you told the D.A." and "I asked to have contact," mixed in with low-toned arguments over what one person had requested, or couldn't remember saying. I suppose this will just stay a mystery, but in my over half-hour wait, here's what I fantasized:

This teenaged girl, who never considered herself especially beautiful, was seduced by some B- or C-list celebrity. He picked her up from school in a fancy car, bought her all the trendy...trend...things...like purses, boots, and virtually disposable electronics, and she fell head over heels in love with him. The condition? She couldn't tell anyone - friends, family, or especially the press - that they were an item, or he would call the whole thing off, sever all ties, and deny ever having met her. Being a mere sixteen years old, her ability to keep a secret was just plain nonexistent. Their relationship was soon plastered all over Facebook, Twitter, and her school's rumor mill. The son of a particularly vicious investigative reporter, who happened to have a massive crush on the girl, found out about their affair the day she got a positive pregnancy test. A dubious photo of the illicit couple was taken on some kid's iPhone, posted to Facebook, and within hours, became a local meme the likes of which the town had never seen. The celebrity held true to his word and attempted to cut and run...but the baby! She cried and cried to his answering machine, begging him to marry her and rescue her from a family now stricken with shame and disgust for her choices, but all he did in return was send a lawyer to hound her for full custody. Cleverly, the girl retained a publicity-hounding local attorney who specialized in high-profile, flashy cases to defend her parental rights while doing everything possible to strip the celebrity of resources and reputation alike. Five months of flame-warring legal tribulations later, the girl finds herself the recipient of not only a generous settlement, but full custody of their child with the power to supervise visits between said child and the now utterly disgraced celebrity. A war is won for unwed teenaged mothers, but is a lesson really learned...?

When I saw this girl in the waiting room, I wanted so badly to think that she had earned her place in the Tedious Carnival through some exciting and ultimately personally beneficial chain of events. More likely, she got knocked up by some teenaged boyfriend, and the custody business probably didn't even have to do with her child; she was probably the child in question. Still, as my wait wrapped up (with a totally normal ultrasound), I was left with the odd revelation that even that girl - regardless of her circumstances, however mundane or bizarre they may be - would be waddling, weight-shifting, aching, and groaning just like me in a matter of weeks. In Dr. Fuckhead's Tedious Carnival of Madness, we all sit the same.

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