When I walked into the midwife’s office on Tuesday, armed with my sheaf of medical records, I thought I was fully prepared for the appointment. But I was greeted with, “And your blood pressure, height, and weight?” I repeated “My blood pressure?” back to her, hoping to indicate that I needed a bit more information, but it seems to have only made me appear slow. Eventually I learned that there was a machine in the clinic lobby where I should determine those three things before coming in to my appointment.
Still reeling from the idea that I’d be taking my own measurements in the middle of a crowded waiting room, I backed out and confronted the machine. I probably wasn’t at my sharpest: Katherine had kept us up for the previous couple of nights, so I was having to work pretty hard to keep up with curveballs. When I put my arm through the blood pressure cuff it made a series of loud beeps–and continued beeping. Somewhat embarrassed at making such a ruckus–small room, lots of people, loud noise–I had a hard time not ripping my arm out of the cuff when it didn’t let go after a couple of minutes. But I was, eventually, released.
Then I confronted the height and weight machine. Simple, right? The scale was small, so I had to balance carefully on the back edge so as not to touch the machine in front. I know I’m pregnant, but I’m not THAT large just yet. Then I bent down to catch the screen at the right angle only to read “Stand up straight for height determination.” Okay, so a quick pop back up so that I wouldn’t be measured incorrectly, but then I needed to duck again in order to read the subsequent directions, which were rolling across the small screen at the height of my stomach. Eventually the machine decided it was through with me, beeped loudly, and printed out a receipt with my height and weight on it. Most of the paper, though, was devoted to information about my body mass index (BMI). Thanks, guys. I was surprised it didn’t also offer me a lecture about proper eating and exercise habits to encourage me to bring my weight down.
The confusion continued throughout the appointment, as I tried to convert the midwife’s terms to something I recognized. Have I had a scan? The sudden image of myself getting stuck as they slid me into an MRI machine (“brain scan” being the only term that came to mind) probably didn’t help me come up with “ultrasound” any more quickly. And it continued . . .