But we're here, so we might as well get started! I get over my shock, drop my drawers and lumber up onto the table. The tech got started and then the office gal popped in to take her order for In-N-Out Burger. We put in our order too and had a good chuckle. The mood started off so light! The tech did the usual extensive scan but she wasn't nearly as chatty and informative as usual. Then she stepped outside to tell Dr S her findings. I heard her say that the ventricles looked a little dilated. Which ventricles? The heart? The brain? Then the beloved Dr S came in. He looked like he was on his last leg. He sat on the stool and hung his head over his folded arms - not an easy task for a man his size. "I am exhausted," he says. "I am so tired! How about you? How are you feeling my dear?" and again with the hand holding. Ever since Hannah, Dr S had made me feel more like his daughter than his patient. So I get right to the point and ask him which ventricles look dilated. "The brain" he says, "but let's look and see." He repeated what was already an extensive ultra sound. He had to be sure of the exact location of the Baby before poking any needles in there. He said that the heart looked fine, with a very small calcium foci not uncommon at this stage. He said the brain ventricles did measure a little dilated, as well as slight dilation to both kidneys. He asked again how far along we were and then said, "Oh of course they all look big. The ventricles start large and get smaller as the brain grows." But I wasn't really comforted by that news. His demeanor was just a little off, more than I could account for with fatigue.
Next he prepped my bulging belly for the amnio. While Dr S was scrubbing my tummy, The Beloved started making motions that he could do it if I wanted. I told Dr S that he was offering. Dr S jokingly said he'd demonstrate this time and then he could do the next patient. He even said, "In fact, you can do the next one at home. You don't even have to bother with an office visit." He explained everything he was doing and let me know he wasn't stabbing me yet, just pressing a small hollow tube against my belly to "Mark The Spot!" And then the tech started scanning again to make sure The Newest hadn't moved. And then the poke. First a huge hollow bore stylus through the skin and muscle. Not too bad. Then the first poke into my uterus. And the second. And the third. There's a lot of scar tissue on my uterus and it was very hard to puncture. The Beloved later said that he was waiting for the doctor to jump up on the table and straddle me to get his weight behind the pushing force. Let me tell you, that hurt like #$@&! And it continued to hurt. With The Youngest, it only hurt for the puncturing. With this one, it hurt long, long after. Deep, zinging electrical pain. The doc threaded the catheter in and got the fluid. Nice and clear he said. And when he pulled the stylus out I thought he was dragging my uterus and both kidneys out with it! And a few feet of intestine! Crap! That hurt! It continued to hurt for a good ten minutes and Dr S said he could see my uterus contracting, not to worry, it was normal considering he'd had to poke so many times. The Beloved stood on one side holding my hand and wiping my face, and the beloved Dr S stood on the other side holding my hand and wiping my face. There's always some way to wind up with tears in your ears.
So once I had a band aid over the spot, and my uterus finally relaxed, Dr S started scanning again. He saw no evidence of bleeding. He was focused again on the brain. I asked him to let us know if he saw the Baby's 'parts' but he said simply, "That's not what I'm concerned with right now." It really threw a wet blanket on The Beloved getting to see the baby. When he was all finished he repeated the post instructions, said it was okay to drive through In-N-Out Burger, and sent us home.
I called my good friend Bits on the way home. She knows about these things and is still one of The Few who know we are pregnant. She comforts me and by the time we get through the drive through I am able to tell The Beloved what she said and he feels a little better too. But just a little.
Once home we ate our burgers and made a call to The Other Mommy to let the kids know that Mommy and Daddy were home safe and sound. Then we took a nap, as ordered. The Beloved tucks me in. Always. I think this started when I had my stroke...but since the stroke my memory is shot, so I don't really know for sure when it started. I'm pretty sure that the first time was just after we'd gotten home from the hopspittle and I was getting into bed to nap. My right arm had been a limp dead fish that I had no control over, but was amazingly painful at all times. He'd gotten my right arm positioned 'just so' on the pillow and he covered me up. I do know that he's done it every time since. Every time. Even when we've been bickering or are unhappy with each other. And this time as he leaned in to kiss me I whispered in a tiny voice, "I'm scared." He knew. He was too. So we spooned and slept and rested our souls.