When I walked into my doctor’s office, he extended his hand and smiled.
“Your numbers look great,” he said.
“I was bleeding this morning,” I said. I felt like the one who tells everyone at the party, “The police are here.”
My doctor looked mildly but not overly concerned.
“Well, let’s see what’s going on,” he said, motioning for me to lie down so he could do an ultrasound. “I don’t know how many women have come through here and said they were bleeding. How many?” he said to the nurse, not waiting for an answer. “Three million?”
“Make it three million and one,” I said.
He inserted the wand, and as he looked at the ultrasound monitor, I stared at his face for signs of disappointment.
“Look here,” he said.
“Here. By the ‘x,’ “ he said. “That’s the fetal sac. And that there, that’s the baby.”
It was tiny, like a pine nut or a brine shrimp. And there was just one.
“You don’t see another one?” I asked.
“No. Just one,” he said.
And then there was one. I was now one baby away from having no baby. I felt a little more exposed. With two, there was always that extra one. In fact I’d told my friend, Patti, a nurse who sometimes gives me my progesterone shot, that she could have the other one. Still, I was grateful I had one. But as I looked at the baby on the monitor, it seemed to just sit there in the sac, motionless. I would have felt better if I could tap the screen and watch it move around a little bit, like a goldfish in a bowl. In fact as a general rule, it would be good if I could tap my stomach every now and again and feel the baby swimming around, just to reassure myself I was still pregnant.
“Can you see a heart beating?” I asked.
“No, we wouldn’t see that yet,” he said. “But it looks exactly how it’s supposed to look. Exactly.”
I started to whimper a little bit.
“Stop being so nervous,” he said.
“Do you think maybe I had a twin, and the blood I saw this morning was the twin miscarrying?”
“That’s a very good point. Maybe,” he said.
Why didn’t he think of that?
He warned me I’d probably see some spotting for the next couple of days, but right now, everything looked fine. He started to leave.
“Wait!” I said, jumping off the examining table. The sheet that was covering me fell to the floor. I was naked from the waist down. I started rifling through the front pocket of my knapsack looking for the sheet of paper on which I’d jotted down my questions, as my doctor stood behind me.
“Why don’t you get dressed, and I’ll come back,” the doctor said.
When he returned, I asked him about jogging
Swimming or bicycling?
Just don’t eat anything raw.
Not just yet.
I walked out of Cornell and back to the subway station. At the bottom of the stairs, there was an organ player and a singer, belting out a song. I began to sway with the music. As he reached the chorus, I joined in.
“My girl, my girl, my girl. Talkin’ ‘bout, my girl,” I sang as the subway pulled up.