I went to see my long-suffering GP again today, who I am sure thinks I am slightly unhinged. I don’t know what pregnancy/birth/baby has done to me, but before any of this, I never ever saw a doctor, about anything. However, since then, I have frequented the surgery more times than I care to remember.
My relationship with the staff at the surgery (which includes GPs, midwives, nurses, receptionists, even other patients) began on the happiest day of my life, 31st March 2006.
I was standing in my classroom, during an open-day, chatting to a heavily pregnant parent about how broody I was feeling, when suddenly I went weak in the legs and felt dizzy. That was the moment, whilst the parent was telling me not to rush into it and enjoy being married, that I knew. I phoned Tom, and said: ‘I think we’ve bloody well done it, I think I’m pregnant!’ To which Tom replied: ‘I think you are too, in fact I knew from the moment of conception when you woke me up in the middle of the night and told me that you could see little animals in our bedroom dancing in the moonlight.’ He said he thought that was unusual behaviour, even for me, and realised something must be happening to me. I decided we would make an appointment with my GP the following morning, so that he could confirm whether we were right or not. I was too scared to pee on a stick in my own bathroom. For a reason I can’t really understand or explain, I needed to see a doctor.
The following morning, we arrived at the surgery half an hour early. Tom and I sat in the waiting room in silence, after I had barked at him and told him to shut up after he asked me why I hadn’t just peed on a stick. Eventually the doctor called me in. I asked Tom to stay in the waiting room because I was still feeling annoyed with him. I sat down opposite the doctor and started crying. ‘I think I might be pregnant,’ I wailed. He gave me a sympathetic look and said something like: ‘Oh dear, what makes you think that?’ ‘I am two days late and I saw dancing animals in my bedroom two weeks ago.’ He looked bemused and told me that I shouldn’t start fretting just yet. I quickly put him right and told him that it would be the most amazing thing in the world if I were pregnant. So he did a test and we sat there in silence for what seemed like hours waiting for the result. He eventually picked up the stick, examined it for a ridiculously long time, looked somewhat surprised, and gave me the best words I had ever heard: ‘Well...it is positive’. I started crying again, ran out into the waiting room, grabbed Tom, unable to speak, and hauled him into doctor’s consultation room. After a brief talk we left the surgery armed with leaflets, not before the doctor shook Tom by the hand and said: ‘Well done son’. This is the day that my beautiful relationship with the surgery started. I was four weeks pregnant.
From then on, I found myself at the surgery, probably fortnightly, bending some medical professional’s ear with all sorts of ridiculous, sometimes imaginary ailments… bump is too small; bump is too big; bump is wrong shape; bump not moving enough; Tom can’t hear baby heartbeat through toilet roll tube; I accidentally ate a prawn etc.
And there I was today, at the surgery, waiting for my appointment. Actually it was Betty’s appointment but I decided she didn’t need to be there so left her at home with Tom. The doctor came out and called for Betty. I jumped up and said ‘I’m not Betty, but I am here to discuss Betty.’ To which he cracked half a smile and ushered me in. He then listened patiently while I talked urgently about Betty’s constipation. He wearily informed me that there was nothing he could do without her actually being there, and kindly suggested that next time I should bring her along too. I agreed, and then asked him if he’d mind quickly looking at a blister on my foot.
When I got home I mentioned to Tom that the doctor was looking very tired and pale. Tom asked me how he had seemed before my appointment. I laughed, but Tom was looking serious.