EXCERPT: 'Don't Say I Didn't Warn You'

After you have successfully provided a clean catch (which may have taken you two hours), you meet your "happy" obstetrical phlebotomist. These are usually women who have lurking latent sadistic tendencies, and they have been given the duty of filling a GINORMOUS vial with blood from your little veins to determine if this pregnancy is going swimmingly or if you need more vitamins. They tie off a little rubber tube at the top of your arm and look for a vein. I always looked away and tried to go to my happy place, but I found that there was no admittance to the happy place when there was a needle sticking in THE TENDEREST PART OF MY ARM.

From these blood tests they determine if you are iron deficient, in which case they give you even more iron than is in your normal prenatal horse pill (aka "vitamin"); this way, you can be even more constipated. Why do you need this much iron, really? Do they make you take this much iron in case you happen to be gestating an action hero? Finally, you make it to an exam room, where you are left with a paper gown and the biggest lie in all of health care: "The doctor will be in to see you in just a minute." After this whopper, you are left to amuse yourself: alone, close to naked, on the vinyl table covered with tissue paper. I found that if I got up and rearranged the things on the little cabinet, it distracted me for several minutes and confused the doctor and nurse whenever they finally got around to showing up.

But when you are done with that, you still have fourteen minutes to kill and by your eighth month your back does not want to sit up with no support for more than five of those. So you do what comes naturally; you lie down on that exam table to wait for The Good Doctor. This would be fine if he/she actually showed up "in a minute," but you lie there, and lie there, and lie there, waiting and waiting and waiting. By the time The Good Doctor finally does make it to your room, the combination of the vinyl and the paper and your sweat have created something akin to a papier-mâché that has you good and stuck to that table. And what, pray tell, is the first thing the doctor asks you to do?

"Ms. Renfroe, could you please scoot down to-ward the end of the table?"

Scoot down? Scoot down! I lay there thinking, Hey, Sparky—how's about you take that little stool with the little wheels and how's about you scoot UP, if that's not too big of an inconve-nience for you?

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