I find La Bella Dotoressa difficult to warm to. She seems immune to the beatitude that my overflowing hormones have bestowed upon me. For the most part she is all business but as her business is babies, she seems reasonably pleased that I am providing one.
At the first scan she is running late; she just got out of surgery. “I just removed twenty- foura fybroidsa,” she says, and from the impersonal way she says it, it’s hard to know whether she removed them from a woman or a pig. The Pater is dealt with in the same peremptory way: “You are the father, yes?” She might just as easily have said ‘sperm donor.’ But we forget all about her when we hear the heartbeat, that exhilarating galloping of wild baby hooves.
I am over 35 and therefore require an amniocentesis test. We know the test carries a risk of miscarriage but our mantra has been “this is an exercise in getting pregnant.” But my body is already wedded to its new occupant, however tiny.
The Pater is tense, doing the worrying for me while I wallow in my hormone balloon.
In her brusqueness, La Bella Dotoressa tends to leave out information. The morning of the in-office amnio, we learn that she shares the practice with her husband who will be performing the test with her. At first I think it’s cute that they are having a marital spat until I realize that they are arguing over the two foot needle that is going into me, into my uterus and at my baby. The baby doesn’t panic, unlike me, but moves tactically as far from the needle as my womb will allow. It’s suddenly all wrong, it looks wrong, feels wrong, despite the impossible thinness of the needle I feel its path through me. The steel has exposed our mutual vulnerability.
La Bella Dotoressa belatedly informs me that I have to take the rest of the day off. I suppose I should know these things but as I haven’t read the 16 pregnancy books piled up at home, there’s a lot I don’t know.
The Pater and I retire to the diner for a leisurely omelet breakfast. I go back to the office and gingerly finish up some work before dumping the rest on my assistant. I am due to attend a birthday party that evening, so I go home to rest up. I take the next day off just in case and for good measure, the day after that.