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Delayed doctor's visit.

When I finally make it in to see the doctor, she will take a deep breath and step away from the examination table, shaking her head.

"I'm sorry," she'll say. "This is all wrong."

"What do you mean, wrong?"

"If you continue with this pregnancy, both you and the baby will be in serious jeopardy. I know it's difficult, but you may want to consider termination."

"But it's the 12th week! I've been trying to see someone in your profession for over a month. You fucking fuckers! So I have to decide, like, today?"


"You fucking fuckers."

Folic acid.

Before I got pregnant, I was on a steady diet of ramen soup and 99-cent grab bags of Doritos, garnished with the occasional import beer. They say you should be taking a folic acid supplement a full six months before conception in order to reduce the likelihood of birth defects. Paranoia, you say? One of my closest friends has a child with spina bifida. He's beautiful, but his spinal cord does not connect to his legs. He has no feeling in his legs. My friend didn't find out until his birth. The only thing she could have done differently was fill her body with folic acid. And now it's too late.

To make matters worse, my pre-natal vitamins make me vomit. They smell awful. They leave a wretched aftertaste. Fortunately, for calcium, there's Tums, and god bless GlaxoSmithKline, they have the good sense to manufacture the tablets with the flavor and consistency of Flintstones chewables. 


I have weird, sharp pains in my abdomen. The women in my family say I should stick to bland food, and that I'm in strappingly good condition, but it makes me nervous. Yesterday morning I wasn't as nauseous as usual. I consulted the internet, which urged me to seek medical attention if I experienced a sudden loss of pregnancy symptoms. I called the emergency line. The nurse on the other end spoke to me with sweetness and tickled patience -- I could picture her in one of those inset bubbles you see on television commercials for telephone operators who have to deal with particularly neurotic customers -- and she thought I'd be fine waiting until my regularly scheduled doctor's visit.

It doesn't speak to me.

Why oh why do these women in my family talk about the messages I'm receiving from the baby? I get no messages. I'm just sick, and exhausted. Late at night, I press my hand against my belly. I know from what I read that the baby has a heartbeat, has had one for several weeks. I try to feel that heartbeat. Now I understand why the sonogram is so important, why fictional characters cry when they see the barely discernible image. Proof. Baby. Yo. Squirm, or something. Peanut, hey, are you down there? That's the one thing the doctor can do for me, I think, put my ears to that stethoscope so I can hear the beating going bip, bip, bip like a factory in miniature.

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