“You’re cooking up a monster-sized baby in there, I see,” the doctor chuckled, looking down at my chart as he walked in the door. I nervously rearranged the flimsy piece of paper covering my otherwise naked nether regions, my Easter Bunny sock-clad feet embarrassingly poking out at the bottom. I was at my bi-weekly perinatologist appointment to make sure my cervix hadn’t gone from Seacrest short to Olsen Twin short or to, you know, no cervix at all. The ultrasound technician had already taken a precursory look at Baby Freedom, determining that he was consistently measuring 2-3 weeks bigger than his gestational age of not quite 30 weeks, and estimated to weigh four pounds. Or, as my doctor, one of the top perinatologists in the country, had just called him: “monster-sized.”
“Yeah. Apparently,” I laughed uncertainly.
“No ‘apparently’ about it,” Dr. S retorted, adding: “Four pounds? He’s a big boy.”
Well, you know what they say: big baby, tiny cervix! At least that’s what I say. Because all of my thoughts and conversations revolve around my cervix these days. No wonder I don’t get more visitors.
“What do babies usually weigh at this stage?” I gulped.
“Oh, not even three pounds,” the doctor said, as the nurse placed my feet on the metal stirrups. Not the most dignified place for the Easter Bunny, for sure, but those socks had rarely left my feet since going on bed rest. A cervical good luck charm, if you will. This was not the time to jinx the baby’s health with a pair of freakin’ trouser socks. Dignity be damned.
“Whoa!” I exclaimed.
“Are you okay?” the nurse asked, quickly repositioning my stirrups.
“Yes, yes. I was just… thinking about how big the baby is.”
“Good. Then relax your knees.” I did what I thought was loosening my knees. “No. Put them out to the side,” the nurse instructed, gently pressing down on them.
Hell, why was I worried about my Easter Bunny socks? I had my legs spreadeagled in metal stirrups, waiting to be vaginally probed to take a peek at my “short cervix,” for crying out loud. Holiday-themed footwear was the least of my pride’s concerns.
And… in goes the probe. Lovely.
“You’re a Philly fan like my husband, right?” I asked the doctor, trying to distract myself from the fact that the probe was getting more intimate with me than my husband would be allowed to do for weeks, if not months, thanks to my height-challenged cervix. I couldn’t help but feel put-out that the probe hadn’t even bought me dinner beforehand, or wooed me with a cheesy pick-up line: Do you want to do math? Let’s add a bed, subtract your clothes, divide your legs and multiply!
Actually, that very suggestion had gotten me in this situation to begin with. (*AHEM* Mr. Candy.)
“Sure am. The Phillies look good this year,” Dr. S replied as an image of my cervix filled the big-screen TV.
“That’s what my husband tells me.”
“Holding steady,” the doctor nodded.
“Oh. Right,” I sighed with slight relief. Not only because my cervix hadn’t worsened, but because the probe had finished having its way with me. Next time, I demand at least a pre-probe shrimp cocktail.
“So just keep doing what you’re doing,” the doctor suggested.
Meaning: pretty much nothing.
“And continue cooking up my monster-sized baby?”
“HUGE,” Dr. S agreed, gesturing widely for emphasis.
Huge, he said. Good thing my knees didn’t have to relax for another two weeks because they instinctively closed in fearful anticipation.
“My daughter wasn’t big,” I noted hopefully. “But my side of the family does often have nine-to-eleven pound babies.” The doctor picks up on the quiver in my voice, reassuringly pats my hand.
“Don’t worry. It’s your second kid. Your cervix is already short. Delivering a ten-pound baby should be no problem at all!”
Yeah. Easy for him to say.
But, as I tell my cervix, whom I really do call Seacrest, better to be big than too small! (What? Don’t all women name their shortened cervices after TV hosts? Holla to all the li’l Regis Philbins out there!)