Sunday, February 22, 2009

Putting the guy in gyno

On the whole, my first gynecologist appointment was a resounding success. I’d never had much occasion to visit one until about two months ago, when my wife Kara was scheduled for her first ultrasound, so it was with some trepidation that I accompanied her into the office, even though Kara has spent years training me to hang around in women-only places, mostly by stranding me outside of the dressing room at Victoria’s Secret while I held her purse, leaving me to stare at the ground and wait for my handler to return like a horse tethered outside of a saloon.

As I followed Kara through the door into the waiting room, I half-expected to be met with shrieks and swung handbags. The ob/gyn office was a frontier whose threshold I’d just never really thought about crossing, kind of like the ladies’ room at work, which, incidentally, I’ve heard also contains couches. I don’t know what to make of this, except that the women’s room must be a very, very different place from the men’s room.

Most men would probably prefer to hang out on a couch at the loading docks, or beside the dumpster at a fishery than in the men’s room. I’ve been thinking about how badly injured I’d have to be to make resting on a couch in the men’s room seem like a good option, and even if faced with that situation, I’d probably just sit there long enough to apply the tourniquet before moving on.

In any event, the office was nothing to be scared of, and there was even another father-to-be in the waiting room gamely flipping through a Women’s Day magazine.

A few minutes later, we watched the screen on the ultrasound machine intently as the medical technician moved the wand, which had been slathered in ectoplasm, back and forth, trying to locate the baby that a dozen pregnancy tests had promised would be in there.

We held our breath for a few moments until she said, “Oh, there we go.” A tiny gray peanut with a visibly beating heart popped up on the screen.

“Hello, there,” I said as Kara squeezed my hand, our eyes transfixed on the first glimpse of our baby. The room filled with a rhythmic swish-swish of a tiny heartbeat.

“There’s only one heartbeat, right?” Kara asked.

“Yes, just one,” the technician replied. So much for topping the octoplet lady. We were at least six babies short of making it onto Oprah.

The technician printed us out a picture of the ultrasound right on the spot. It’s pretty cool that modern medical science is pushing the boundaries of how early you can start boring people with your baby pictures. I can never see anything even vaguely humanoid when I look at other people’s ultrasounds.

“Oh, look at his cute little nose,” I’ll say.

“Dude, that’s not his nose,” they’ll reply.

But when it’s your own kid, that gray static sure looks like something worth framing.

Perhaps the most unexpected thing I noticed during the appointment is that one of the chairs had little slips over the stirrups that featured advertisements for a new medication. Is there no place too sacred for advertisers to tread? Backstops at baseball games, tiny screens at the gas pump, nets in tennis matches and now the stirrups at the gynecologist. A few years back, the country rose up in outrage when advertisements for Spider Man 2 were proposed to be placed on the bases at some major league baseball games.

At the time, I thought, “Oh, okay, so there are some limits to where we’ll allow advertising. That’s nice.”

But now I take it back. Clearly, if the stirrup is not the limit, then the sky is.

You can smack Mike Todd with your purse at


  1. Stirrups? That's nothing, check out these unusual places to advertise.

    I'm short and I have a son name Isaac with red hair. Who am I?

  2. 90 words in the second sentence... run-on much? Guess Kara doesn't proofread anymore ;)

  3. In Europe direct to consumer advertising of prescription medication is not allowed and I'm down with that - it's totally manipulative.

  4. Chunks -- When did you have a son? And also, that was a cool link. Am I a tool for thinking that McDonald's billboard is pretty awesome?

    The Serge -- Yeah, she still proofreads 'em, so any mistakes are clearly her fault.

    JP -- Remember when your mom had those pens for that drug that said "Stool softener" in italics under the brand name? God, that was funny when we were twelve.

  5. Zoltrog finds your post amusing and congratulates you on successful breeding.


  6. By the way, your new blog headers are freaking fantastic, haha.

    - Andy

  7. Zoltrog and Andy -- Thank you both. Even though I didn't create them, I hope those headers will earn me leniency you rain doom upon us all.