What follows is a post about me visiting the ob/gyn. If you don't want to go there, turn away now, as there is exactly where I'm going.
I am also interspersing this post with completely irrelevant pictures from our garden as the alternative is to use relevant photos, and no one wants that.
As this was my third time at the ob/gyn, I had the routine down pat - I wore my long skirt and boots. The first time I visited I wore jeans; big mistake. But let me back up a bit and tell you what going to the gynaecologist's in Australia entails (just so you can understand what my expectations were).
I have been to three different obstetricians and about 8 different gynaecologists in my life (no, I don't have a problem, I just move a lot). They all went something like this:
Come in, shoot the breeze a bit, doctor ask a few questions about contraception, births, etc to establish history. Then you head over to the examination table, which has a curtain all the way around it. You go in, shut the curtain, take off your clothes from the waist down, lay on the table and cover your nether-regions with the provided towel/small sheet. The doctor asks if you are ready, then comes through the curtain, lifts the business end of the towel and does what they need to do.
It's a little different in France. After our initial chat we went into another room behind the room with his desk, filing cabinet etc. First thing I notice is the chair. No examination table, it's a chair, with stirrups for holding your legs up and open in a most embarrassing way.
Beyond the chair is another small room, which I can see is an ensuite bathroom. The doctor tells me I can go in there and strip from the waist down. I do so, and look all around the bathroom for a towel, sheet, anything. I entertain using the paper hand towel to make a little mini skirt, then just open the door a crack and ask him if there is a something I can use to cover myself. He smiles and says no, adding les françaises don't bother with that.
Right. Excellent. So, I open the door and there I am, bottomless in a small room with a man I have just met.
With poise I walk to the chair, before which the doctor is now seated on a rolling chair of his own. His chair is low. Fanny height you might say. The chair I have to sit on is high. So high there is a step I must negotiate before then getting into the examination chair. Have you ever climbed up onto something high while wearing no pants and a stranger sits on a low seat in front of you? Well, I've never worked at Shanahan's All-Night Beef and Titty Bar, so it was a new experience for me.
I told myself not to worry, this man looks at ten va-j-js a day, just sit down and get on with it.
Once I was settled, legs hooked over in the 'hello boys' position, the doctor told me my first ultrasound with him would be an internal ultrasound.
What in the what now? Ultrasounds so far (please note I have had three, count them, three children already) entail some gel on the tummy and a transducer run over my belly. Nothing internal about it.
The doc then picks up the wand which is attached to the ultrasound equipment. My God, that thing looks like a relay baton.
Alright, maybe I'm embellishing a bit.
He pulls out a latex glove and work one of the fingers over the end of the wand. He gives it a healthy squirt of lubricant (because there is ALWAYS time for lubricant**) and then advances toward me. At this stage I'll admit I thought about running. Then I remembered I was not wearing any pants.
Well played, monsieur, I thought, as I squeezed my eyes shut. You win this round.
It was as awkward and uncomfortable as you might expect, but greatly offset by seeing my baby for the first time and hearing that racing little heart beat.
'Everything looks wonderful ... normal', he said as he retreated, not even offering me a cigarette.
Later, with my clothes and dignity restored, he told me something equally awesome. 'No, you don't have to stop eating cheese. All cheeses are fine; soft, ripe, whatever, just make sure they have been properly refrigerated and handled." All was forgiven between us.
Now, I wear my long skirt and boots to my appointments. I can whip off my undies in the bathroom and stroll to the chair fully covered, hiking the skirt up once I have myself in the position.
* Do you get it? Is that title too risqué? It is isn't it? Sorry.
** There's always time for lubricant: