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Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Grey Whiskers

The nurse looked away. “Leave the room, please,” he said. The nurse turned and walked away from us. She pulled the curtains that separated the consultation room from the nurse’s room. I could hear her chatter with the other nurses. Inaudible noises from beyond the four walls.

“Why didn’t you pick up my calls?” he asked. He took the strap and tied it just beyond my elbow. I looked away as he tapped my arm. I always looked away. While I was the sort of person who really needed to know everything, I was also quite afraid of really graphic scenes. Like drawing blood. And bloody hell, there were three tubes to fill today. “Take a deep breathe,” he said, “It’ll be over very soon. No pain, I promise.”

First tube, second tube and then the third. He was right. It was quite painless after the initial prick. He swabbed it when it was over, placed a cotton across it and folded my hand. He gave my hand a gentle squeeze and kissed it. His facial hair gently grazed across my fingers.

“Don’t you know that I love you?”


I could hear his laughter as soft as it was. “What do you mean?” he asked.

“Fragile,” I repeated myself. He was keying some data on his laptop when the nurse helped me onto the bed. “I feel fragile.” My fingers were fiddling over my huge belly. The white ceiling and a patch of screen with flashing data were above me. He came through the white curtains and sat to my right. I looked over and saw him sat there, like all the months before this. But the feeling was different.

“You don’t have to feel fragile,” he said. He took the ultrasound scanner and ran it across my stomach. The moment he touched my stomach, I heard my baby’s heart beat. 157 beats per minute, like how a healthy baby should. “You needn’t feel fragile at all.”

I have never felt so vulnerable in my life. I detest visiting doctors and try my best to avoid them. Avoid doctors like a plague, I thought to myself. Going to a doctor on monthly basis felt foreign and took a lot of getting used to. He was a stranger who became a lesser stranger as the months and weeks passed.

“You don’t have to feel fragile,” he said. He reached over, grabbed a tissue and wiped my stomach. “You don’t have to feel fragile because I am right here and I will make sure that you will be alright.”


“Ewwww,” Eve said. We were baking muffins on the last Saturday before we became mothers. I developed a habit of baking muffins to pass the last two weeks quickly. It was far more exciting than sitting on your ass waiting to birth a baby.

I am no Martha Stewart. I baked from readymade Pilsbury recipes. Before baking trays of muffins, I indulged in sewing. I managed to sew a proper blanket for my baby and was mighty proud of it. It was straight where it was supposed to be straight and right angled at the appropriate corners. After the blanket, I sew a few skirts. The working prototype was a skirt for PY’s daughter. I sew a purple skirt for PY and eventually a cheerful skirt for myself before the sewing machine died, hence the muffins which now sits in my fridge.

“Ewwww,” Eve repeated again. Her face was all bunched up in a grimace. “Dr. V, sexy? Ewwww.” She popped a muffin in her mouth. See, muffins were (and still are) pleasant looking little delightful gifts. I must have baked enough to feed a small nation. “Why Dr. V?”

“Don’t know,” came my reply. “Maybe because he has a moustache that reminds me of my dad,” I said in the most nonchalant manner. I popped a chocolate muffin into my mouth. We poured the next batch of muffin mixture into the tray of 12. “I love his composure,” I said after giving it some thought.

That was true. I loved his composure and the way he talked. He was not a great talker, which I found very appealing. I never liked men who talked like great salesmen of the year. The way he looked intently into my eyes and the way he carried himself was attractive to me. “He’s so ah pek,” Eve said. Dr. V was ah pek (trans: uncle) to Eve but to me, he was perfect.


“So what’s the big drama today?” he said as he chuckled. “Nothing that big today,” I said with a smile. I sat on the chair next to him. I must have been like every other patient he had met that day – pregnant and feeling bloaty. “I just wanted to show you my strawberry mark,” I said.

He looked puzzled, so I stood up and turned my back to him. I lifted my right foot and showed him my second toe. “There,” I said, pointing to the red dot, the size of my little finger nail. He gave a chuckle.

“See? It looks like a strawberry mark, isn’t it?” I asked, pointing at the red little specks resembling a tiny wild strawberry in the forest of Sweden during Mid Summer.

Dr. V laughed and waved his hand, inviting me to sit on the patient’s chair. He looked absolutely delightful like my muffins, with his mop of grey hair, geeky glasses and moustache. He keyed some data into his patient database. Then looking at me, he said, “It is nothing. It is just a virus and it will go away. Don’t worry.” He gave me a pat on my right hand.


There are currently three men in my life – The Bachelor and my two obstetricians. It is amazing how the two doctors pop up in my conversations with The Bachelor. It happened at the most unlikely places and times, such as while we were trying to reignite the sparks between the sheets.

“Will you ask Dr. L about this during your next visit?” he said, fiddling with the condom. He hates the condom and I hate it too. It however was not the cause for my pregnancy. We were happy together and wanted to have a baby. Condoms or the lack of it was not the reason for Sunshine who is now sleeping in his cot next to me.

“I will ask my sexy Dr. V,” I said, snuggling closer to The Bachelor. I had those dreamy doe eyes whenever I mentioned Dr. V. He is so yummy, I thought to myself. Dr. L was good but Dr. V is just MMMMMM with a capital M!

I guess the intimacy with one’s obstetrician/gynaecologist is to be expected. He is, after all, the next legitimate man to take a close look at your Fifi and not get slapped for it. Next to your life partner, a obstetrician or gynaecologist is also the closest man to you. He is like your best friend, the one you can intimately share details of your sex life with. He is like your gay friend with the exception that he is not gay. (He could be, if you chose to visit a gay obstetrician.)

I cannot help it. Dr. V was the one who held my hand (very literally) throughout the nine month pregnancy journey. He made sure that I was safe and that my wellbeing was taken care. He saw very private parts of myself such as my toes and my Fifi. And he listened and chuckled at very private stories and jokes.

Many pregnancy books inform you that pregnancy brings about all sorts of hormones and that a pregnant woman usually has greater sex drive. Books also mention that a pregnant woman fantasies more when she is relaxed. The books were right because I had many sexual dreams that felt very real. Some were dreams of The Bachelor but some were with my obstetrician such as those that I wrote above.

Eve did not experience such closeness with her gynaecologist. It is not surprising for someone whom I named “The Butcher”. The above stories were little fantasy escapes for a woman with a bloaty stomach and swollen feet. I needed them, I guess. Those dreams gave me a sense of wellbeing, of being cared and loved – that I was still attractive and lovely despite my 38 inch waist and very unattractive hair. They were my little adventures with Grey Whiskers.