Home » Baby Mark Floyd » Nine months » The Bean-Shaped Baby

The Bean-Shaped Baby


Paci­fiers, Ottawa, Sep­tem­ber 2012

The day a WalMart-bought pee-soaked First Response preg­nancy test informed me I was preg­nant, I spent a good ten min­utes cry­ing for no rea­son. Then we hugged. We told each other we were going to be okay.

So, are you sure you are preg­nant?” Feng gen­tly asked after I was done crying.

Yes, I was sure. It explained why I couldn’t look at my favourite foods with­out gag­ging. It explained why I had felt so tired. But it was a valid question—after all, the ear­lier preg­nancy test was negative.

I needed to see a doc­tor. Prob­lem was, I don’t really have one—blame the Cana­dian health­care sys­tem, find­ing a GP is hellish.

I called the Uni­ver­sity of Ottawa Health Ser­vices, where I had a checkup done a year ear­lier. I was imme­di­ately put on hold and I could hear Madonna’s  “Like a Vir­gin” play­ing in the background.

For Christ’s sake,” I mut­tered impa­tiently, “is there a more inap­pro­pri­ate song given the circumstances?”

Then I started laugh­ing. The preg­nancy hor­mones kick­ing in, no doubt.

After hold­ing the line for about twenty min­utes and lis­ten­ing to “Papa Don’t Preach” and other mean­ing­ful clas­sics, a recep­tion­ist picked up the phone.

I think I’m preg­nant,” I started explain­ing, “and I’d like to make an appoint­ment with a doctor.”

Tomor­row 10 a.m. See you there!”

Wow. And I had been try­ing to get a Cana­dian doc­tor to pay atten­tion to me for the past ten years. I should have known the pass­word was “pregnant”!

The fol­low­ing day, I showed up at the doc­tor office. I was asked for my health card, a urine sam­ple and to take a seat—in that order. I did as instructed, and the doc­tor arrived.

I think I’m preg­nant,” I explained.

How do you know?”


I took a preg­nancy test.”

Was it positive?”

Uh… yes.”

Okay, so you are pregnant.”

The doc­tor made a note on a com­puter. I’m pretty sure it read “stu­pid patient doesn’t trust preg­nancy tests.”

Date of last period?”

Well, I’m not sure,” I said. “But I believe I’m about six weeks pregnant.”

How do you know?”

Uh… I was there?”

I don’t keep track of every­thing but I think I know roughly when we conceived—don’t most people?

Uh uh,” said the doc­tor. “You can only know the date if you had an in-vitro fer­til­iza­tion.” I begged to dif­fer, but she added: “You will do a dat­ing ultra­sound anyway.”

With­out adding a word, she turned to her com­puter and printed out paperwork.

Okay. Here is what you need: an ultra­sound now for dat­ing, another one as part of the triple screening—if you want it, you may want to dis­cuss this with your part­ner, there is a pam­phlet in here too so make sure you read it—three blood tests, again one now and two as part of the screen­ing. Oh, and go buy some vitamins.”

My head was spin­ning. “Which ones?”

Any pre­na­tal vit­a­mins. You can buy them over the counter.”

But do I really need vitamins?”

You do now.”

She rushed out of the room to the next patient. The appoint­ment has lasted about ten min­utes. I looked at the paper­work I was hold­ing. Appar­ently, I was due for my first blood test.

I headed to the lab down­stairs. The nurse com­mented on my nice veins and drew enough blood to fill five col­lec­tion tubes. Good thing I don’t have a prob­lem with nee­dles or blood tests. Yet I must have looked weak because another nurse, a big black guy, gen­tly held my hand until my head stopped spinning.

A week later, Feng and I went for the dat­ing ultra­sound. I had been in limbo since see­ing the doc­tor. I still felt exhausted but I wasn’t so nau­seous anymore.

The recep­tion­ist at the ultra­sound clinic was a real bitch. I know work­ing in health­care is stress­ful and that patients (like cus­tomers I guess) can be idiot, but some empa­thy would have been nice. And hey, you are work­ing in a women’s ultra­sound clinic, lighten up!

I walked in and went straight to the recep­tion­ist office. She sighed heav­ily because I didn’t have my health card ready, and then snapped at me because I was “just stand­ing there.” How was I sup­posed to know that she was done with me? I always feel awk­ward at the doctor’s office here in Canada. There are many unspo­ken rules, and you often feel like health­care prac­ti­tion­ers are doing you a big favour by agree­ing to see you. That’s not right.

For­tu­nately, the tech­ni­cian was much nicer. She led us into the semi-darkness of the room and I lay on the bed. She quickly squirted some cold gel on my flat belly, put the device onto my skin and turned the com­puter screen towards us. “Here it is!” she said.

Feng squeezed my hand. I couldn’t see much, really—let’s face it, my eyes haven’t been trained to play “spot some­thing new in your uterus.” But there was some­thing in there, some­thing bean-shaped.

The tech­ni­cian took some mea­sure­ments. “So you are seven weeks preg­nant,” she asserted.

The only part of the sen­tence I heard was “preg­nant.” So I was. For real.

She printed out the pic­ture of the bean-shaped baby and glued it onto a cheesy generic “Shush… Baby is sleep­ing” paper frame.

We stepped out of the ultra­sound clinic slightly dazed. The appoint­ment had only lasted about twenty min­utes but now we knew for sure: I was indeed preg­nant with a bean-shaped baby.


  1. Oh no not you too! ;)

    I am happy for you, con­grats to you two for the Sino-Franco-Canadian baby :)

  2. My, that lit­tle bean will have grown so much big­ger by now!
    Hope you’re still com­fort­able & able to sleep well.

  3. Ugh. I don’t envy cana­dien health care :( Je parle en français parce que ma métaphore est ridicule et m’a beau­coup fait rire : main­tenant tu as un chili entier dans le ven­tre ! (par­don… :-D)

  4. :))
    This is all new for the world trav­el­ers that you are. You will learn and adapt on this new journey.

    Best wishes and stay healthy.

  5. Zhu, you are really funny. I’m sure you took some notes from last 7 months… it will be a won­der­ful journey!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>