09 April 2008

17.5 Weeks

After hearing stories from friends at home who are having babies I am starting to realize that it’s just a little different to do it over here. So, I thought I would let you know a little about prenatal care here and how it seems to be a little different than America.

1. I must be proactive.

After talking to doctors in the States and reading my borrowed copy of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” I think I have a good idea of what a doctor’s appointment in the states would be like. It’s sort of different here. I walk in to see my doctor and she just stares at me. At first this was unnerving and awkward, I kept waiting for her to talk and I guess she was waiting for me to say something. I figured that she was the doctor, it’s sort of her show. Not true. After my first opening line of “Well, I’m pregnant,” was met with an odd stare and more silence I realized that just to get the appointment started I have to take charge. I tell her what needs to be done and she does it. I ask the right questions and she always has an answer, I just have to know what to ask. When I want blood tests or any other tests done I just write down what I want on a piece of paper, walk over to the lab and hand it to them. They run the test, no questions asked, and usually have the results back to me in an hour. Don't worry, my doctor is wonderful and knows what she is doing. It's just that most people that live here don't have the money to run all of the tests and get the same kind of care that we expect. Now that she knows what we expect (and that we can pay for it) we don't have to be as proactive during our appointments.

2. Ultrasounds, ultrasounds, ultrasounds.

From what I hear most of the time in the States you don’t have an ultrasound every single time you go to the doctor. The doctors here love to do ultrasounds and we love to see our baby kicking around. So far we have had an ultrasound every time we have been to the doctor, even when I was only a few weeks pregnant and all you could see was a little black dot. Ultrasounds are super cheap here, only about $5 unless I want a print out and then it’s closer to $15. It’s great to be able to see our baby every time we go to the doctor and not worry about our insurance company telling us it’s too expensive.

3. It’s so cheap!

It’s just cheaper here. It only costs around $9 to see the doctor (plus the cost of the ultrasound), so even if we didn’t have great insurance it would be cheap. I did once go to a different doctor that charged a whopping $15, but I think that’s about as expensive as it gets.

4. Making an Appointment

This should probably go under the proactive section. At the end of each appointment my doctor tells me to come back in about a month. So, about a month later I will pick up my phone on a Monday night and call the hospital. I tell them my name and that I’m coming in the morning. They say okay. The most difficult part of the whole thing is that the lady that answers the phone at the hospital doesn’t speak English, so my vocabulary has recently expanded to include all kinds of doctor and appointment making words.

Now for another belly picture. I really can't tell much of a difference from last week, but I guess it is getting bigger.

Next week we will go to the doctor again and of course have another ultrasound. Hopefully this time the baby will be awake and we will be able to see if it is a boy or girl. Make sure you vote because this week might (hopefully) be your last chance.

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