Tuesday, December 22, 2009

December 22, 2009: pre-natal check-ups

The fact that I lived in Germany for over 17 years probably wasn't too helpful for my frustraton this morning, but the fact that I've also lived other places that are culturally VERY different from Germany did temper that some, and that I'm fascinated by languages and trying hard to learn Greek also made the morning not entirely a waste of time.

Four weeks ago I went to the hospital for a pre-natal check-up, mostly just because I wanted an ultrasound to have some idea of a due date, not being at all sure. (When I said I really didn't know how far I was, the doctor looked down again at my paperwork, listing all eight previous pregnancies, raised his eyebrows, and said something like, "By now you really ought to have some idea.") The baby's head-rump measurement spit out an age of 11 weeks (well, 9 weeks for the baby, 11 weeks as doctors count), due date June 15th, 2010. Anyway, I was there last time for 2 1/2 hours for a total of less than five minutes with the doctor, and as I was leaving, there was a near-riot going on in the waiting area, with dozens of pregnant women yelling at a man in hospital clothes. While I myself had been waiting, women had been comparing their appointment times, and there were several with 9:00, one with 9:20, and several with 9:30. That was after 10:00 when they were looking at them--and I didn't even have an appointment at all, being told one wasn't necessary. After several women who had definitely arrived after I had had elbowed their way in, five women (two English, two Cypriot, and one who spoke neither English nor Greek but agreed with the others that I should definitely be next) pushed me in the next time the door opened. Quite an experience. Anyway, I'm glad I was out of there before the riot started, but felt bad for all the others still stuck there.

In any case, I let myself be talked into going back today for another check-up, with the idea that if the baby's size four weeks later still matched that due date, I'd be reassured of the due date, as I'd been told that I'd have another ultrasound. Also, I know someone whose twins were NOT seen at 12 weeks, so it was good to confirm today that there IS only one baby! But the doctor didn't take any measurements today, just checked the heartbeat, then as he turned off the ultrasound machine said, "How many sons and daughters do you have?" I told him, and then he said, "Well, it looks like you might have--" and I quickly interrupted him and said "Don't tell me! I don't want to know!" He was rather surprised at that, and then said that he wasn't really sure, anyway, but IF I go back at all, I'll be sure to mention BEFORE they start that I don't want to know the baby's gender!

But I really, really don't want to go back. I had been given "the first appointment", at 7:30 this morning. I was indeed the first person there--the doctor and an assistant didn't arrive until 8:20. But shortly after I arrived, other pregnant women started arriving. That's where the language practice came in, because happily, the first one to arrive spoke very little English, in fact, not more than I speak Greek. So although I'd officially learned how to tell time in Greek on paper, I could never remember it, but now I can. :-) It's her first baby and she's in the ninth month, and she had an appointment for 8:00. The next woman to arrive didn't sit down with us, but went and stood right at the door to the room where they take blood pressure and weight. The one after that was another Cypriot who spoke little English, then a Muslim woman arrived, then another who didn't talk, and then a Nigerian who spoke no Greek at all, but English, and had her six-month-old son with her.

By 8:15 there were 10 of us, and then at 8:20 the assistant went into her office, and lady number 3 had pushed her way into the room before anyone else could react. However, the rest of us (those who were sitting--there are only six chairs--as well as the others standing around) quickly moved over to the door, leaving most of the chairs empty--one was still occupied by a father. When the door opened, two women tried to push in front of me but I managed to slip in. My blood pressure was taken and I was weighed (just like last time, the doctor's scale gives me four more kilos that my scale--I like my scale MUCH better!!), was scolded for not having had an amniocentesis (I'd declined four weeks ago, which the doctor hadn't had a problem with), was handed my file, and got to go wait in the hallway again to get into the doctor's office. Arrival number 4 was the third one into the assistant's office, arrival number 2 was the fourth one in, I didn't pay attention after that, as I was enjoying chatting with the English woman I had met four weeks ago.

When arrival number 3 (who had gotten in first) was finished with the doctor, at 8:50, I managed to be the next one into the doctor's office. He did his best to impress on me the importance of the 20-week ultrasound, and I told him that I already have an appointment with my doctor in Germany (who will actually TALK with me) for the end of January, had the very quick scan, was given an appointment for February (which I don't have much intention of keeping), and was out of there again at 8:53. Not quite an hour and a half, so certainly better than last time.

When I got home, I called the three phone numbers I'd been given (by a lady who now lives in the U.K., but whose homebirth story I'd found by googling "homebirth Cyprus", as she had her baby at home in Cyprus two years ago) of a doula and two midwives who are reputed to attend homebirths. I left a message with one midwife's voicemail and there weren't any answers from the other two, but the doula called me back almost immediately. She's leaving on vacation tomorrow, but we're going to talk again in February, and she sounded quite encouraging.

No comments:

Post a Comment