Prenatal Care

Being that I’m now in my 26th week the time had come for every pregnant woman’s favorite prenatal test, the glucose tolerance test.  Lucky me!  When I had the test done during my pregnancy with Maya I failed (just barely) the 1 hour screening and had to go in for the dreaded 3 hour test, which I thankfully passed.  So, this time around I was a little more nervous.  I knew what to expect. I remembered the foul taste of that glucose drink. I remembered the waiting.  I remembered how much it sucked to hear from my doctor a few days later that I would have to do it all over again.

This time around I’m hoping I pass this first 1 hour test so I don’t have to suffer through the 3 hour test again.  Fingers crossed.

I went in this morning for the test.  I had to go to a testing facility here in Brisbane, similar to the testing facilities, like LabCorp, that we have in the United States.  I met Lorne at his office building and he took Maya to the park for an hour while I headed to the lab for the test.  The staff at the lab were super friendly and helpful.  A change from most of my experiences at similar labs in St. Louis.  They gave me my drink and told me to drink it all within 10 and they’d come back to get in 1 hour for my blood draw.

When I had the test done during my pregnancy with Maya the drink I had to drink was a super sweet, overly flavored, flat orange drink.  It tasted like orange soda but without the fizziness.  I remember thinking at the time that the drink would be so much easier to drink if it was carbonated, just a bit.  The drink I had today was so much better.  I wouldn’t exactly call it tasty, but it was certainly a lot better than my previous glucose drinks.  This one was lightly carbonated for starters, and I was right, it made it much easier to get down.  It was still crazy sweet, but the flavor was much more mild, another thing in its favor.  It was easy to get the drink down in the alloted time and I didn’t feel like I was going to throw up right after.

I passed the 1 hour quietly reading in the waiting room.  Finally I was called back for my blood draw.  Blood draws don’t bother me so that part was a breeze.  I chatted with the phlebotomist while she took the required 3 viles of blood for my glucose test and a couple of other screenings being done.  It was a pleasant experience for a test that isn’t really my favorite thing to do during pregnancy.

Now I wait, fingers crossed, for the results.  Hopefully I don’t hear from my doctor at all and am told at my next appointment in a couple of weeks that I passed the test just fine.  If I do hear from him and have to go in for that 3 hour test I may cry.  At least I know if I have to do it again the drink is more tolerable this time and the staff at the lab is pleasant to deal with.

On Tuesday I had my first appointment with the obstetrician I’ll be using while we are here in Australia.  It was my 20 week regular monthly appointment.  At home that would have meant a super quick and easy appointment that consisted of a urine screen, weigh in, blood pressure reading, fundal measurement and listening to the baby’s heartbeat.  In and out in 15-20 minutes tops.  However, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect at my first appointment here in Australia.  I wasn’t sure how similar their prenatal care is to our prenatal care in the United States.  I expected a bit longer visit since it was my first meeting with this doctor but other than that I went into it blind.

I had a hard time sleeping the night before my appointment.  I was nervous about meeting the new doctor and what to expect from my appointment.  Luckily, we had spent some time over the weekend figuring out the bus route to there and finding exactly where the office was so it was super easy for Maya and I to get there Tuesday morning. It gave me one less thing to worry about.  My appointment was scheduled for 9:30 so we headed out the door a little after 8am to catch the 8:25 bus.  The bus was running a bit late but got us to the hospital bus station right on time (sometimes you gotta love public transportation and crazy Australian bus drivers!).

Since we had walked by the office building on Saturday I knew it was a very nice looking office and I was anxious to see what it was like inside.  It was gorgeous.  The office is fairly big, they staff 4 OBs and 3 midwives.  The waiting area is full of super comfy chairs, a bathroom (because we pregnant women need bathrooms everywhere!) and a great little play area for the kiddos.  Let me tell you, the play area is a godsend for those of us who have to bring our little ones along.  Maya had a great time playing with all the toys and reading the books.  She actually didn’t want to leave when it was my turn to go back with the doctor.

When it was my turn I was greeted in the waiting room by the actual doctor!  I had expected to be called back by a nurse.  They actually don’t have any nurses on staff, the doctors and the midwives do everything.  I sat with the doctor in his office for a while going over my medical history and reviewing my records from my doctor in the US.  He had to pull out his calculator several times because all the weight measurements on my charts are in pounds and he is used to kilograms.  It stumped me too when I hopped on the scale and it weighed me in kilograms.  He broke out the calculator again to let me know what my weight was in pounds.

After our long talk about my medical history and prenatal care history for this pregnancy the appointment continued exactly like it would have had I been visiting my OB in the US.  He took my blood pressure, had me get on the scale to be weighed (I haven’t gained any weight since my last appointment in the US but he didn’t seem concerned), then he felt my abdomen and listened to the baby’s heartbeat with the doppler.  He explained what to expect at my next appointments and it sounds like the prenatal care is exactly like it is in the US.  The one exception is that they don’t do a urine screen at every appointment, they only do urine screens if there is another indicator, like higher blood pressure than at previous appointments.

After I met with the doctor he had me sit down with one of the midwives so I could get to know her and she could go over the do’s and don’ts during pregnancy in Australia.  The midwife was so nice.  She went over everything with me as far as what exercise is permitted, the foods to avoid, etc.  It is all the same as the do’s and don’ts rules in the US.

It ended up being a great appointment.  Everything is progressing well with the pregnancy, Baby Girl 2.0 sounded great and I’m all set for another month.  I really liked the doctor, the midwife and the front desk staff.  Everyone was super friendly and nice.  Turns out I had nothing to be nervous about.

Today was our big anatomy ultrasound.  Although the baby did try to hide the goods from us at first we were able to find out what this little monkey is.

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Drumroll please…

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When we got into the room the ultrasound tech asked Maya if she wanted a girl baby or a boy baby. She answered the same way she has from the very beginning “Girl Baby”.  She got her wish, she is going to have a little sister.  We are so excited.  I have been thinking girl all along, and I was right!  Lorne is really out numbered now :)

This little girl, just like her big sister, tried really hard to hide the goods.  The ultrasound tech got a shot that I thought looked like little girl parts but didn’t say anything. She went about taking more measurements and then tried for the potty shot again and sure enough it was definitely girl parts.  We had a third look right at the end of the ultrasound just for good measure and reassurance.

The baby is currently breech.  Not a big deal since she will likely flip around several times between now and her big arrival, but it sure does explain why I’ve been feeling so many of her kicks down low.

It was so sweet seeing her little face on the ultrasound screen and watching her little squirms.  I’m glad all three of us got to be there.  We can’t wait to welcome this new Little Miss in July.

Here is our Baby Girl 2.0

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So, I know my guess was right.  Was yours?

Yesterday I hit the 16 week mark of this pregnancy.  I’m 4 months into this pregnancy.  It is hard to believe I’m already 4 months pregnant, but, at the same time, it sometimes feels like I should be further along.  I have been feeling SO much better the last few weeks.  The morning sickness is finally gone and I have most of my energy back.  I’m still quite moody (poor hubby) and I’ve been getting a lot of headaches, but all in all I feel pretty good.

I had my monthly appointment with my obstetrician this morning.  It went perfectly.  I got to hear that lovely sound of the baby’s heart beating away in there.  I discovered that this little baby is very much like her or his sister. Every time my OB found Maya’s heartbeat with the doppler she would move. She hated the doppler wand and the wand for the ultrasound machine too (hence the need for the sonographer to spend 45 minutes trying to find out if she was a boy or a girl!).  This baby is exactly the same. The OB found the heartbeat the first try with the doppler but the baby promptly moved and he had to look for it again (this happened 3 times).  It made me giggle and I said “Just like Maya!!”.  My blood pressure was great and I even managed to put on a whole 5 pounds.  That was music to my doctor’s ears since he wasn’t all that impressed with my .5 pound of weight gain last time. It is much easier to put on weight when you aren’t constantly struggling to get any food in your mouth and then struggling to get it stay down.

The best part of the appointment was finally scheduling the “big” ultrasound.  As of right now it is scheduled for February 22nd, unless of course we end up leaving for Australia before then and it needs to be pushed up a bit.  I can’t wait to see this little baby moving all around on the screen, I remember it being such an amazing experience with Maya.  And, of course, I can’t wait to find out if we are having a girl or a boy.  Any guesses?

A subchorionic hematoma (also commonly referred to as a subchorionic hemorrhage) is basically a pool of blood that collects where implantation has taken place.  It forms between the uterine wall and the placenta.  It can cause early pregnancy bleeding as the pool of blood, blood clot, or bruise leaks.  Which, for a woman in early pregnancy when the miscarriage rate is at its highest can be very scary.

For many women the blood will be reabsorbed with no bleeding at all and no negative impact on the pregnancy.  For some women the most common symptom, and what often leads to the diagnosis of a subchorionic hematoma, is vaginal bleeding early in pregnancy.  The presence of a subchorionic hematoma doesn’t not necessarily mean there will any negative impact on the pregnancy, however, it does increase the risk of miscarriage.  As such your doctor will likely monitor you more closely during early pregnancy and may even prescribe pelvic rest until you are “out of the woods”.

At my first ultrasound at 6 weeks I was diagnosed with a subchorionic hematoma.  I didn’t at the time know anything about them.  My doctor stated to watch out for bleeding and if any occurred to call him immediately.  I was asked to come back in 2 weeks for another ultrasound so they could monitor the status of the hematoma and check on the pregnancy.  My doctor highly downplayed the risks of a subchorionic hematoma and I left his office thinking I had nothing to worry about.  At my next appointment at 8 weeks the ultrasound showed the hematoma had greatly reduced in size and was no longer a threat to my pregnancy.  I was incredibly relieved, especially since I had also been one of the lucky women who did not experience any bleeding as a result of my subchorionic hematoma.

A subchorionic hematoma does not mean your pregnancy is going to end.  The risk of miscarriage does increase but not significantly.  The larger the blood clot the more risk to the pregnancy.  There is nothing a pregnant woman can do to prevent a subchorionic hematoma and there is really nothing you can do once you receive the diagnosis.  The best thing you can do is listen to your doctor, follow his or her orders and wait and see.  Be sure to discuss your concerns with your doctor.