Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Hospital Update

Cooking up a storm for the freezer
I cannot believe how quickly time has been passing. I've added a couple of days volunteer work to my schedule and between those and my frequent naps I've been reading and cooking, but not so much writing or commenting.  I have some catching up to do.

I had my compulsory booking appointment with the new, local, hospital last week.  I'd booked a taxi in advance but when I called to enquire as to it's whereabouts when it was ten minutes late, I was told I was sixth in line and it would likely be another half hour?  So much for advance booking.  So I called the hospital to try to reschedule the appointment and was told they'd send out a letter with another appointment time in about three weeks.

Three weeks!  I explained that I was 30 weeks pregnant not the usual ten weeks they'd expect at a booking appointment and would it be possible to see someone earlier?  They took my number.

I was very lucky that they found me another appointment that afternoon and I made it to the midwives clinic on time despite the best efforts of the public transport system. In theory its only three stops on the train and a five minute bus ride, but the trains come three times and hour and the buses only once an hour so a bit of coordination is required.

I was seen by a final year midwife student supervised by a senior midwife who covered all the same stuff covered in my three booking appointments in the UK and the appointment at the Royal Women's. Yes I know about smoking and drinking and eating nutritiously and why the recommend breastfeeding over bottle feeding etc.  Thanks for all the brochures etc again.

Despite my being told that the staff at the local hospital would have access to my records on the same hospital system before I transferred, they did not. They just had the handheld notes.  The senior midwife had to call the other hospital to get all the clinical notes faxed over, much to her annoyance.

They weighed me - according to their scales I've put on 10kg since I conceived - and cautioned I was putting on too much weight. That surprised me a little since I wasn't putting on enough early on. Yes, I have been craving dairy (more on that in a future post) but mostly eating the same as usual. The senior midwife said the dairy was good and to keep with it, but make sure it was low fat and be careful about what else I ate. Consuming low fat anything is pretty much on the opposite end of the spectrum of healthy eating from my perspective so I just nodded and kept my mouth shut.

It did bother me to think that I was putting on too much weight so when I got home I spent some time with Dr Google and given my starting BMI 10kg is within the healthy range for weight gain for the start of the third trimester. Maybe they forgot I was 30 weeks already..?  I went out and bought my own scales so I can keep an eye on it and weighed in 3kg under their measurement.  Of course I don't know whose scales are wrongly calibrated.  Whatever, I'll just watch my weight gain irrespective of the actual number.

They measured me - the fundus was 29cm which is right on target.

They took my blood pressure - which was normal, but high for me.  I had Mr Duncan take it again a few days later (with the fancy blood pressure monitor he bought while trying to get the Australian visa) and it was back down to normal-for-me.  So maybe I was just a bit stressed out what with the taxi debacle and new hospital and everything.

They did not test a urine sample which surprised me.  So far I've only given one and that was after my very first appointment with a doctor here, they took blood and urine.  In the UK the NHS has you bring your own urine sample from home to every appointment.  At my hospital they had a big box of specimen jars sitting on reception for you to take from for your next appointment.

They sent me for a blood test to verify blood type.  Now apart from the fact that I was issued with dog tags at birth with my blood type imprinted on (don't know if they still do that in Sweden), and have known since I was tiny what it is and told them, and the fact it had my blood type written in the handheld notes from the other hospital, they said I had to get a blood test to determine my blood type.  Why?   I didn't understand.  Blood type doesn't change with age!  Hospital policy it seems.  No wonder medical care costs so much if they have to keep re-ordering unnecessary tests due to 'policy'.  I did mention my iron count was traditionally quite low so they ordered a haemoglobin test as well.

That was worth giving a vial of blood for.  My reserves are depleted (they were okay when tested back in November) so I'm back on the Floradix, beet juice and home made liver pate.  I tried a mushroom version this time.  Yum!

Although I faxed off the booking and payment details for the childbirth education classes over a month prior, it seemed they had no record of me and wouldn't be able to fit me in to a class until August.  A bit late, methinks, given I'm due in barely eight weeks.  Fortunately I held off cancelling the classes booked at the Royal Women's until I had new classes confirmed, so I'll attend those instead.  Given I'd miss out on the tour provided as part of their childbirth education classes, the midwife sent me off with the student midwife for a quick look at the birth facilities, so I know where to come on the day.  Gulp.

They have four birthing rooms, three of which have a private bathroom/shower, and a separate room with a birthing pool.  The rooms are all very clinical though, full of wires and monitors - quite scary looking.  If we were still in London, I'd opt for a home-birth but I don't think I get that option here, since I was a) so late on the scene and missed out on the midwife care scheme by months so I'm under the care of an obstetrician (who I have yet to meet) and b) am considered high risk due to my age.

I'm not exactly brimming with confidence at this point.

If I want a birth without medical intervention, I need to spend my time focusing on being calm and relaxed and not allow the whole medical side of things to intimidate me and create feelings of fear or anxiety.


  1. Oh boy. So much going on in this post. First, can you share what freezer meals you prepared? This is definitely something I want to do and I am feeling zero creativity. Second, so sorry that your midwife appointment left you feeling less than confident. I dislike feeling like being part of a protocol. Obviously, being 30 weeks along I don't know why they rehashed stuff and what in the world was up with the concern about wt gain. Being a nutritionist, I'm super sensitive to misconceptions about wt and I get irked when harsh judgements are made on women based on a number. No woman deserves to feel this way. Everyone gains a unique amount during pregnancy and more emphasis should be put on checking nutrition, exercise, and data from testing. Trust yourself on your wt. Oh and not sure how you kept your mouth shut about the low fat nonsense. Redoing a blood type test?! Argh! That would bug me too. As for the medical environment, hopefully you can bring some of your own comforts from home and tune into your inner zen. Your body was designed to birth. You can do it!

    1. Thanks for the support Marcy. Inner zen is the way to go. I think I'm doing fine but just wobbled a bit with all the uncertainty.

      Re freezer meals, I'm sure your inspiration will come when its time. I've turned into quite the little Suzy Q Homemaker recently and I'm blaming the hormones. Most of the meals I've already blogged about on here, but I'll do a roundup one of these days so its all in the same place for when you're ready.


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