Notes to OB-GYNs from a Primagravida - First-Time Pregnancy - Betwain

Sunday, January 28, 2018

I'm not sure what I thought when I first picked a medical provider after celebrating a positive pregnancy test.

Maybe I thought it would be like building a house. Make a detailed budget. Make a detailed blueprint. Make a detailed schedule. Meet weekly with your general contractor to get an update on where things are on track, where they're off track, and what decisions need to be made to move forward.

Maybe I thought it would be like a catering project or even making a simple dinner. Make a budget. Make a plan. Consider the time constraints. Check the recipe. Cook and serve.

I have no real way of knowing if my experience so far is typical, but I picked a teaching hospital with a great reputation and felt lucky to go through this pregnancy with them.

My first appointment went well. I left the hospital with an approximate due date, a starting weight and blood pressure as well as a helpful booklet that let me know what I should and shouldn't eat during pregnancy, what symptoms to expect, and more.

The next appointment or the third, the doctor asked me when my due date was because her "PA didn't take great notes." My husband had taken the day off work for the ultrasound, but we learned that we had to schedule the ultrasound separately with a different department, so we would have to do that at the next appointment.

What? Good to know.

At an appointment further down the road, we really needed the baby to wiggle, so they could get a better image. I learned that had I run a few miles that morning, had orange juice, taken the stairs, or even drank more water, the baby would've wiggled more. I guess I should've known they would need an active baby during the ultrasound?

At another appointment, I showed up and learned I would be taking a glucose drink to test my blood sugar and would need to wait at the office for an hour before they could test my blood sugar.

What? Ok.

Ladies, are you having a different experience?

I know there are guides online, and I have looked to see if I could find a "what to expect" at each appointment, but it's not completely consistent per provider. 

In my dreams, there would be an intake appointment where a clinic staff person would go over paperwork, insurance, and scheduling--maybe even for the duration. If the doctors, medical support staff, patients, and office support all had a checklist, there would rarely be a need to wonder---did anyone speak to this patient about birth plans yet? The record would show that having been completed during appointment 12.

I guess in reality, we have a revolving door of support staff, patients who don't always attend appointments on the recommended timeline, and even pregnancies that don't make it to full term, so it's tricky to create a protocol. However, it's crazy to me how professionals so studied in surgical procedures and pathology are even comfortable functioning in such a chaotic system. There are challenges that arise during surgery, too, but that doesn't mean there isn't an ideal procedure to follow.

So, the third trimester has begun with a helpful packet of information that includes specifics about policies that will impact the birth. We're headed to a birthing class, and we've connected with a doula. As much reading as there is concerning pregnancy, maybe there's no way to navigate it without feeling completely lost. I wish we had scheduled the class and the doula even earlier.

If I had known better when I started this, I would have made a chart like the below for myself and asked enough questions at the onset to fill it in for myself, regardless of the practice's practices. I would've tried to schedule out all of my appointments as early as possible as well.

Maybe there will be a "next time" to try it. This is completely based on my own limited experience and is not medical advice for anyone but myself.

Appointment                               Date                  Doctor                What to Expect           Preparation    1-Four Weeks   
2- Eight Weeks
3- Twelve Weeks                                                                             Ultrasound/Genetic Test Talks
4- Sixteen Weeks
5- Twenty Weeks
6- Twenty-Four Weeks                                                                    Blood Glucose

THIRD TRIMESTER (twice per month)
Appointment                               Date                  Doctor                What to Expect           Preparation 
7- Twenty-Eight Weeks
8- Thirty Weeks
9- Thirty-Two Weeks
10- Thirty-Four Weeks
11- Thirty-Six Weeks

LAST MONTH (weekly)
Appointment                               Date                  Doctor                What to Expect           Preparation
12- 37 Weeks
13- 38 Weeks
14- 39 Weeks
15- 40 Weeks


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