Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Another bunch of pricks by Kate

And so the ante-natal medical merry-go-round continues. On Monday morning I was back at the health centre in San Blas, sans breakfast (I'm beginning to associate that place with pangs of hunger) and clutching the number 129 as the patient counter beeped its way from number 40 upwards.

Mind you, this conveyor-belt type system they operate for blood tests may be a tad impersonal, but I've got to admit it's efficient. Patients were called to the testing room in batches of five, hobbling, shuffling and waddling their way to the door of the testing room, clutching their requisite medical forms to their chests. Because I didn't have to do a glucose test (thankfully) I waited with the general melee, rather than the other embarazadas and with the help of PG Wodehouse, the time passed fairly quickly.

By now, I knew the drill, so when 129 came up I took my place in the queue and handed my form to the white-coated staff at the desk who, much to my relief, only labelled six test-tubes for blood collection - half the amount of my previous visit. Buffy The Vampire Slayer must have been in town or something.

It was all over mercifully fast and I was soon back out the door with Theo, who'd collected more appointment forms for me - fortnightly checks with the Tocologia and one to go up to Hospital La Paz for some kind of fetal heart monitoring.

Next day was pre natal class - a "gym" session this time, so Theo was left at home. Despite my lack of detailed understanding of what was said, the time passed fairly pleasantly with me and my fellow embarazadas dutifully deep-breathing our way through the various birth-helping and pregnancy-relieving exercises. As we were re-donning shoes and coats, a woman I recognised from the previous cycle of pre-natal classes came in - with her newborn twins. The thought of having one baby is a pretty huge deal - but two?! We all gazed at her in admiration - not unmixed with a little sympathy. Exciting, yes - but blimey, hard work too.

Theo and I had a bit of a moment this morning. After a lazy lie-in together (let's enjoy them while we still can!!) and some - ahem - intimate couple time together, I suddenly produced a little blood. Our initial thought was that our exertions had dislodged the mucus plug in the cervix and this was "a show" (which can be an early indicater of the onset of labour). Then Theo did a bit of internet research (not always a good idea in these situations!) and worried that it might be a sign of something more serious and bade me to make an appointment with the ever-helpful (!) Dr P. I did some further research and, given my lack of any other worrying symptoms plus the colour and amount of the discharge in question, decided it was most likely to be some harmless spotting from the cervix, whose lining becomes thinner in later pregnancy. A very common thing after you-know-what, apparently. We'll double check with our midwife tomorrow.

Anyway, one result of that mini-drama was to galvanise us into action when it came to getting some pre-baby organisation done. The baby clothes which had been shoved in a bag in the corner waiting to be washed and aired are now clean, dry and have their own dedicated drawer with another shelf set aside for nappies and other items. We've re-arranged our bedside storage (and changed sides) in readiness for the baby's "cot" (which will either be improvised from a stack of tough PVC boxes lined with sheet and blankets or will take the form of our multi-purpose baby transport system, depending on which arrangement she and we prefer). Next thing will be laying in a stock of washable nappies, sorting out a few more bits of bedding, purchasing items like breast-pads and getting the hospital bag packed.

Okay, we've still got just over a month to go before the due date, but today's little episode reminded us that it doesn't do any harm to Be Prepared. My time as a girl guide has not been wasted.

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