Thursday, 7 January 2010

Yes, She's Sitting Comfortably by Kate

In the UK, the NHS allocates you two routine ultrasound scans during pregnancy, here in Spain you get three full scans plus a quick once over every time you have an appointment with your obstetrician. Seeing as we got sent to the specialist radiology department at one of Madrid's biggest hospitals for our twenty-week looksee, we didn't realise that our appointment at our usual obstetrics clinic was for the complete scan minus an obstetrician. That's why my boss' lovely wife came too as part of our ongoing quest to get officialdom to decide my bump is at risk if I continue my teaching job too long.

Our next mistake was to join the queue at the wrong room and wait there until our obstetrician's assistant kindly pointed out that we weren't on her list and maybe we should check downstairs. Having taken the details for the appointment over the phone, doubt was immediately cast on my imperfect understanding of Spanish - we hadn't received the usual follow up confirmation by post. But a quick scouting mission by Theo and Marina established that I had got the date and time right, but the wrong room. It turned out we should have been waiting another five doors down.

We amended this and presented ourselves to the assistant who was brusquely herding various other bumpees towards their scans. She was less than overjoyed to see us and only grudgingly accepted that we formed part of her morning's work after we pointed at my name on her appointment list. Marina, having also experienced our doctor at her least helpful (during our abortive attempt to secure the baja), was shocked by her unhelpful attitude.
"They don't need to be so rude!! What's the matter with them?" Theo and I, having by now spent a lot of time among the white-coated acolytes of the Spanish medical system, were more philosophical. I just hope we don't get a bum deal on the staff front during the actual birth.

So, in we went at last and Marina once again launched into her preamble to try and encourage a recommendation for the baja por emarazada del riesgo, only to be briskly headed off at the pass by the information that we would need to consult the obstetrician, not the radiologist for that sort of thing. Another wasted trip for Marina. Although by compensation, she did get to join Theo and I in viewing our rapidly growing offspring looking sprightly inside the womb.

By now, she's pretty much finished developing her main organs, so a quick check of brain, heart and fetal movement was the main order of the day. Everything appeared to be present, beating and twitching as it should be, so the radiologist was quite satisfied and even gave a us a quick tour of our daughter's main body parts in English. The one problem at this stage is that Fosbella is neatly wedged in an upright sitting position - as I already suspected from numerous proddings at my belly's topography and by noting the position of her kicks and hand taps. To use the official term, she's breech, which is not ideal for a natural birth.

Of course, we still have more than six weeks to go and the statistics are reassuring - most breech babies do turn round before labour begins, (some leaving it to the very last minute). I'm very much hoping young Fos will duly oblige as I'd rather not have a C Section if I can avoid it. In the meantime, the advice is to spend time on hands and knees, waggle your pelvis around while it's higher than your head (this is not very easy with a large bump, believe me), sit up straight, do yoga and tell your foetus to please get off its arse and do a headstand. It's all got to be worth a try.

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