We were expecting this to be a quite a big appointment, I had read a bit about the glucose test I would be having and we had another ultrasound which we were very excited about. To make it more enjoyable our new baby friends were there for their appointment as well so we had someone to chat with whilst waiting.
We checked in, my blood pressure and weight were measured. They took my first of three blood samples and I was then given a sugary drink and instructed to drink it all within five minutes. They then let me know that I needed to go for blood again after one hour and then two hours. We had no idea we would be at the hospital for over three hours!
While waiting for the second blood draw we went in for our ultra sound and again the technician was not pleased with the baby’s position and not able to get all of her required measurements. We were sent out to walk and hope the baby would change position.
Blood draw number two, (which I had to remind the nurses it was time) was my first experience with a bad technician. I could feel that the needle was not in the vein though she still attached the tube and acted surprised that no blood came out. On her second go she had to call in for help whilst the needle was sticking out of my arm! Help arrived and blood was drawn.
We went back in the ultrasound room, this time the technician was getting a little more aggressive trying to move the baby who was still not in the right position. We were sent out again and this time I made a bit more of an effort to move around to try and get the baby moving.
Blood draw number three went well on the first try and it was finally time to eat. Hot soymilk and chocolate marble cake was the breakfast provided, it made us think why did we not bring our own snacks?? Next time…
Third time in the ultra sound room and baby was still not cooperating, though with me on my side she was able to get the measurements as well as a picture for us.
By this time it was noon and we then had to wait to see the doctor as she was out for lunch. We heard the heart beat on the Doppler and all of the days test results were normal. The doctor did say that I had gained too much weight since my last visit and I should work to not gain too much weight.
I heard the weight comments but didn’t really listen to them. I have been feeling fantastic and really healthy throughout this whole pregnancy and I am often told I look great. My doula has been really happy with how things have been progressing. Despite knowing all of this the comments did start to get to me. Whilst waiting for our taxi I decided to have a quick chat with the translator.
As kindly as I could I tried to let her know that this subject of weight gain can feel quite sensitive to a (pregnant) woman. I can appreciate some sensitivity may be lost in translation but bluntly saying “You’ve gained too much weight” is not really the best way to give this information. If the doctor has a medical concern about the amount of weight gained that should given to the patient. Additionally I said that she should maybe recognize that western women’s bodies do differ from Chinese women’s bodies. We take on weight and fat a bit differently. This point she quickly argued against and said no we are the same (western and Chinese women). I emphasized to her that I was comfortable with the weight I have gained, as was my doula, however I thought she should know how the doctors comments (given through her) may seem quite negative to the person receiving it.
I think she was very surprised by my comments but I had to do it. 16 weeks to go….
On every visit to the hospital we always wonder if we will see any other expats. We’ve asked our translator and have been told there is only about four other western patients at this time. For a few appointments we did see another non-Chinese couple but were never brave enough to go up and say hello.
Of all places I met this other mummy-to-be at the monthly gathering of the Sauvignon Club. (Once a month we expat ladies gather for good food and wine at the St Regis Hotel.) The chairwoman had mentioned to me that she had another woman wanting to attend but not drink any wine (which is kind of the point of the club). I was so surprised to see the woman from the hospital appear and even more surprised when she said, “I know” after I introduced myself. It turns out that for about an hour into one of her appointments they thought she was me and kept calling her by my name!
It was really lovely to meet another pregnant woman and we have stayed in touch since. She has met up with our doula to go over a few things and we were able to have a birthing class together with her and her husband. I feel extra lucky to have met her as her due date is about 11 weeks before mine so she will be able to give us the low-down on labor and birth at AmCare.