Wednesday was the first of many days we had been looking forward to. I had my first OB appointment! Hops took the morning off, so he could go with me. I'm quite pleased that he wants to go to the appointments with me. It's our baby and I love that he wants to be a part of the whole process. We got there 20 minutes early and handed over my paperwork. I got called back at 8:35. So far, the staff at the OB's office has been wonderful. I'm going to Kamm-McKenzie and Smith on Computer Drive in Raleigh. There are a total of 8 doctors and many more nurses. They also have a non-practicing midwife on staff. The plan is, you meet every single doctor before you deliver so you have met them before they're standing between your legs, ready to catch your baby. I like that idea and I like knowing I'm going to a large practice so there is no worry that "my" doctor won't be available when I get ready to deliver.
The first step was to get some general lab work completed. The area beyond the waiting room has a seating area. I'm guessing it's mostly for fathers-to-be or other folks who may come to the appointments with the mother-to-be. Hops took a seat and I had all of my vitals taken. Once the general information was taken down, we followed a nurse into one of the doctors offices. She sat us down and we talked for about an hour. She went through a full family history on me and a partial on Hops. She discussed what we would go through until the birth and how many appointments there would be. She also made sure we understood the "global" payment. This OB office charges you one standard fee for all of your office visits and the labor and delivery. There are extra fees like ultrasounds and screenings that aren't mandatory that are not included in this global fee. She went over which of these items were included in that and how they would bill us.
We were asked if we would like to do the first trimester screening. If you haven't heard of this, it's a test that is done in the later portion of the first trimester which gives you information about your baby's health. These tests are mostly looking for signs of Down Syndrome or Trisomy 18, which causes more severe retardation and is often fatal for the child by the age of 1. The test involves two processes: blood work and an ultrasound. During the ultrasound, the technician will look at the space in the tissue at the back of a baby's neck. The blood work measures levels of proteins in the mother's bloodstream.
Most doctors will suggest you get this screening if the mother is over the age of 35 years old. I am not, but I am close. I am 34 and will be when I give birth. My doctor asked if we wanted to have the testing done and we decided to think about it because I could see we needed to discuss it between ourselves and not make any rash decisions right then and there. We have at least 4 weeks to decide. In the end, we decided not to get the testing done. Here was our reasoning:
- The tests do not tell you if your child is definitely going to have a chromosonal abnormalities. They tell you your percentage chance of having a child with chromosonal abnormalities.
- My insurance does not cover the screening or the extra ultrasound. I have an HSA and it would have been another large bill that was not included in our global payment.
- We would change nothing if we were even 100% sure we were having a child with chromosonal abnormalities.
After our interview with the nurse, Hops was taken back to the waiting area and I had many tubes of blood drawn. I love that we don't have to hop from place to place to get various procedures completed. Once my blood work was complete, I joined Hops in the waiting area for about 5 minutes until we were taken to one of the doctor's offices. We were left there to meet with the first doctor in this journey.
While we were sitting in the office, I said to Hops, "I am so happy I get to meet the doctor with my pants on!!" I was afraid we would be sent into a room where I would be told to strip down and lay on the table before I met my doctor. It is so much better meeting people fully clothed. She finally came in and we talked a bit, mostly about the same things we had already gone over with our nurse. She asked if we had any questions and we really didn't have any. I am so early in my pregnancy that I really don't know what to ask or not to ask at this point. Once we finished chatting, we went into the exam room. I made my husband sit behind me - by my head - and read a magazine so the doctor could perform my exam. Once that was complete, we got what we had been waiting for - the ultrasound. The best part of that ultrasound was seeing a little blip on the screen that was our baby and then hearing his or her heartbeat.
Oh my. What an amazing sound.
Even though I am only 7 weeks 4 days, they were able to get a couple of pictures of the uterus and the growing embryo that is in there. Everything is on track, he/she is a good size and the heartbeat is strong! I love that news!!
It's so tiny!!!
We both teared up after we saw and heard the heartbeat. It made it all so real. 152 beats per minute.
Then, that was it! We got our pictures to take home and scheduled the next appointment for 4 weeks from now. That appointment will be for another heartbeat check - this time with the doppler. That appointment is scheduled for November 23rd. Know why that's important? We're telling my parents that I'm pregnant the next day - at Thanksgiving dinner. We can't wait!! Then finally we'll be able to tell everyone. I'll be 12 weeks on November 26th. I think November 24th is close enough.