Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pregnancy Doctor's Visits

Yesterday marked an epic day...I am officially done with all my doctor's visits for this pregnancy!  YAY!  I decided I would take this blog post to reminisce about the last 9 months and my time spend at each visit.  Plus, this can give some pregnant ladies (or ladies thinking about becoming pregnant) an idea of what the schedule looks like.  Before I talk about each doctor's visit, I wanted to give a word of advice. 

First, don't be afraid to call you OB's office.  I called them at least 5 times during my pregnancy and obviously, it ended up being nothing, but I'm glad I called.  Having peace of mind is very important throughout your pregnant months, so if you feel funny, have bleeding, don't feel the baby move, have huge amounts of nausea, or have cramps that just end up being bad round ligament pain, it's nothing they haven't heard before.  Just call. 

Second piece of advice: throughout the breaks between your visits, if you ever have questions that can wait, write them down somewhere!  During my first trimester, I would always think of questions and then when I got to the doctor's I would draw a blank.  That stopped later and if I was at school and thought of a question, into my planner it went.  From then on, I was a question machine at the visits and I think the doctor actually liked it because I was in and out in no time.

Now, before I describe my doctor's visits, I am dishing out a disclaimer...every doctor is different and if you have a high risk pregnancy, your schedule might differ, but for the most part, I believe the schedules look a little something like this:

First Trimester
overall: you go every four weeks.

Week 4: I got a positive pregnancy test and called the doctor's thinking I needed to make an appointment immediately...they told me I had another month before my first visit.  I hung up the phone a little disappointed, but nobody was going to get me down!  I was too excited/ shocked/ get the idea.

Week 8: I went in for my first visit.  Evan's Mom came in to town with me and we went together, just us two.  It was really special.  However, the visit wasn't...they just hand you lots of papers and basically tell you about the structure of doctor's visits and how everything will work.  They took my blood to make sure I was actually pregnant. 

Week 12: Finally, I did something, and then I remembered how nice week 8 get everthing checked.  This is the violation visit: boobs, cervix, vagina, uterus, toes, scalp...ok maybe the last two are an exaggeration.  But this visit we got to listen to the heartbeat and it marks a great visit because your chances of miscarrying after this visit are about 2%.  I also got more shots, blood work, and got the swine flu vaccine at this visit.  I also got chewed out by the nurse practitioner at this visit because she wanted to do a pap smear and I said no.  When she checked my cervix it hurt like hell, so I refused to get one done.  She got all huffy puffy and said I was just avoiding the inevitable because I would need it at my post partum visit...guess who didn't have to get one done at her post partum visit yesterday? : )

(side note: in the middle of these visits, I spotted a couple times.  I got an ultrasound in San Antonio with my Momma at 5 1/2 weeks and she immediately found this gorgeous heartbeat.  I spotted again, much worse, here in Lubbock and they wanted an ultrasound too, so we did that one at 8 1/2 weeks.  To make sure things were ok since I spotted twice, they also had me go back at 12 weeks for another ultrasound.)

Second Trimester
overall: still go every four weeks

Week 16: The second trimester was incredibly uneventful in terms of doctor's visits.  I got so excited that I was in my second trimester, but nothing really happens.  At the visits they do the following:
       (1) listen to the heartbeat
       (2) check your fundal height (how high your uterus is.  At 20 weeks, it should be around your belly button)
       (3) ask you if you feel the baby moving
       (4) have you pee in the cup.  Let me say something here: they have you pee in the cup at every single visit so make sure to hold your bladder before your visits!  Later in the pregnancy this won't be as tough since you're going to the restroom more, but at first, I found it helpful to hold my bladder and even ask for some water once I got to the doctor's office.
       (5) take your blood pressure

Week 20: at week 20 is usually your anatomy and gender ultrasound!  This is a fun visit.  We did ours around week 19 and we also chose to find out the sex of our baby.  But even if you don't want to know, you'll still be there for quite a while because the anatomy takes around 30 minutes to one hour (depending on how the baby is positioned that day).

Week 24: look at week 16 and repeat

Week 28: this visit is time consuming because they do the glucose test on you.  You drink this cup that tastes like some kool aid with a funky consistency and sit in the waiting room for an hour.  Then they bring you back and prick your finger (ouchie!).

Third Trimester
overall: go every two weeks until week 36 and then go weekly

Week 30: if you've noticed, it was only two weeks since my last visit.  In the third trimester, you do a lot of the same stuff, but go more often because they want to make sure that you're not going in to pre-term labor.

Week 32: my doctor's office did something that I really liked.  Starting around week 28, they had you do visits with different doctor's in their practice to try and get you acclimated to the different physicians incase your OB wasn't on call the day you went in to labor.  At week 32, I met Dr. Farooqi and she is the one that ended up delivering our baby!  When Dr. Casanova realized he wasn't gonig to be able to stay for delivery, he told us we had an option of four doctor's and thankfully I knew I wanted Farooqi since I had rotated and met nearly everyone.  All the doctor's were incredibly nice, but Dr. Farooqi and Dr. Casanova were by far our favorites, so it was an easy choice.  This is also the week I got put on exercise bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy because I would get contractions whenever I did squats, or even walked around the block.

Week 34: look at week 16 and repeat

Week 36: at this visit, things start changing.  Once you're at this point, you are almost full-term.  Starting at week 36, you go on a weekly basis and go back to your OB.  You also get your cervix checked to see if they can give you an estimate of when that baby is coming!  Dr. Casanova checked me and told me any day now because as I posted here, I was quite far along at my visit.  I went in to labor two days after this visit.  However, I believe weeks 36 - 40 would have been more of the same.  In this time too, you might discuss when you'd want to be induced.  I was going to be induced on my due date, but obviously that was never an issue.

Postpartum visit: usually your postpartum visit is around 6 weeks out.  I, however, had mine at 4 weeks and 5 days because Dr. Casanova is going to Spain for two weeks starting next week.  At this visit, they ask you how you're doing, the doctor gets to meet that sweet baby he delivered, they check your blood pressure, they ask you how your healing is progressing, they check your cervix to make sure it closed, they check your ovaries, and if everything is looking good they give you the green light to resume exercise and sexual intercourse (woo hoo!).  Last, they give you birth control (unless of course you want to immediately start trying for another child).  Dr. Casanova asked us almost immediately "so guys, when are you having the second?"  I laughed and told him I wanted some incredibly effective birth control!  Personally, we're waiting at least one and a half years before even thinking about #2, so I left with lots of birth control!  ; ) 

TADA!  Done with doctor's visits.  While the poking down there and on my arm weren't fun, it really wasn't all that bad or too burdensome.  In fact, at first I wanted to go to the doctor's more often because I'm a worry wart and liked hearing that everything looked good.  But, most importantly, they were really not bad because they gave me my sweet Liliana, who by the way was a "cute, huge baby" according to Dr. Casanova.  Oh no, I think she might be getting chubby!! OOOOPS....

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