Halfway to newbornville

Posted by in Mary's blog

Last month we reached the half way point in my pregnancy. Only 16 weeks to go till we meet our new baby! Its been a while since I’ve posted, so let me briefly review the 2nd trimester so far.

Currently my prenatal visits have been every 4 weeks. It is exciting to watch our little one grow and see him (yes, it’s a boy!) moving about on the ultrasound monitor. This is a very different experience from Canada where we might have only seen the baby 2 or 3 times throughout my entire pregnancy. During one visit we could see the baby opening and closing his mouth and swallowing amniotic fluid.

My second prenatal visit was at about 15 weeks. The doctor’s clinic was a little busier this time. We are still trying to figure out the best time to go. We don’t have to make appointments because it’s a walk-in clinic – the doctor just tells us which day we should come. We like to go on Saturdays because that works best for my schedule…but it seems like lots of other moms-to-be do as well.

The pattern of my prenatal visits is as follows:

1. Hand my clinic card and health insurance card to the receptionist

2. Pee in a cup,

3. Have my weight and blood pressure checked

4. Watch the baby on the ultrasound monitor while the doctor takes measurements (with Mike & the Bunny)

5. Vaginal exam (without Mike & the Bunny)

6. Short discussion time with the doctor.

At my 15 week appointment I discovered something surprising: I don’t have my rubella immunization. This can be bad news for pregnant ladies because rubella is one of those illnesses that leads to birth defects. Our doctor said that Rubella is not as worrisome past the 16th week mark (which at that point was 3 days away for me). I also found out my blood type, which that I should have known but didn’t. Now it is safely recorded in our baby’s Health and Maternity Book. It should be easy enough to memorize when I get around to it.

My third prenatal visit was at about 19 weeks. Our baby was already measuring big compared to the average Japanese baby, but I expected that to be the case. The doctor also made note of the fact that I am gaining weight. He didn’t explicitly say it was bad, but I do know the weight gain recommendations between Canada and Japan are quite different. In Japan, if your BMI is within normal range (18.5-25) then 7-12 kilograms (about 15-26 pounds) is the expected weight gain. However, in Canada you would be expected to gain 11.5-16 kilograms (about 25-35 pounds).

My fourth prenatal visit was at about 23 weeks.  At our pervious appointment, the doctor wasn’t able to get a good look at our baby’s private parts.  He told us it was maybe a girl.  This week he asked us if he had told us yet the gender of our baby.  When I told him what he said at our last appointment, he laughed and pointed to the screen.  He asked me if I saw that.  Yes, our baby is clearly a boy.  The doctor even printed a picture of the ultrasound which he called “evidence of boy”.  My prenatal visits will now be every two weeks starting with our next appointment in a few days.

In other news, at about 28-30 weeks I will visit the hospital where I will give birth. I have a million questions floating around in my head that I would like to ask about the delivery and hospital stay. In Japan, most women stay in the hospital for about 7 days after the delivery even without complications. This is supposed to be a time for new moms to rest and learn how to take care of new babies. Now is the time for me to seriously start thinking about what kind of birth I want and to draft my birth plan.

On the downside, my varicose veins are back. I’m debating getting compression stockings, but I’m dreading the summer heat…

Thanks to our helpful coupons that we got from city hall when we registered my pregnancy, prenatal visits have yet to cost us anything.

I’m really enjoying this stage of pregnancy.  The baby is moving around a fair bit, I’m feeling pretty good, and I can still enjoy going for long walks with my family.