Here I go with another series. I know, I know… but I figured this one might be a little more beneficial than the Do’s and Don’ts of Pregnancy. Now, I’m not copying the What to Expect When You’re Expecting best-seller. My series is more along the lines of what you should expect at doctor’s appointments and what tests you need to think about.
The reason I started this series is because a) a friend of mine asked about it and b) it can be a really overwhelming experience if it’s your first child.
The only thing I knew to do after finding out I was pregnant was to email my OBGYN and start the process. Not even a week after I emailed my doctor did her staff call me and start asking questions and giving me a plethora of information. The phone nurse asked when my last menstrual cycle was and calculated my due date that way (I’m due this December) and then proceeded to tell me about all these videos I need to watch before my first ultrasound and doctor’s appointment. I should also expect links to review about what I can and can’t do or eat, as well as tips for a healthy pregnancy in my inbox. Then was I able to ask questions. Learning all these pieces of information, I didn’t have many questions to ask on the phone. My first ultrasound was scheduled around 2 weeks after my phone call with the nurse.
Oh, can’t forget to mention the mountain of paperwork that was sent to me that needed to be filled out before my first appointment. It went through my whole family history – and my husband’s – to help rule out certain genetic testing (if you decide to do that, which we did). We filled out all the paperwork and put it aside until we needed to bring it to our appointment.
Fast forward two weeks and my husband and I are sitting in the exam room, waiting for the nurse practitioner. My healthcare provider calls this first ultrasound the “confirmation” ultrasound to confirm pregnancy and to calculate whether your due date is accurate or not. They do the standard weight check-in and blood pressure readings and then go in for the full exam. Now, I’m going to get a little TMI here, but your first two ultrasounds are done vaginally, so it’s really uncomfortable, but not painful. Think of it as a pap smear with a thick tool. I’m just grateful that I didn’t need a full bladder as sound waves tend to travel better with one.
Then we saw the baby: our little kidney bean at the time. So small that it would have harmed the baby to turn on the doppler and hear the heartbeat, but boy was it beating! The nurse took some measurements and made sure everything was kosher and then she printed out some pictures, let me get re-dressed and came back into the room to start asking and answering questions (check out my pregnancy do’s and don’ts post for more info).
While the paperwork we filled out gave our nurse practitioner a guideline, she wanted to go into more detail about what we can expect during this whole process. A slew of blood tests for me, and my husband not needing to be at every single appointment (lucky him!!). We then had to decide whether we wanted to start our genetic testing, which we did, and I had to fill out a bunch of paperwork for that. My nurse practitioner also put in an order for other prenatal tests that would tell me my blood type, if I have a cold, how my glucose levels are, etc. Lots of pricking, for sure! Fun fact: genetic testing is done through the State of California and not in your local lab, so while you can get your blood drawn at your local lab, they send it off to the State and it takes three weeks to get your results.
After discussing everything, they scheduled my next appointment for around four weeks later and I made my way down to the lab to get my first set of blood tests done. Stay tuned for Part Two of the series.
Length of appointment: 1 hour and 15 minutes.
What is done: Confirmation of pregnancy ultrasound (vaginal) and questions.
Next steps: First trimester genetic testing and prenatal workup blood tests.
What was your first experience like after finding out you were pregnant? I’d love to know. Leave a comment below.