Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Pregnant in Hong Kong

I had another Dr appt yesterday and as I was sharing some details with a friend this morning, I realized that while so much of life has become normal that there are still a lot of things that most people would find unusual or at least different from what you experience in the states. So anyway... I decided that I would share what my appointments are like in the public health system of HK.

1st thing is that the clinics only do appointments for certain things on certain days. The clinic I attend only accepts Antenatal re-visits on Tuesday afternoons from 2-5pm. Secondly, I don't actually have a time appointment, I'm given a date that I need to come back (for ex. June 10) and I have to come on that specific date or earlier (like the Tues before.) This means that unless I want to wait hours and yes, I mean hours, I need to be at the clinic about 1:20ish to line up. Thankfully, I have managed to get there early and I've always been in the top 15 patients. :) And the final thing in regards to the appointment arrangements is that you only go every 6wks, then 4 wks, then 2wks and weekly. You don't even get in to see a Dr until you are pretty much into your 2nd trimester and because of how my visits fell, I've only had 3 appointments in 7 months of pregnancy.

As far as the actual appointment... there is a room for everything and you feel like you're a part of an assembly line. We start with our urine test where I have to bring my own (saved from the morning) and stick two little pieces of paper in it. Then I make my way to get weighed. I take my little slip of paper and have my blood pressure taken. Then I move into another line for my turn to hear the baby's heartbeat with my own tissue (that I had to bring with me) to wipe the cream off. Next I wait for them to call me into another room where I meet with a nurse to go over my weight gain and any other details. She stamps my card for the next appointment date and I leave. Unless I absolutely need to see a Dr (which they will do anything they can to prevent you from seeing or at least it sure seems that way) in which I go back out to the waiting room and wait again to be called into yet another room.

It is very impersonal and because I don't speak Cantonese... I feel like an inconvenience to them. Like at my 1st appt when I didn't know exactly what I was to be doing and they just lectured me like I was a moron instead of just explaining the process. Or when I was trying to convince the Dr that i needed something to help the vomiting and all she would say was 'its just a part of pregnancy,' or when I was concerned about my fainting issues and they said, 'Stay away from cloudy areas,' or yesterday when I was lectured over and over about my weight gain and was told that 'imagine how much you would weigh if you weren't having your vomiting issues.' Yeah... can you tell that I'm having a bit of a hard time with the impersonalness (yes my own word) of the care but for no cost... I can deal with it.

It does make me a bit nervous about what the birthing experience will be like but I'm thankful that I know 3 Dr's at the hospital that will help me if need be.

So alas... I've reached the 'every 2 weeks' stage now and I was told that they would be looking closely at my weight gain because it's just not good and most women gain what I have during their entire pregnancy. Please let me note that while I have gained... I'm on target to gain less than I did with Isabella and within the recommended 25-35lbs that all my books say. But alas... I'm glad it's getting close to the end. I'm anxious to meet this little one and feel better.

And I told Mike that I'm not going to have any sweets or sweet drinks... anything that could add to my weight gain for the next two weeks and see how much I gain. That way at least I don't have to listen to how fat I am. :)

So I'm 28wks... still measuring 2 weeks ahead (which I still know means nothing but I have hope that maybe it still not not knowing the sex. Next appt they'll check to see what position the baby is in. Not sure how they'll do that but I'm praying maybe it'll mean an ultrasound.

So that's life in the public hospital system. My appointments last about 1 to 1.5hrs by the time I get through everything.

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