Monday, October 29, 2007

Forays into Social Medicine

I had my first appointment today, with a General Practitioner, who then recommends me to the midwives. I was really hoping for an ultrasound or doppler to check for the baby's heartbeat, mainly because last time I miscarried I found out at my first midwife appointment. This morning (before the app.) I was so worried about this that I could hardly function. Avram kept reassuring me, because I have been morning sick - or all-day sick, to be more accurate. I gathered up all op my courage, and went to the surgery (what they call the local clinics).
I met with a doctor, who filled out forms on a computer, and then told me that I would receive my dating scan (ultrasound) appointment in the mail, and that was it. No doppler. They don't even have an scanner at the surgery, which isn't really surprising, when you realize that in socialized medicine it makes sense to keep the more expensive equipment in centralized locations, such as hospitals. My scan will be done at the local Oxford hospital, which unfortunately is nowhere close to where the minibus drops us off in Oxford. In fact, it's about the same distance - four miles - to walk straight to the hospital from Yarnton than take the minibus. I guess it's good then that my normal appointments won't be there. And I do like to walk, at least. When I asked the doctor when the scan would be, he said, "Probably within a fortnight."

After I have the scan, then I'll have the actual first appointment. I can't really complain, after all, Britain is letting me have a baby for free here.
I do feel let down, though. At this rate I'll be able to tell whether my baby is alive by when it starts kicking, because I'll be far enough along. Since my appointment I haven't done anything useful at home, I think because it was all so anti-climactic and uninformative. I have made a sad sentimental song times playlist on my computer, with such songs as Hurry Down Sundown, by Peter, Paul and Mary, Desperado, the Eagles, No Smoke no Baloney, Tanglefoot (a rather obscure folk Canadian group, but I love them. And the song is all about breathing in the smoke and the bad working conditions in the steel plants in Sydney, the capital of Cape Breton Isle attached to Nova Scotia. Perfect for sad songs.)

They did give me a Pregnancy book, which the doctor pointed out would mostly be useful to me for cultural observations. Such as in Britain for pain medication during labor they have a lot more options, like Gas and Air, ie nitrous oxide. It makes me think of the Muppet Show veterinary hospital skit, where they're always breathing in the n.o. at the beginning. Or TENS, which is basically electrodes attached to your back that you control and give jolts to yourself during contractions. Weird.


  1. Well, that bridge crossed only to learn it didn't go much of any where. We actually have a TENS unit but it works more like those electrode circles Dr. Conger used to put on your back. I hope the weather cooperates on the day of your appointment.

  2. Wow how interesting about the different pain methods. of course with your fast delivery you wont have time for that anyways! which reminds me how are you going to get to the hospital to deliver? please tell me the hospital that is a 4 mile walk is not where you are delivering? And if so can you get a cab on that day or something?? I just dont want you having your baby on the side of some road... even though that would make a great story! LOL Oh and is your baby going to be duel citezenship? how does that all work?

  3. We're not exactly sure how we're going to get to the hospital (which is the one that's for my ultrasound.) Hopefully we'll have something set up with the ward members here, so that when I'll go into labour I can call one of them. You can call an ambulance here, but you have to leave time for them to come and get you (because it's not an absolute emergency, or anything, they won't come immediately). If nothing else, we will call a cab.

    We've looked it up, and basically as soon as we can after the baby's born (within a few days, even) we need to go to London, to the consulate there, and apply for US citizenship for our baby. Also, we have to send a passport application to America for it as well, so we'll probably do the fastest expediting to make sure we'll have it in time to fly back to the US. I don't think it'll have british citizenship automatically, or anything. I don't think England's like America in that anyone born here is a citizen.

    Mom - the Tens unit is exactly what Dr. Conger had. It made me laugh a little, that I had used one before.

  4. The TENS unit we have is small enough to fit in a shirt pocket, and has two settings: constant, and pulsating, but no easy way to just give yourself a single shock. It's very expensive (I inherited mine from Josh, who got it free from the VA), and it stops back pain better than chiropractic, and WAY cheaper!