I'm 20 weeks, bitches. Half way point. And I feel, ok. Work schedule is demanding and I’m fighting a flu, but in general, I’m fine. Touch wood.
I had a follow up appointment today and as usual joined the cattle herd of pregnant women in the crowded waiting rooms waiting for our 5 minutes of undignified prenatal “care”. The last time I went for a check up, there was a new doctor standing in for one of the usual, she was an Indian lady. Probably a volunteer of some sort, here to help a third world country, probably fresh out of med school… You could tell she was in way over her head, she seemed panicked and had probably never dealt with 50 pregnant patients before 8am. The doc normally gives me an ie lavalava and asks me to get on the table thingie. She told me to get on, and without warning she pulled my dress up over my stomach, she looked at my legs in shock and said, you have lots of tattoos eh? I just nodded. She then listened across my belly with her stethoscope for all of 3 seconds, and said, “I can’t hear the heartbeat, don’t worry about it, come back in 4 weeks.” I don’t think she even made eye contact with me. It was over in 5 minutes. If I hadn't several similar appointments (minus the shock horror at leg tattoos) I would've been shocked. But I'm not, a tad disappointed perhaps, but well adjusted enough to not get into a tirade about it. This is island life for you.
So today, again I went, expectations zilch, a bag of food and a book to keep me busy while I waited out the 2 hour sitting time. The visit was – uneventful. Baby’s heartbeat was strong and regular, tests all came back fine... come back in 4 weeks.
What I did find impressive is the educational programs that run in the waiting rooms. So the Department of Health has these programs (Well baby, Breast feeding, WIC, Pre-natal health, etc…) and they send representatives to talk to their target (knocked up) audience about their services. Probably the most opportune time since we have 2 hours to kill and nowhere to go. There is a wealth of (largely free) resources available to pregnant mother’s and newborn care. You can get free breast pumps, free healthy food during pregnancy and the first few years of your child's life. Free birth control, free visits to the hospital, your house from breastfeeding nurses. And they are constantly telling you what to eat, and giving "advice" on how to stay healthy during your pregnancy. I always find it amusing the no nonsense way Samoans tell other Samoans what to do especially when its women telling other women what to do. It’s like listening to your mother tell you off.
“Don’t be fiapoko when you breastfeed, if you do it wrong, your baby will choke. Pay attention.”
“Quit drinking that soda crap. Oh, its so disgusting how can you even feed that to your baby? Drink water and milk, you hear?”
"These programs are optional, you have the right to refuse, but girl, its free food. Don't be an idiot. Sign up sheets are at the back there with Lise."
Today an older lady gave a no-nonsense talk about birth control, it was the most hilarious, graphic, awkward, and definitely memorable discussion about condoms, vasectomies, IUDs, STDs and cheating horny husbands I’ve ever sat through.
One of the gems from her talk today, “Condoms are good for you! Make sure when your husband wants to jump you tell him, “don’t touch me until you put on that rubber!” Condoms are especially good for you because if your husband is sleeping around, whatever he caught from the hoe down the street, you won’t get it.”
Lol. Preach sister.
20 weeks to go. Touch wood.