Up to this point I was so focused on getting pregnant that I didn’t really find out anything about what comes next! So I’m sitting in bed clutching my third positive pregnancy test and now I’m not sure what to do? Is it really real? I was unlucky and suffered implantation bleeding so I’ve got an extra doubt in my mind.
I started by calling the doctors surgery and they told me I didn’t need to see a doctor… to go online and book in via the digital form… ok… what’s booking in? Turns out booking in is effectively signing up with a particular hospital for your pregnancy care and birth. I filled out the simple online form with just basic identity details and pressed the send…
Then I waited…
A week later I got a phone call from Lorna who is part of the local midwife team. Her number comes up as just a regular mobile and she started by asking if I was somewhere that I was happy to talk or would I like her to call back. Very helpful for those at work: luckily I was off work that day.
She immediately put me at ease and after checking a few more details she set the date for my booking in appointment. At eight weeks (at that point I was just over five weeks) and at home!!
Plenty of time to read the screening & tests booklet that came in the post about a week later.
Actually the appointment came around quickly and as it approached I started having crazy worries:-
- Will the midwife turn up at my home in a branded car?
- Will she be wearing one of those “nurse” tunics that the neighbour will recognise?
I also went on a crazy cleaning and tidying mission. Even the grass got an extra cut by a bemused Hubby. I knew that this was also a “home check” and wanted to make a good impression and wailed to Hubby “I just want to be a good mum!” Quite a lot of reassurance later, mostly finished off with Hubby saying “well, we passed the house check from the cat rescue centre so we’ll be fine,” and we fell into bed exhausted.
On the morning of the appointment I managed to hold off from baking cookies as I thought that would be too too crazy. Hubby came home from work so that he could join in which was great.
She didn’t turn up in a branded car and wasn’t wearing uniform, only a subtle ID lanyard. In fact she has the same car as ours! Great choice – awesome bootspace.
We sat at our dining table as there is a lot of paperwork to go through… Every lady under the care of the West Sussex, Chichester team gets a purple folder. In it is your green booklet where all the records of family history, medical conditions and any pregnancy history is recorded.
You get asked about physical and mental health, close family conditions and lifestyle choices such as alcohol and smoking. All of this contributes to a risk assessment of your pregnancy and I was happy to come out as a low risk despite being 33.
You get to state your preferences for birth at this point but just the most basic options of home, hospital or birth centre. I’d love a water birth so I’ve opted for birth centre if possible when the time comes. Lorna did explain that we will go through a detailed birth plan later on.
You will also need to decide on what tests and screening you want for genetic and physical anomalies. This is where your homework booklet reading comes in. Be prepared for the midwife to roll her eyes if you say “we’ll just do the normal stuff!” We’ve opted to have all of the scans and blood tests (on me) and we’ll cross the other bridges if anything comes up. You should know that you can change your mind either way at any point.
Next come the blood tests. I’m kind of glad I didn’t know this was coming as I hate blood tests. Lorna was great and very skilled at not making a mess of even my deep veins. Three little vials filled and then a sample of urine needed which was easy as I was busting for the loo by this point. These all get sent of to the lab and if there are any problems then one of the midwife team will call, usually Lorna unless a quick response is needed. Fingers and toes crossed that all is well.
You’ll be given a prescription exemption form to fill in so that you can get medicines and dental care free of charge while pregnant and for a year afterwards. Mine is in the post straight away as I need to have a dental check up soon. You’ll be sent a card that you can show where necessary.
We finished off with some nutritional advice and Lorna pointed out some good points in the lovely Bounty pack… you get lots of goodies to look at and the purple folder stays with you at all times. After Lorna left I had a good look through everything and it’s so reassuring that we are looked after so much on this scary journey. Did have to remember to hide the folder in its Bounty wallet away before any neighbours or friends spotted it! My mum instantly recognised the connection with Bounty and it’s been a while since she’s been in this situation!
So I’m waiting… for a letter with my combined scan (ultrasound and blood tests) at 12 weeks. There isn’t a lot of scope to change this appointment as there are 70-90 other ladies all needing the same scan at this important milestone.
I’m well equipped with numbers to call for advice on anything and I feel comfortable that this is a process that we approach as a team.
I’m also getting the message loud and clear… this is a waiting game… build up your coping strategies… you are going to need them!
This is the process in West Sussex, Chichester. Other areas might be different but I hope this helps. Do feel free to comment or message me with any thoughts or questions.