This is the part two of the series. You can read the part one here.
First appointment at the hospital - with the Midwifery section
In the previous post I mentioned that we got an appointment from the Midwifery section of the Monash Medical Centre for Tuesday, the 3rd of May. I've never had to visit the hospital before so this would be the first time I go there. I was not sure where to park the car even. I searched for a map of the hospital online but I could not find any. However, I found out that the parking charges within the hospital premises were very steep. But since this was out first visit, we decided to give into the ludicrous parking fees by parking the car within the premises.
The appointment was at 1pm. I went to work in the morning and took short leave after a quick lunch with the intention of going back after the checkup. I did not expect it to take too long - Australia is a developed country after all, and everything ought to be well organised and punctual, right?
We weren't sure where the clinic was, so we had to look for it. Someone who was working at the hospital must have figured we were lost and came to our help and she gave us directions to the clinic. There was a separate reception at the clinic and we stood up in the queue and waited for us to be called upon. When we were called upon, we let them know that this was our first visit and that we had an appointment with the midwifery section at 1pm. The receptionist asked my wife's personal details to confirm she was who she claimed to be. After that, she asked us to take a seat and wait for her name to be called upon.
We had to wait for about one hour until we were called upon. So much for hoping that I could return to work within an hour or so. The maternity clinic was filled with mothers-to-be, probably because that particular time slot was the busiest hour with some of the doctors gone for lunch.
Since the appointment was with the midwifery section, it was a midwife who saw us. Perhaps they had gone for lunch too. After all, they are also human. The midwife was young and super cool. The session went on for more than 30 minutes, as she carefully noted down everything that was required to create a patient record for my wife. When we told her that the ultrasound was done only a day before and we did not have the results with us, she called Capital Radiology and got them to fax them over to the hospital. She did not receive them at that moment, but she said she will attach them to Ama's patient record for the doctor to see the next time. She also recommended us to get the flu vaccine and the whooping cough vaccine, both of which were free for the parents to be. We could have received it at the GP or at the hospital.
After we saw the midwife, we went back to the reception and there we were handed over a card, kind of like a schedule for our visits. She had marked our next appointment: 9:30am on 10th May, which was in a week. This time, the appointment was with the doctor. We were also handed over a bag with few commercial products (to promote them) and a guide book. We received similar items back in Japan as well.
It was almost 3:30pm and I felt there was no point going back to work, so I called in and took the whole afternoon off. To put the half-day to full use, we decided to get the vaccines sorted out at the hospital.
And, as expected, I had to pay $16 for parking for more than two hours!
We were also advised that everyone at home received whopping cough vaccine. My son did not need it because he had received the DTPA vaccine according to his vaccine schedule, but my parents had to get it. But there was no need to rush it as the delivery was due in more than 2 months' time. We postponed it to a convenient time.
First appointment with the doctor
I very well remembered the parking fees that I had to pay last time, so I wanted to do something about it on the day of the appointment with the doctor. There are on-street parking spaces available near the hospital with a time limit of two hours at a time, however, they were all full by the time we reached the hospital. Apparently nobody wanted to pay this much for parking and rightly so. So I dropped my wife off at the entrance of the hospital and went around looking for a parking spot. I had to go all the way down to the parking area near Coles supermarket in Clayton to find one. That is also a two-hour parking area. Parking fines are monstrous in Victoria (probably throughout Australia), so I had to make sure I come back within the allocated time, so I set a timer on my phone. After parking the car, I rushed back to the hospital, but it still took about 10 minutes.
Since my wife was a public patient at the hospital, we didn't have the privilege to choose our own doctor. (You can be treated as a private patient at a public hospital too, but then you will have to pay out of your pocket for the additional privileges you get.) We had to go with a doctor assigned to us from the hospital and it could well be a different doctor the next time. The doctor we were assigned to was an Australian in his late 40s or early 50s and he was very calm and smiling. He had an apprentice or an intern on that day, a Sri Lankan descendant but he didn't look like a typical Sri Lankan at all. The doctor asked how my wife was feeling and whether the baby was kicking and moving. As for the test, he did a physical examination of the belly, listened to the heartbeat of the baby and measured my wife's blood pressure. Everything seemed good. After the checkup, both of us walked towards where I parked the car and we probably lost about 10 minutes because my wife was not at liberty to walk fast.
Second appointment with the doctor
The next appointment was in three weeks. That's 31st of May and this time it was at 9:45am. Again I had to go park the car at the Coles car park. We didn't have to wait too long this time; only abut 15 minutes. The doctor assigned to Ama this time was the same doctor as from the last time, which was unexpected. But there was no need to complain about it because the doctor was nice. He had no apprentice this time. He did the same checks as the last time, and he was happy with how the pregnancy was progressing. He asked if we had any questions, and we had two.
First one was about the list of things we needed to bring with us when admitting to the hospital. My wife called it the "hospital bag". Since this was the winter just as the last time, most of the things we needed pack were similar. But it is a different hospital and a different country, so things could be different. The doctor handed a piece of paper with a list printed on it.
The other question we had was about the delivery. My wife worried too much about giving a normal birth. It was funny how she had no worries cutting someone open her belly, but worried so much about doing it naturally. Our first baby was also a normal birth, so it's not new to her, but we had to induce labor that time, as her body does not seem to take the initiative. Because of this, she had to go through a long period of pain, and I think this is why she was worried about it. But everyone, including the doctor was telling her that the 2nd baby will be easier and the labor period would be shorter. But the doctor insisted there was no need for a Cesarean. Well, my wife was not too convinced. The doctor comforted her saying that she could have a Epidural instead, which will make her not feel the pain. The doctor insisted that it was very safe.
After the checkup, we got our next appointment for the 14th of June at 8:45am. Instead of both of us walking down to car park, I rushed and brought the car back to the hospital to pick up my wife. It was around 10:30am when I reached work.
This is it for this post, folks. Await the next one in the series in a few days. ;)