Tuesday, July 06, 2010

A Tale of Two Prenatal Appointments

I've had two prenatal appointments in the past two days.  Yesterday I met with my midwives for our first appointment.  Earlier today, I saw a nurse practitioner at Kaiser for a prenatal and to have my records transferred from my previous OB's office.

The two appointments were like night and day.

For my midwife appointment, Zach came with me. We drove up to their office, which is the bottom apartment of a converted 2-story pink victorian.  Both midwives, Claudia and Jen, were there. They welcomed us in, got us each a glass of water, and we sat down in comfortable chairs in the living/common area.  They handed me a few booklets with information about pregnancy exercises, baby's growth, etc, along with a chart where I am to record my food intake for one week so we can talk about nutrition at the next appointment.  We filled out my basic information for my chart, and went over several legal forms.  At the part when usually you're expected to sign on the dotted line trusting that the document really does say what they told you it does, instead Claudia instructed me to take them home, read them fully, then bring them back with my signatures and/or any questions I had about them.  They asked me about Donovan's pregnancy and birth; how this pregnancy was going so far; talked about their fees and payment plans (which we can pretty much plan out however we like, as long as we do actually, you know, pay); and they answered all my questions thoroughly, often throwing in an appropriate anecdote or two.  They emphasized that from now through post-partum care, they are both on call for me 24/7-- if I wake up with a sudden worry at 3am, I can (and even should) call them, and gave me each of their cell phone numbers, email addresses, and home addresses.  Before long we realized we'd blown through the entire two hours they had allotted for this first appointment (future ones will likely only be one hour), and their next client was at the door.  Jen invited the next couple in and began the consult with them, while Claudia took Zach and I into the adjacent bedroom/exam room to check my blood pressure, heart rate, weight, urine, feel my uterus, and listen to baby's heartbeat with a doppler (around 152bpm!).  Finally she asked if we had any other questions, we booked our next appointment, and with a hug good-bye we were done.  (BTW we kept D at home with Zach's parents for the appointment, because of the length and timing, but they do have a play kitchen and several other children's toys in the office and he is welcome to all future appointments-- which is a very nice perk)

Today I went by myself.  I drove up to the huge Kaiser Permanente complex, parked, found the elevator up to the third floor, and checked in at the desk, where I handed over my insurance card, ID, and $30 copay.  I then sat in the waiting room for 25 minutes before they called my name.  The nurse/office staff/not even sure what the proper title is took me to the back, checked my weight, blood pressure, and asked if I'd brought my own urine sample (apparently I was supposed to collect my first morning urine, but no one had mentioned this to me when I made the appointment).  She then booked my ultrasound appointment (for monday!) and gave me updated paperwork for the second part of my blood screening.  Then she asked me to change into the gown on the table (at least it was cloth, not all paper) and wait for the nurse practitioner with whom I had the actual appointment.  The nurse came in a while later, asked me what symptoms I was having, noted that D's birth was listed as normal in the charts, made sure all records had transferred properly, then gave me a breast exam and listened to the heartbeat with a doppler.  She asked me what doctor I'd like to see from now on, I mentioned that I was seeing midwives outside of Kaiser and was considering not continuing double appointments, and she pretty much forced me to make my next appointment at 20 weeks.  Then we spent a good 10 minutes trying to figure out how to print out my records so I could give a copy to my midwives.  In total, from check-in to when I left, I spent an hour there, about 45 minutes of which was spent just waiting-- for my name to be called, to schedule future appointments, for the nurse to come back in the room, for my records to be printed.

Now, the staff I dealt with today at Kaiser was pleasant enough.  But I think you can see why I prefer the midwives. ; )

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