Sunday, 5 April 2015

First maternity hospital visit

The first pregnancy hospital appointment is a big one, you are nervous, excited and don’t know what to expect.

My first visit  to Cavan General Hospital was at 17 weeks, we chose the public maternity route (which is FREE in Ireland). I had only been to my doctor prior and thankfully had not needed to visit the hospital until then.

Cavan General Hospital. Image from

So what should you expect? - A long wait. On our first hospital appointment, we were there for almost 3 hours!

First up was the ultrasound, the images were blurry but the technician seemed to see what she was looking for. In relation to my strange uterus, she said she could see one womb with a separation down the middle which was a “possible bicornuate uterus.” We asked about gender, but she said she couldn’t be sure … but we would know at our next scan.
She said that my uterus situation may become clearer as the pregnancy progresses or we may have to wait until after birth to find out the true situation.

Then came my first visit with the midwife, I know many people are lucky to see the same midwife the whole way through their pregnancy, but this was not the case in Cavan.
She measured my height and weight, she took the blood tests my doctor did and I was sent to get one more blood test.

Then the questions came. My husband came with me to the hospital, but aside from the ultrasound he may as well have stayed at home, because he had to just wait by himself.

I think the purpose of not having your partner in there is so that you answer the questions honestly!
The midwife asked a million questions about my medical history, my husband’s and our families. I couldn't be 100% sure for all the questions relating to our families but answered in relation to our immediate family. There were a lot of questions about alcohol, smoke and drug use. She also asked if there had been any violence in our relationship.
After what seemed like hours, she said I was very healthy and would have been categorised as low risk pregnancy only for my unknown womb situation. As a low risk patient I could have opted for the midwifery led unit, which is supposed to be a nicer experience but it would rule out the use of epidural or drug based pain relief during labour. I also think there are less ultrasound scans using that unit.
It being my first pregnancy and as I was unsure what exactly my womb was at, I was happier to have a consultant led pregnancy.

I was born with a clicking hip, so the midwife made a note of that and the baby will be assessed for that issue after birth.

Breastfeeding was also a big conversation. I was unsure of my feelings about breastfeeding at the time, but said I would like to breastfeed if only for a few weeks. I was send home with a lot of literature to read and told my next hospital appointment was in four weeks time.

At my second hospital visit, I brought a urine sample. My blood pressure was tested and I met a doctor under my consultant. The doctor said my baby was growing on target and there was no sign of “another womb” on the ultrasound. There was also no sign of gender … next scan will show “for definite.”

After doing a lot of googling and trawling through forums at home, I had a lot of questions for the doctor, such as will I go into premature labour, can I have a vaginal birth etc.
The doctor said she saw no issue with my pregnancy and birth being normal, which annoyed me a little as we had no idea if it could be normal because we didn't know what shape or position my womb was!

For your first hospital visit:
- Try and go alone, it is a long wait for your partner/ friend
- Schedule a lot of time, such as the whole morning or afternoon
- Have a rough idea of your family history
- Expect you may have to give a blood sample
- Make a list of any questions you have and bring it with you

***This post relates to June 2014***

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