We weren’t really trying. I mean, we were in the simplest sense, in that I haven’t taken birth control in two and a half years. But this time there weren’t any medications, no colorful charts or intricate calendar work, no incantations or hoodoo. With the ship’s schedule and us being so far away from home, we weren’t sure that the timing would be right – but then again, with everything that’s happened in the last couple years, we didn’t want to miss out on any opportunities, either. So we ceded control to nature, and nature did what it does.
The positive pregnancy test happened in May, less than a week after Brendon’s ship left on a two month deployment. Bummer that he had to find out long distance, but I could definitely not have kept the secret that long. The good news is, while I can’t say too much about the ship’s upcoming schedule, they aren’t supposed to have a lot of underway time until after the due date.
My prenatal care has been a combination of the limited (general practice) on-base branch clinic facilities, and a Japanese OB/GYN at a doctor’s office / birthing center / sort-of-hospital (the “byouin”). (You can visit their approximately-English website!) So far, all of my lab work and general care has been at the Navy clinic, with mostly just ultrasounds from the byouin – but, as of 20 weeks, all of my care up to and including delivery is transferred to the Japanese OB/GYN only. I actually see this as a great thing, because the clinic has caused me quite a lot of frustration. I’ve shown up for appointments, then been told I’m not on the books for that day; I have gone in for lab work, and been told the tests were never ordered; the doctor failed to sign off on my prescription refill and I had to come back for it the next day. On the plus side, the labs they’ve run have all been good: at this point I shouldn’t be overly concerned about gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, or chromosomal disorders (respectively). The byouin has its own quirks and it can be a pretty confusing place, but overall they inspire a lot more confidence, and the doctor I have been seeing there speaks English pretty well. Also, routine prenatal care in Japan includes more frequent ultrasounds than in the States, so tomorrow’s appointment will be my fourth peek inside.
They even recorded the last session, at 16 weeks, on a DVD for us. I copied the video over to YouTube, and you can watch it right here – but, fair warning, it’s six and a half minutes long and pretty jerky.
I rented a home doppler online, so that I can listen to the heartbeat whenever I want. That has been endlessly reassuring, since I confess I get a little paranoid about the pregnancy at times. And thanks to Internet magic, I can even share the lovely sound with you via WAV file:
Like the first time, I have been feeling pretty great. My physical complaints have been minimal. I haven’t had morning sickness once. The worst of it is just itchy skin, some back stiffness, fatigue, and a smooshed, tiny bladder. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve started to feel little hints of movement. It’s so exciting! I am sure the discomforts will grow as I continue to expand – and the expanding, hasn’t been a problem at all, as you can see. For posterity’s sake, we have been taking belly photos every couple of weeks, even though we haven’t been sharing them.
Well, that’s it! You’re now all caught up, and that’s all the multimedia I’ve got to share!