I was really lucky and had a great midwife called Sandra. She was so lovely and really bubbly. I've never struggled with being open with health care professionals, if something's going on with my body I'm not shy to say so - but I can imagine if I was shy, she would make me feel at ease as she's so calm and sweet.
I found it so interesting that throughout my pregnancy, socially - I am a young Mum, but medically I am in the best shape possible to have a baby. Everytime I had a check up I had next to no complaints that were always met with, 'Ah yes well you're young!'. It seems crazy to me that some people look down on others for having a baby younger, but it's the older women that have more problems with their pregnancies and have high risk pregnancies. I was low risk throughout my pregnancy and even now people seem reluctant to congratulate you on getting your pre-baby body back as 'you're young' so it's as though the weight just falls off you (I won't lie - it has - don't hate me).
When you go to your first appointment you get a folder full of blank paper with graphs and tables and charts on and in no time the chart fills up so quickly. I can remember flicking through the empty pages when I was pregnant thinking how none of it meant anything and now to look back it's all so interesting.
Every midwife session they require a wee sample which strangely enough they couldn't get rid of down their own sinks, so you have to take your wee home/pour it in their toilet afterwards and wash the pot out ready to bring back with a fresh sample at your next appointment. I had a student nurse on a few of my check ups and won't lie, I am so glad she didn't do the blood test at 28 weeks even though she offered. I am not great with needles and the thought of a beginner made me even more nervous! You have to have a blood test at 12 weeks and 28 weeks and I remember being so nervous on the day of both as I knew they were coming.
They listen for the baby's heartbeat using the doppler which as the weeks go on gets more and more difficult. It can be a tense moment when they put the doppler on your stomach and the heartbeat can't immediately be heard. When the baby is tiny it is easy to find the heartbeat as they just have to feel from left to right and find the baby. When the baby gets bigger they have to press the doppler in quite far and scoop it around the baby's shoulder to get to the heart. As the baby gets bigger it also moves far more so the doppler has to be moved around to get a steady heartbeat.
You can buy dopplers online and a few ladies in my pregnancy Facebook group had some and would listen and there is also an app where you can place the microphone of your iPhone into your belly and it picks up on the heartbeat. Although I did download the app for fun, I was told to never ever, ever, reassure yourself that your baby is O.K. through one of these methods as it can be so inaccurate as you don't really know what you're doing. If you sense something is wrong with your baby ALWAYS get it checked by a healthcare professional or your midwife.
Once you reach 28 weeks I think it is, your check ups get more frequent and they also start to measure your bump. It can be quite uncomfortable as they have to push down hard on your pubic bone to check it's the correct point they're measuring from and then finish the measurement just under your ribs. They also push their hands INTO your stomach to place their hands either side of the baby's head and wiggle it around to check if the baby is engaged. When the baby is around 30 weeks the head and the bottom are of a similar size so can take a while to feel around to find out which is which. Oscar was engaged and head down everytime she had a routine check but it was the strangest feeling and really uncomfortable to have someone shove their hands into your bump but doesn't last long.
Since 2016 the regulations on being sent for a growth scan became a lot less lenient than they previously were. This meant that the measurements that were taken of your growing bump, if they didn't follow a smooth curve on the graph and were just a cm off either way you were sent for a growth scan to check the baby was growing ok. They also sent you for a growth scan if your baby was measuring too small or too big. It usually meant nothing and that the baby was fine, it could mean that one measurement was taken when the baby was lying in a certain direction that made the measurement larger, or that maybe you had a full bladder during another measurement. It's all just a guess, so they sent us for a scan as Oscar was measuring big at 30 weeks. It was hardly surprising as my bump was so huge, but the Midwife assured me she was almost positive it would be nothing and that we should just be excited that we have an excuse to see our baby again.
The scan went smoothly and was a male doctor this time. The start of the scan was really unexciting and was just him taking measurements on the screen of his body parts, brain and organs. And then he showed us Oscar's face as a side profile with one hand up. It was crazy to see how much he now filled up the screen as he was so big and you could hardly fit any of his body parts on the screen as he was so big! He then gave us 3 photos of Oscar's face for free which was nice!
Although it was quite daunting being sent for an extra scan, it was quite nice to be able to see him again before he was born. I never in a million years would have thought he'd have come along a month later (5 weeks early). It is the same waiting room at the same hospital where we had all our other scans so it was so strange seeing women without bumps but looking super nervous/excited thinking it literally feels like yesterday that that was us!