The 26 week midwife appointment 

When your friend, who happens to be a GP quips “The cash crisis (in the NHS) is really you and not Jeremy Hunt isn’t it….?”, you know it’s been a funny old day in the land of Amy Millard and medical appointments.
It started off like any other day – dodgy sleep due to first born and unborn sons, manic morning getting ready for school and school run. A quick delivery of some products to a customer, all set for the 26 week midwife appointment at 10.15. Nothing unusual so far (except that I was 15 minutes early to the appointment. Some might say that was a little odd). That’s when my day changed.
10.15 I saw my midwife. We listened to baby’s heartbeat, which is the best sound in the world, (he’s lying across, head left, feet right, taking full advantage of a tall Mom with lots of room), a quick measurement shows I’m slightly bigger than I should be at this point on the scale, but nothing to cause concern (if you saw me, you’d think I was closer to full term than 15 weeks away!).
Then I opened my mouth to give details if some symptoms I have and this is where it all went a little off kilter. 
I’m having a considerable increase in palpitations (as in up to 6 times a day, lasting around 30 seconds although sometimes longer, and it can be so strong it takes my breath away). This isn’t new to me, anyone that has read previous blogs will know I had an episode a few years back and ended up having cardio tests after a black out episode). I’m also getting increasingly breathless, to the point standing and talking is a bit of an issue. The trouble is, I’m so used to having a weird and wonderful health that I’ve ignored it and just presumed either my MG (myasthenia gravis) is progressing, or baby is squashing my lungs, so I’ve just got on with it and ignored it. It didn’t really occur to me that being unable to walk the school run (about 15 minutes) is unusual when I’ve been able too for so long. I just didn’t think about it at all really. So I was a little surprised when the midwife asked me to make an appointment with a GP – and mentioned I was due whooping cough vaccine anytime now, so to go downstairs and make those two appointments for as soon as possible.
So I trotted off to do as I was told and would you believe it, they had spaces available to see the nurse and a gp within 20 minutes. Marvellous. Saves a return trip. 
11.00 I get called in to the nurse and have my vaccine (apparently there has been a significant rise in whooping cough in newborns and unfortunately some babies have died, so the new government initiative is to vaccinate the moms-to-be so that baby gets a little bit of protection through placenta for those all important first 8 weeks when they have no immune system). All sorted, second injection of the day and back to the waiting room to be called by a doctor. Then it all falls apart…
11.30 ish I’m sat in with the GP, who is acting far more concerned than I can understand. I explained I’ve previously had dvts and PE (blood clots in my left leg twice and lungs) so I knew it wasn’t that (so this included the first strip of the day – leggings down do she could check my calves – all fine). Then everything upper body gets rolled to chin level for a cold stethoscope to be applied front and back. Lungs are all clear. Oxygen and blood pressure are pretty much perfect. I explained about mg and tried to assure the medically qualified professional (hey, I’m all for helping out) that I was sure it was “just mg progressing”, explained my appointment had been rolled back to May with my neurologist (even though he had wanted to see me in neurology back in October!) and I queried if it was “just diaphragm weakness”. At this point I was whizzed across the corridor to have an ecg. 
Now, there’s not really anything in this life more humiliating than having to undress to your bare skin as a female, pregnant or no, and lie on a couch as a nurse/ stranger attaches pads to your bare chest and hooks you up to a load of wires. So at this point in the day everything except my feet have been seen by complete strangers today. Oh the joys. Anyway, ecg was clear. All good.
Still not satisfied, doc now decides to send me for a blood test and is going to refer me for more cardio tests at the local hospital – you know, the ones where you get to lie naked from the waist up as someone performs an echocardiogram for 15 minutes on you! And possibly another 24 hour heart tape (another strip date then). She is also going to chase neurologist in QE hospital Birmingham, but this is dependant on blood results. She said she would have results tomorrow morning and would contact me if need be.
So, 12.10 I finally leave the surgery and trundle off to the local outpatient hospital to get a blood test (third needle of the day). Here I’m being tested for a full blood count to make sure I’m not anaemic and will have thyroid tested too. I should have those results tomorrow. Im fairly positive there won’t be an issue as I have such regular blood tests, anything would have been picked up before. 
I finally got home from my ‘simple’ 10.15 midwife appointment at 12.40. I was very hungry but that is all I can complain about – how anyone can moan about the NHS is beyond me. Yes, sometimes the wait is long. Yes, appointments gets cancelled and yes, people make errors. But I’m involved in a lot of support groups that support people from across the world and all I can ever think is “thank goodness for the NHS!”
Thank goodness because although my appointment went crazy, and took waaaay longer than anticipated – it didn’t cost me a penny. I won’t have to battle an insurance company or pharmaceutical company to get medication or investigations or treatment that I need. Thankful because whilst I was with my gp, I requested another prescription for my clexane injections and again, it won’t cost me a penny because prescriptions are free for pregnant women in England. Thankful because I know no matter how lax I am about my own health, I’ve got a bunch of massively qualified doctors who will make it their personal objective to ensure my health is as good as it possibly can be during this pregnancy. Thank goodness for the NHS! 
I hope it raised a smile. Now to chase my maternity hospital for my 28 week scan date! 


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