Pregnancy Journal – Fourth Month

So I am writing this post in my 17th week of pregnancy and the last week of my fourth month of pregnancy.  On September 4th, 2014 my fifth month, 18th week of pregnancy will start.

17 weeks pregnant - cropped

My Top Concerns-

I have been doing my best to deal with my fears and anxieties I have about being pregnant in Morocco.  Being pregnant in Morocco and living at the same standard other Moroccan’s live at presents challenges that expats who live on incomes over 2000 DH a month do not have.

My main challenge this entire pregnancy so far has been accessing quality affordable health care in Taza, Morocco.  My husband has battled Moroccan bureaucracy to get me added to his health insurance that he gets as an employee of the Protection Civile.  It took until month 4 of this pregnancy for all the kinks to be ironed out – however the biggest kink was that in adding me to my husband’s health insurance – he didn’t get paid for the month of August.

I have now been to see the “top” private OB/GYN in Taza three times – only to now leave his care for the following reasons -

1. He only performs C section births

2. Every visit only consisted of an ultra sound of the baby without any check of my vital signs, weight or other potential red flags for my health

3. He talks over me or to my husband but not to me.

4. If I ask a question regarding my care or my baby’s health – he avoids the question or turns to my husband to answer.

I have asked one of my friends who lives in Fez for a OB/GYN recommendation and she gave me one – however my husband is against me traveling alone to Fez to see the doctor and my husband’s work schedule conflicts with going to see the dr – as he works 12 hours on and 12 hours off.  In order to go see the dr in Fez – my husband would need to take time off work.

My husband already turned down a mission this week just to go back to the public clinic here in Taza with me.  We decided to go back to the clinic because at least they check the maternal health – not just ultra sound the baby.  Quite frankly no one has done a study on the effects on ultrasounds on babies.. so I really don’t want to get an ultra sound every month when their is no medical need.

I have also been concerned by my blood pressure readings.  144/66 taken (6/27/14) and then most recently 130/90 taken (8/26/14)- both taken with blood pressure cuffs that didn’t fit properly.  The first reading indicates Hypertension Stage 1 – taken on the upper part of my arm although the cuff barely fit- has a high systolic reading and then second reading although appearing normal has a really high diastolic which was taken on my forearm.

My secondary concerns come from my husbands visa quest.  I am trying to figure out where I will be giving birth – here in Morocco or back in the US.  I would prefer to give birth in the US – husband at my side with his visa in hand.  Second best is a home birth in Morocco.  Where in Morocco to birth? is also another question.  Do we stay in Taza which has no NICU?  Travel to Meknes to be near the military hospital or travel to Rabat to birth at Sheikh Zaid Hospital or perhaps the United Nations Clinic?

If I birth in Morocco – the plan is to labor at home until baby is about to arrive and then call 15 – for the Protection Civile Ambulance to take us to the hospital – although fingers crossed baby arrived before the EMT/Firefighters do.

I like to pre plan as it helps me to manage my anxiety.  However I can’t do that without a case complete from the National Visa Center and an interview date.  Currently those who have gotten case completes who’s spouse is Moroccan are getting interview dates in mid to late October which means my husband is looking at the same or later.

I feel depressed when I think about our visa process and can officially say – I am giving up on “trusting the process,” or that any government agency has our best interests at heart.

I have also been concerned by the regional news I read as large jetliners have gone missing in Libya and the entire country of Morocco has been put on alert with anti air craft missiles and guns deployed to the large city centers.

Then there is the issue of ISIS recruiting mostly young men from Morocco to join their crazy ass cause – which has nothing to do with Islam!

And finally the West African Ebola outbreak that continues to spread. I really pray the Sahara desert provides a nice buffer zone to Morocco and the rest of North Africa.

My big scare this month – I took shower while sitting on a stool.  The stool slipped out from underneath me and  I fell about a foot on to the hard concrete floor of our bathroom.  I checked for bleeding, spotting, loss of amniotic fluid – nothing.  My butt/hip took the brunt of the fall.  So just my pride was hurt.. inshaAllah nothing wrong with the baby.

My best joys-

My husband is obsessed with me eating well.  So he has started baking bread from scratch and cooking more often – which is just fine with me in this heat.  I would prefer to just stay out of the kitchen during this 100+F temps we have here in Taza.

Tests and results; my reaction-

I got blood tests for toxoplasmosis and to see if my MMR vaccine specifically Rubella was still at high enough levels to not require a booster after the birth of my baby.  I am negative for toxoplasmosis and positive for Rubella – no need for a booster hooary.

Has the due date of the baby been updated?

No doctor has even given me a due date or updated it.  However baby is right on target based on my tracking of my BBT -Basel Body Temp and cycle – that baby was conceived  right around 5/15/2014.  Which would put the EDD at more like the second week of February than the first week.  However with babies you never know!  Babies arrive when they are good and ready.

How I feel about my body changing-

I feel fat.  My waist has thickened by I have no “bump.”  My boobs have their own orbit but thank god I can still fit into my bras most of them although some are just uncomfortable.

Daddy to be this month -

My husband has started talking to the baby – at my urging in Moroccan Arabic and he enjoys touching and kissing my belly.  He also likes to tickle my tummy – but I highly doubt baby feels the tickles.