A new addition on the way

Hi Dear Readers, So amid all the visa stress and NVC checklists my husband and I found out that we are going to be having a baby in or around Jan/Feb 2015.

[Mention, O Muhammad], when the wife of ‘Imran said, “My Lord, indeed I have pledged to You what is in my womb, consecrated [for Your service], so accept this from me. Indeed, You are the Hearing, the Knowing.”(3:35)

I was able to keep the news under wraps until after our first ultrasound.  Omar and I were so excited we couldn’t wait to share the news at that point and I finally felt like things were going to be ok with the baby.

If baby holds true to my side of the family it will be two weeks late or it could hold true to my husbands side and show up early or on time. My husband is over the moon and I am excited and anxious with all the things that are still up in the air.

I keep thinking about and trying to plan for the things that I will need to do to make sure that my husband and I don’t burden others in my family with our return.

#1 – Getting a job when I have a firm idea of when we are going to return to the US.  Anything that pays a living wage will do.. I need to be able to provide a roof over our heads and food on the table.  Even if I have to work two jobs pregnant.. that’s what I will do.

#2 – Get my husband into ESL classes to improve his reading, writing and spelling in English so he can then get into the local electrician training program that’s 18 months long.

#3 – Find a decent neighborhood and rent a cheap but decent apartment – most likely a studio because California rental prices are pretty outrageous.

#4- Figure out health insurance and maternity leave

#5 – Go from survival mode to thriving by finding better paying work with benefits  when I can.

Looking at the local job market in all honesty has me very scared because jobs paying a living wage are rare and most of the work I have seen is part-time and they don’t pay well or offer benefits.  If anyone thinks the economy has improved – well that’s a joke.

As much as having a baby is a positive thing it also brings a whole new level of responsibility and focus to me about what I need to do to make sure the best possible start for my baby and our family.

The things that I have experienced so far as a part of being pregnant in Morocco –

Be scared about having a miscarriage – 20% chance in the first 12 weeks – I swear its like all the horror stories are saved until YOU get pregnant.  This fear only increased for me when I found out that the local public clinics don’t want to see you until your 12 weeks or more along in your pregnancy.

I feel like the message they are sending is – well if the baby survives that long then your worthy of our time and attention.  What about make sure it isn’t a molar or ectopic pregnancy?  Also ensuring mom’s are taking prenatal vitamins and/or other supplements to support a healthy pregnancy as early as possible?

I still got assertive and made my husband take me to the local public clinic  the week of June 27th 2014 – when I was 8 weeks pregnant.

I first was told to go get the following tests –

Complete Blood Count (CBC)- This checks for anemia

Blood Glucose Level – This checks for diabetes

Syphilis – Because why not?!

So I went and got the tests after fasting for more than 8 hours – I basically didn’t eat after I had dinner until I woke up and went to the private lab to get the blood tests done.  Everything is normal! The cost was 200 DH out of pocket.

Then on June 27th we returned to the clinic to finally have an appointment!  We arrived at 8 am and waited almost 2 hours for the doctor to show up and finally start to see the 4 women including me for prenatal appointments.  I also had to put up with the nurses and staff openly gossiping about the American waiting to be seen.  That just made me mad and increased my anxiety – really who are they to talk about me a person they don’t know?!

Finally I was seen – a room filled with four female nurses and one male doctor.  They were surprised I brought my husband although I brought him along to ensure nothing was lost in translation and so I could have some moral support.

They also were surprised that it was my first pregnancy at age 31.  I know its common in Morocco for girls – I say girls because I think at ages 15 – 20 your still a kid  – are getting married to much older men and getting pregnant.  Hello!  I waited until I finished university with my BA, got some work experience and then got married before getting pregnant!

I had made sure to translate allergies, medical prescriptions and medical issues into French so I could better communicate my basic medical history.

I was asked again to pee into a kidney-shaped pan for them to test me for diabetes – after already passing a fasting glucose test – (in a bathroom with no soap or TP) thank god I bring hand sanitizer with me everywhere! – which just pissed me off.  I know I am fat but damn that doesn’t automatically mean I have diabetes, that I am unhealthy and will need a C section because of the “fat vagina,” myth.

I also went over my vaccine history and the doctor tried to tell me I needed a new Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis) vaccine although its good for 10 years and I got mine in 2008 and I haven’t cut myself on rusty metal in years since I got the booster.   I told them I wasn’t getting a new one – until I had time to do my research and talk to the doctors in my family.  That shut them up really quickly – oh the American isn’t just talking out her ass.. yes I actually am an educated woman from a well educated family.

I also had to have my weight, height and blood pressure checked.  My blood pressure was six points over 140 – which isn’t surprising how stressed out and anxious this doctors visit made me.

I had been hoping for an ultra sound to make sure everything with the baby was ok and that there was a heart beat.  The doctor said – no next appointment which is scheduled for August 11th you can get an ultrasound and go get a test for Rubella.

I am a tigress when it comes to protecting my unborn baby in Morocco – every suggestion by a doctor will be researched and evaluated before I take any medication or agree to any procedure.  Especially having talked to two friends that I know that live in Morocco – one who already had her child and another who is in her third trimester.  My friends told me that doctors have tried to give drugs that are harmful to their baby or procedures that aren’t in line with American Obstetrics guidelines.  There is also a friend of a friend who had a botched C – section in Fez – so am extremely wary about the medical profession in Morocco.

Finally on July 3rd – after telling my husband I was unhappy with the local public clinic we went to because for prenatal appointments I should be seen each month not every two months we went to one of the local private OB/GYN’s.  Dr. Ben Talib is the former head of OB/GYN at the local public hospital among being educated in France.

The experience was much different – calmer, and much nicer than the public clinic – no gossipy nurses and I can schedule appointments every month instead of being told when to come in.  We arrived and simply asked to get an ultrasound – we waited about an hour and then were seen – we got a regular and inter – vaginal ultrasound.

During our ultrasound we heard the baby’s heart beat – saw that the baby is in the correct location and got a general idea of exactly how far the pregnancy is along.  We went to Dr. Ben Talib week 9 of my pregnancy and baby measured at 8 weeks 2 days. 9 week ultra sound.jpg

We afterwards we sat and talked with the doctor – it was the first time I was asked if I was taking a prenatal vitamin  – surprise surprise.  He recommended that I start a walking routine – which I told him I already do with my, ” Walk Away the Pounds,” videos and he said – eat healthy – veggies, and make sure to eat meat or another protein once a day.

I asked him questions – and he answered them every so nicely. So after we left I told my husband that I liked him and that I want him to be my doctor for as long as we are in Morocco for this pregnancy.

So far being now 10 weeks pregnant I have –

Vomited 3 times

Made my body a no touch zone – everything is to sensitive or hurting

Conquered nausea by drinking seltzer water and burping

Had scary hypoglycemia incidents – which now has me snacking every 2-3 hours because of this peanut butter is my friend

Now in the last couple of days – gotten uncomfortable sleeping on my stomach and almost fainted in the shower.

Oh the joys of being pregnant 😉