Australia - Round The World Tour 3 2004 Day 326 (136)

Perth

Friday 28th January (2005)

The joys of travelling, with no job, no bills to pay or any other care in the world, afforded us yet another long lie in this morning. Isn’t life hard? With fresh food in the kitchen today, we managed to make and eat breakfast when we were finally up and about. Sandy was keen for us to get off to the prenatal clinic at the hospital with the doctor’s referral letter, where we would hopefully get some definitive answers to some of our lingering questions about Sandy’s pregnancy and our situation.

The hospital is just ten minutes' drive from the city centre, although setting off in the completely wrong direction to begin with converted this into a half-hour drive. We’re now getting very good at getting very lost. All the staff at the hospital were absolutely excellent. Everyone made us feel very comfortable. Right from the get-go, we were told that everything would be taken care of today. All our questions would be answered and all the necessary prenatal examinations would be carried out. We filled in a few forms and were quickly seen by one of the nurses, who noted all our questions and fears and was very good at extracting all the necessary information from us both about our history and so on. We then waited for about five minutes in an examination room before the midwife came in. She was a very motherly figure and immediately put us at ease by confirming that we had absolutely nothing to worry about with regards to the Doxycycline. They had already spoken to a couple of pharmacists and confirmed that the only issue would have been if Sandy was taking the medication after about sixteen weeks of pregnancy. She then wheeled over the sonogram trolley and gave Sandy and abdominal ultrasound examination. Sandy is extremely pregnant, just as the previous tests indicated. Not only could we see the foetus but we could also make out the heart beating. The midwife took some measurements and concluded that the foetus was seven weeks and about four days old. By her calculations, sandy is due to give birth on or around September 10th. We are now planning to be home by around the third week in April, so this will give us a good four months or more to prepare. Hopefully, that should be enough to find a job, earn some money and take care of business. The midwife continued to have a good look around but was extremely pleased that everything was as it should be at this stage. She voiced this in a way that was reassuring for us both.

Her parting words to us were to go and get a good lunch and to enjoy the rest of our travels. She gave us a special form that we can take with us to record all the prenatal tests results, measurements and so on onto. As we move from country to country, this form will have all the information that any doctor, hospital or gynaecologist will need to see at a glance. We went into the hospital anxious and nervous but came out as beaming parents to be. With a printout of the sonogram, we now also have the first photo of our baby – at just thirteen millimetres (a shade over half an inch) long.

We went back into town and back to the same pathology lab from yesterday to get all the prenatal blood screenings done. We’ll collect the results ourselves this time directly from the lab and add those to the form we were given at the hospital. We will probably see a gynaecologist when we are in Melbourne to go over the test results and to perform another sonogram. Because of our ages, we are in a higher risk category for Down syndrome and so another sonogram at twelve weeks is advised. They will be checking for something called the nuchal transparency, which apparently has something to do with the thickness of the spinal cord.

The technician at the pathology lab drained another five vials of blood from Sandy’s left arm and we went off to find out where the St. John of God convent was located. We had about an hour to find out where it was and get to it to make our two o’clock appointment with Sister Jacinta. We asked for directions at an information booth in the middle of town. Quite ironically, the convent was located just a stone’s throw from the hospital we had just returned from. We made it there with a few minutes to spare and sat in the car reading prenatal leaflets for a while to kill time.

Sister Jacinta is a lovely and warm person in whom we didn’t mind confiding our little secret. There’s just something about a nun that compels you to bear all. It almost felt therapeutic to finally tell someone of our news. We spent an hour in her company and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. She is an old woman, much older than I had expected in fact, but had a very sharp mind and keen intellect. She and her sister, Mary, share a lot in common in that they are bother very caring and warm-hearted people.

We bid farewell to Sister Jacinta and went back into town again. We’d past a few bookshops whilst in town and both of us gravitated towards the family and maternity section to browse the books there. We went back to pick out a few and have spent much of the rest of the day back in our hostel reading through them all. It suddenly feels like our lives are moving towards being all about Sandy’s pregnancy as opposed to our travels. I’ve heard people say that having children changes your lives drastically and also it means that many things will be out of your reach from that point onwards. This is often qualified by stating that having children changes your perspective on life to the extent that those things that become out of reach are no longer considered as relevant or important anymore anyway. Could we be seeing this change in mind-set in the two of us already? Perhaps I will come back to that point in the days and weeks to come to see if it is true.

We cooked and ate a light meal this evening and spent the rest of the time sitting in the lounge and reading through all the new books we purchased today. They are very good books and seem to be agreeing on most issues. One thing that has become evident has been that all the signs of pregnancy have been there over the past couple of weeks. Neither of us, however, put two and two together until Sandy took the pregnancy test back in Atherton. Now that we have educated ourselves a bit more on the subject, it seems so highly unlikely that we missed it to begin with. Perhaps we were just having too much fun travelling.

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