The check-up mainly involved showing the doctor my records from my initial visit in Michigan, which included all my blood work and medical history, and then an ultrasound, and a reminder not to smoke, drink, or overexercise. He didn't weigh me or take my blood pressure, something I didn't even think about until later. What I did say to J right afterwards was, "He didn't palpate" -- and I meant to say 'my uterus,' but it came out 'my universe' -- and so we were laughing too much about the slip to be really concerned about it. I guess if they do an ultrasound, they have a good idea of the size of uterus and baby and all.
Here's the baby in its universe:
That's the head on the left, in a profiled and reclining position; to the right, the round midsection and spindly little leg. Of course, ultrasound prints always look more like snow on the TV than any discernable likeness to a human; but in his office, watching the monitor, watching this little creature tumble around and kick its legs out, I was utterly impressed with its wholeness and complexity. We could make out its spine, its tiny hip-bones, even hands with fingers. I was also amazed at how active it is -- I still can't feel a thing.
The doctor pointed out the presence of a nose bone, which apparently is a sign that it does not have Down Syndrome. "Nice baby," he said, "Healthy baby. Congratulations!"
I don't know what this check-up would have cost in the States, but I do know that Medicaid kicks in for a reason, namely, prenatal care can be prohibitively expensive. We found out that pregnancy is not covered by Japanese National Health Care -- which makes sense when you consider it's not a sickness, a categorization I find annoying in the States. I don't know what's better: instant medical coverage for pregnant ladies, or super cheap prenatal care with no insurance necessary.
This visit cost us all of $30.
That night we celebrated with dinner at Kerala, delicious Indian food, and coconut ice cream for dessert. Here's to nice babies with nose bones!