9

Here I Am!

Hooray! We made it! We’re in London!

We’ve been here about ten days and have just been busy sorting out the flat – getting towels, an iron, hangers, a kettle, etc…  And of course the TV and Internet!

V is loving going to the park every day, feeding the ducks and playing in the playground.

I forgot how much I love London in the summer.  Although I am a hot and sweaty mess!

I am trying to be extra organised. I have been buying clothes for baby and V (school uniforms included) in bigger sizes for LagosDad to take back with him. And I’ve even ordered baby’s crib and a new mattress for the cot in Lagos.

I know I don’t have to do it all now, but I need to feel as though I’m doing *something* to organise myself. Plus the sales are on and it is the perfect time to buy summer clothes!

V has been doing a little shopping with me. He is very happy to come and choose things for the baby (as long as there’s something in it for him).

In fact, the other day we were wandering around John Lewis (he likes to call it, “the shop where you buy your bras”), and we were looking at the all the teddies. He said, “Mama, I think my baby brother would love to have this cuddly bear. I’m going to buy this bear to put in his cot.” A lady was walking past at this time and she stopped to listen to our conversation, with one hand over her heart.  A few seconds later he said, “Mama, you don’t worry about the baby ok? Don’t worry about anything because when the baby cries me and yaya (the nanny) will feed him his dudu (milk). Ok? You don’t worry.”

He really is growing up so fast.

Anyway, am off.

More soon!

11

Where I Am…

Ok, so here’s where I am with things…

The first thing I had to do was book-in with my previous ob/gyn.  I booked-in late, but he is squeezing me in.  That was a huge relief!  We still have to pay the extortionate hospital deposit, and I’m hoping that will be done this week.

The second thing I had to do was find an apartment.  I emailed many agents about dozens of flats.  Zoopla is my new favourite website.  I got some leads.  Some didn’t even bother replying.  Finding a short-let during the summer, in central London and in our budget proved to be a bit challenging.  Especially since we were looking for a three bedroom/two bathroom place.

I found one place which was perfect for us (the living area seems a bit small from the pictures, but it will have to do).  The agent and I were in touch for the longest time.  She wanted all sorts of details, which was fine.  And then when we confirmed that we wanted the place, the amount of paperwork we had to produce was ridiculous.  I’m not sure if it’s because we’re overseas, or if that’s what’s usually done.  While this was going on, I was also in touch with another agent regarding a second place.  The price was the same, but it seemed bigger and was in another area which I would have been happy to stay in.  According to the agent, the landlord of that flat wanted to know if we could pay six months’ rent up front.  No.  Well then, did we have a UK guarantor?  Yes.  What was his job/role/company, etc?  Told him.  Did he/she make circa 100,000 GBP/year?  Was this landlord mental?  Could we send them bank statements?  Yes, we could.  In the end I stopped communicating with them.  Not because I didn’t want that flat, but I got so fed up.  If you have a list of questions, can you please send them to me all at once?  Instead of asking me one, waiting for me to answer (all via email) and then sending me another?  Ridiculous.

Anyway, so the first place is confirmed.  The only thing is, there’s no TV, Internet, bedding, tumble dryer.  We’ll have to organise all this once we get there.  Is it possible to get WiFi without a landline?  And is it the norm to not have all this included?  Or does it just depend on the individual landlord?

The third thing on my list was the nanny’s visa.  She has come to Dubai with us.  And she’s even come to Bali.  When we go to Dubai, the travel agent organises her visa for us and when we went to Bali, she got a visa on arrival.  Getting a UK visa was a whole new ball game for us.  Again, the paperwork we needed was excessive.  The online application was looooong!  And it wasn’t cheap either.  We submitted everything and she had her appointment for her biometrics etc on 7th May.  It took two hours to submit all the paperwork and process everything.  They told her it would take 15 working days.  We waited and waited to hear.  It was after 21 working days that we got the text message that the passport was ready for collection.  And…  She got her visa!  Hurrah!

I’ve also organised all the ‘baby stuff’ I need to take with us.  Baby bottles (new), baby blankets (some new), baby clothes (very few, V’s old ones), etc.  I’ve just shoved it all in an empty cupboard for now.

I’ve ordered all the freight from the UK – Pampers – sizes 3 and 4, new light fittings for the children’s rooms, new bed for V, formula for baby, dog treats (not for baby), toiletries (for baby).

I’ve moved all the furniture round, so that all the baby furniture that was in V’s room is now in the playroom (now the nursery) and so that all the toys that were in the playroom are now all in V’s room.  I’ll probably put the children in the same room eventually, but not just yet.

I’ve peeled all the animal stickers off V’s walls so that LagosDad can have the room painted before we come back.  I thought V would be a little upset to see the stickers go, but he wasn’t.  I guess this is just another sign that he’s growing up!  He actually helped me to peel some of them off.  We worked together and chatted.  I mentioned to him that Papa was going to paint the room before we came back.

A couple of days ago we were talking about leaving and how we all had to pack, etc. and I said something about LagosDad coming with us.  V said, ‘I don’t think Papa should come with us to London.’  Oh?  Poor LagosDad.  He’d be upset to hear that V doesn’t want him around.  I replied, ‘Oh?  But why not?’  V responded, ‘Don’t you remember Mama?  Papa has to paint my room!’

So, we’re nearly there.  We leave in 10 days.  But I haven’t booked flights yet.

I better get on that.

 

2

Reading Stories

As you know, because I’ve mentioned more than a few times, I’ve been worried about how V will take to having a sibling. This is why I had to share the following conversation with you…

V: Mama, will you read me this story?

Me: Sure I will, come up on the bed.

V: Mama, when my baby brother comes, you can read this story to both of us. Ok?

I was so surprised and so proud that I may have had to hide a tear or two.
I know, I know – I’m a sad case!

2

Nothing For Me!

My brother and his wife just had the most adorable baby boy about a month ago.

They live in Jamaica and the baby was born in Miami.  Lucky them!

Anyway, so I ordered a few bits and pieces online for my nephew and had it all delivered directly to them.

After everything arrived, my sister-in-law said that I’d ordered two of the one of the things by mistake and what should she do.  I told her she could exchange it or if baby would need two sets of vests, then to hang on to them.

Instead she sent them back to me (through her dad) for when my baby arrives!

Her dad rang me this morning to let me know that he was back and that he had a parcel for me.  My mum had sent some maternity t-shirts also.

Once I received the parcel, I took out the vests and showed V.  He asked if they were for him.  We looked at them carefully, held them up against him and came to the conclusion that they were too small for him.  I told him they were for when his baby brother turned three months old.  V wasn’t impressed.

He then spotted the bag and asked what was inside.  I told him they were my clothes.  He wanted to know where they had come from and why there wasn’t anything for him!

He was so upset that the baby got something and that he didn’t, that he started crying.

Is it always going to be like this?

4

My Pillow

LagosDad went to Amsterdam for work a couple of months ago.  He asked me if there was anything I wanted.

Yes!  I told him I wanted ham.  Lots and lots of ham (but that has nothing to do with this).

But apart from that, I told him I wanted one of those ‘body pillow‘ things.  Actually, I told him I needed one and that he shouldn’t come back without one!

Poor guy, he did struggle to find one for me (because he was looking in furniture stores?!) – but eventually found me one when he went to a baby store!

It has been a Godsend.  I’m so much more comfortable when I sleep/lie down.  And V has taken a bit of a liking to it too.  He uses it when he’s watching TV in my room.

A couple of nights ago, V got in a bit of a strop before going to bed.  I can’t remember what the issue was – but he was cross with me and decided he was taking my pillow to bed with him!  I didn’t argue and just left him to it.

I headed to bed at about 11pm and stopped by his room to get my body pillow on the way.  There he was – looking oh-so-comfortable in his cot bed with MY body pillow!  I peeled him off it and took the it back without waking him.

At 2am he woke up and started screaming.  He wanted to know where HIS pillow was!  I told him to lie down and I was bringing it.  I went back to bed.

At 7am he stormed into my room, stomped over to my side of the bed, ripped the covers off me and snatched the pillow away!

He brought it back soon after and said, ‘Mama, let’s make a deal.  You use it in the day time and I will use it at night.’  EH?  This ‘deal’ didn’t suit me.  I didn’t say anything to him at the time.

Later in the day I brought up the pillow again.  I told him he could take it to bed with him and that when I went to bed I’d come to his room and get it.

This was unacceptable to him.  He wanted it ALL night.

I told him that only mamas with babies in their tummies could use the pillow at night.  He looked at me and sucked his teeth.

I started to dread the evening.  How would I convince him to go to bed and leave MY pillow behind?  And if he did take it with him, how could I get it back and not suffer the consequences when he woke?

In the end, as usual, I needn’t have worried.  He seemed to have forgotten all about it when he went to bed that day.  He didn’t mention it.  I do think, though, that is because he didn’t see me using it.

Had he seen me with my feet up, all nice and comfy, he would definitely have made a play for it!

Typical, really.  Isn’t it?

2

Pre-School Assessment

Before I even had V, LagosDad and I talked about which school we’d send our children to.  The choices aren’t vast, but there are certainly more than when we were growing up.

I went to the American International School (AIS) from kindergarten until I was 11.  At 11 I went to boarding school in the UK.

LagosDad went to the Indian Language School (ILS) until he was 13.  At 13 he went to boarding school in the UK also.

So, it makes sense that I wanted my children to go to the same school as me (not boarding).  And he wanted his children to go to the same school as him (including boarding).

Let me just say that one of the main reasons that we were sent to boarding schools is that there weren’t many (any?) high school options here at that time.

Anyway – so LagosDad was quite adamant that our children would need a solid foundation and that ILS was the place for them to be.  There was no way in hell I was allowing that.  I know about the Indian school system.  And while they do provide a good foundation, I think there are more important things that children should be learning at the age of three, rather than their times tables (I jest – I don’t know if they learn them at three!)  They are very strict and I don’t want my child(ren) rote learning.  Shouldn’t a three-year-old be learning how to share?  How to use scissors?  How to colour in the lines?

Anyway, after V actually arrived, I started thinking the British system might be better.  Not for any reason.  It was just a thought.

Of course there was lots of talk between all the mums.  The mums that already had their kids in school were like cheerleaders for the educational choices they’d made for their children.  And those that had babies (yes, this talk started from when our kids were about a year old) got more and more confused.

I ended up registering V at both schools – NOT ILS, but AIS and another British one.  LagosDad knew ILS wasn’t going to happen and (finally) accepted it!

I registered V at AIS when he was two and at the British one on the “first working Monday of September after the child turned two” (those are their rules).  He wouldn’t start at the British school until September 2015, but I thought I’d register him anyway because of waiting lists.

After the AIS registration, I received an email from the school saying I had to email them every 90 days to keep the application active.  So I did that – every 90 days without fail.

I started to understand (eventually) that it didn’t really matter what any of the others (mums) were doing with their children and where or when they were going to school.  What mattered was MY child and what suited him.

Yes, the British curriculum is more advanced than the American one.  But in the end, the children all learn the same things – it’s just a different process of getting there.

During this light bulb moment, I began to see (and so did LagosDad) that the American school environment is just what V needs.  He’s a smart kid – I know everyone says that about their children – but I really think he is!  He wouldn’t struggle in a British school.  But because he’s an introvert and a little shy and nervous in large groups of people, AIS is just what he needs.  They focus on the whole child.  They’ll help with his self confidence and maybe even bring him out of his shell a little.

So now we were decided – it was going to be AIS.

I’d heard stories from other mums about how difficult it was to get their kids in and how some kids were on the waiting list for a year and still hadn’t been offered a place.  Apparently, also, the later you apply, the harder it is to get in.

So you can imagine my joy when I received an email from them last month, inviting V to come in for his pre-school assessment.  I called them immediately and made an appointment for 12th May.  They gave me a time of 8.20am, which wasn’t ideal – but I wasn’t going to complain!

I do wonder why you need assessments for a three-year-old.  And I think it’s a little silly – but if that’s how they do things, then that’s how they do them!

So friends told me, ‘If you get the email, you’re basically in.’  And that the assessment is just ‘formality’.  And what they’re looking for is learning difficulties.  One friend told me they asked her son when his birthday was during his assessment.

So I knew, V would have to play with blocks or do a puzzle or something and that the teacher might ask him when his birthday is.  And I also knew that I’d have to wait in the office for him to come back.

I started getting anxious about him going with a stranger to another room.  Would he actually go?  Would he make a fuss?  Have a tantrum?  Then I started worrying that he wouldn’t speak to the teacher.  And if he did speak to her, would he give her the answers she wanted to hear?

I started ‘preparing’ him about two weeks ago.  I explained we were going to AIS and he was going to meet a teacher who would take him to play, etc. etc.  I told him almost every day.  He’s one of those that needs to know what’s coming!

I also asked him when his birthday was (just in case)…

Me: V, when’s your birthday?

V: I’m going to have a Batman party and everyone has to wear black.

Me: Ok, that’s fine.  But when is your birthday?

V: July.

Me: Mmmmm… No it’s not.  It’s in September.

V: No mama.  It’s in July.

Me: No Vins, it’s in September!

V: IT’S IN JULY.  I SAID IT IS IN JULY!

I dropped it for a few days!

Each time I (very randomly) asked him about his birthday he always had the same answer.  I didn’t even know he KNEW the month July!

Last week we had a breakthrough.  I told him I knew his birthday was in September because he shares his birthday month with Rolo (the dog).  After that he was very happy to say his birthday was in September *face palm*

Anyway, so the morning of the assessment dawned and off we went to AIS.  We had to wait in the office for a bit as we were slightly early.  But this was good, because he saw the teacher come in and he saw two other little boys go with her.

Then it was his turn.  She came in and asked for him by name.  I said, ‘Here he is.’  She approached him and said, ‘Hi V!’

And what did V do?

He growled at her.

Yes.  He GROWLED.

I apologised and told her he was being a cheetah that morning.  She tried again, ‘Oh!  Are you a cheetah?’

He growled.  AGAIN!

Luckily she got distracted with the secretary for a moment and I was able to tell him to ‘stop that nonsense’!

I’m actually relieved he didn’t hide behind my legs!

He was reluctant to go with her, but he went.  And he wouldn’t hold her hand, but that’s ok.  She was a stranger, after all!

I waited for him – laughing in my head about him growling, but hoping she wouldn’t think he was nuts and that it wouldn’t affect his chances of getting in!

Finally he was back!  She said he was very quiet and only spoke with a lot of prompting.  Hmmm…  I guess that’s to be expected?

She gave me a list of ‘skills’ that he needs to be able to perform by August and I had to sign the paper and return it when he started.  They were things like being able to go to the bathroom by himself, asking for water or to go to the bathroom, etc. Being able to sit still/concentrate for short periods of time, being able to share toys, eat by himself, etc. etc.

He is quite proficient in most of them, so I’m not worried.  Plus he won’t start in August as we won’t be here, he’ll start in October.  So we have more time to work on things!

What I’m wondering is, does this mean we’re in?  Why would she give me a paper to sign and tell me to bring it back if he wasn’t in?

(Once we left, he told me he did a puzzle in the classroom, but he wouldn’t tell me anything else.  He won’t tell me what the teacher asked him or anything and it’s driving me crazy!)

Anyway, this is one more thing to cross off my list of things to do/worry about!

*Just for your information – I’ve had many people ask me why I don’t want to put V in the school where I taught for six years.  I left four years ago and I don’t know what it’s like there any more.  But you know when you know the inner-workings of a place?  And what the management, etc is like?  Well…  That.  It put me off.

 

8

Vanished

I’ve mentioned once or twice in previous posts that I had some issues at the beginning of my pregnancy.

I wasn’t ready to share before, but I guess I am now…

I found out we were expecting a couple of days after Christmas day.  Although I was super excited, I was a bit nervous as LagosDad and I were booked to go to Bali from Dubai on January 1st for ten days.  It’s a really, really long flight and I knew we’d be on our feet and very busy while we were there, and everyone always says not to fly long haul in your first trimester, etc.  We talked about it a little bit – Should we go?  Should we not?  But we decided we’d just go for it – everything was already booked and paid for.

We went back to Dubai on the 10th and were meant to leave for Lagos on the 12th night/13th morning.  I was exhausted after the very long flights.  On the 11th I went for a mani and pedi with my mum.  I didn’t want to go because I was so tired – but I knew I wouldn’t get another chance and I desperately needed one.

We were on our way home from the salon when I started feeling… damp.  I was pretty sure I was bleeding. That was confirmed once we got home and it was quite heavy. I was six weeks and six days pregnant at that time.

I was a mess.  And poor V – he wouldn’t leave my side as he was afraid I’d disappear again – didn’t know what was going on.

My sister made a few calls and advised us to go to A&E at Medcare Hospital.  She stepped in and took over V – he was very happy to go to the mall with her (thank God).

I went with my mum and LagosDad.  I didn’t have to wait too long before I was seen.  The doctor was very nice – she calmed me down quite quickly.  She told me it was a threatened miscarriage, but that there were a number of positive signs that indicated that the baby would be ok.  She gave me some medication, an injection and told me to wait and have an ultrasound (The sonographer said baby was fine – but that he could see some bleeding).  She also made an appointment for me to see a specialist towards the end of the following week.

The bleeding subsided over the next few days – but it didn’t stop.

I was nervous about my appointment with the specialist (at the same hospital) – I didn’t know what she was going to say.  I was scared the baby wasn’t ‘there’ any more.  She did a scan, saw what was going on and said the bleeding was due to either a. a hematoma or b. a vanishing twin.  But the heartbeat of the ‘remaining’ fetus was strong.  She also told me that this had absolutely nothing to do with flying, which was a relief.

I was so glad the baby was ok and would be ok.  I had to Google ‘vanishing twin’ on my way home and then I wasn’t sure how I felt.  I didn’t know how to feel.  I cried a bit when I told LagosDad what she’d said (he’d gone back to Lagos already).  I felt loss.  But then I thought it was wrong for me to feel that way when I didn’t even know that there could have been a twin.

She told me to come back the following week and she would know for certain.  She also said the bleeding would stop in the next few days.

I have to admit – that although I knew it wasn’t possible, I kind of hoped that when I went back the next week she’d do a scan and tell me there were still two babies and two strong heartbeats and that she’d made a mistake.  It was futile I know.  A waste of time and energy – but I still hoped.

When I went back a week later, the doctor was able to confirm that the bleeding was definitely due to a vanishing twin.

I think I realised at that time that I should just be grateful.  Very, very grateful that at least the one baby was ok.  It had taken us so long (again) to get pregnant – at least we were getting the baby we wanted.

Does that make sense?

Does it sound selfish?

Mmmm…  I’m not really sure how to end this – so I’ll leave it at that.

 

4

I’ve Had Enough

You know me – you know I like to have a good whinge now and then.

Well, now is one of those times!  Sorry – it’s going to be a long one!

When I was expecting V, I chose my ob/gyn based on the fact that the clinic was right next to school.  It meant I was able to go straight for my appointments after the school day and then head home.  I had been to this clinic several times prior to being pregnant – when LagosDad and I were doing all our fertility tests, etc.  So I was happy to go back there.

On the other hand, my parents and in-laws, and LagosDad actually, didn’t want anyone to know about the pregnancy until I was in my 2nd trimester.  So if no one is meant to know you’re pregnant, how are you meant to ask advice on which doctor to see?

Anyway, so I made my choice and was quite happy.  I went there at about 7 or 8 weeks to have a blood test to confirm.  Then the doctor saw me at 10 weeks for an ultrasound.  At 13 weeks I was referred to Crestview Radiology Ltd for my nuchal scan and I had to go back there for my 20 week anomaly scan.  The clinic didn’t have the staff or expertise or machinery or whatever else to do it in-house.  And that was fine.

Before 13 weeks I had to pay each time I saw the doctor.  The consultation, the blood test, the scan – all was charged separately.

After 13 weeks we paid about N120000 ($750) that included all appointments, medication, scans and antenatal classes every other week until week 32.  At 31 weeks I collected my ‘Fit-to-fly’ letter and left for London.

The only problem I had throughout all this was the waiting times.  It didn’t matter what time I made my appointment for (usually afternoon because I was at school until 2pm), I always had to wait about an hour to be seen.  ALWAYS.  It didn’t bother me too much at that time because I wasn’t rushing to do anything.  Work was done for the day.  I didn’t have a kid to rush home to or to pick up from nursery.  Nothing.

Now this time round…  I came back to Lagos from Dubai at 9 weeks.  We delayed a couple of weeks because I’d had some bleeding and was advised to see a specialist before travelling (more on this at another time).  So we came back mid-week and a couple of days later I started bleeding again.

I panicked and called a friend and asked her who I should go see.  I had kind of mentally decided that I wouldn’t go back to my previous ob/gyn as I’d initially only chosen him because he was near school.  My friend recommended another doctor.  I called his clinic and couldn’t get an appointment for two weeks!  Not knowing what to do, I called my first clinic and they told me if I came right away they’d let me see the doctor before the 1st appointment of the day (10am).

Perfect.

I went there and was kind of glad to be there.  I know the layout, how it works, etc.  It sounds silly – but the ‘not-knowing’ about things worries me!

I waited an hour before seeing the Dr.  After all the initial paperwork stuff – DoB, LMP, EDD, etc. I showed him the reports I’d brought with me from Dubai – including ultrasound pictures (which the Dr in Dubai told me were necessary so that any other Dr could see what had happened).  He did an ultrasound.  Everything was fine.  He gave me a picture and told me to ‘add it to my photo album’.  Then I had a blood test and he told me to book in for my nuchal scan and to see him again in four weeks.

I paid for the consultation, the ultrasound and the blood test.  Altogether, it came to about N36000 ($220), I think.  I don’t remember, exactly.

A few days later I received an email from another doctor at the clinic asking me to call them as they had my blood test results and weren’t able to get in touch with me.  I realised that I’d changed my phone number around the time of V’s first birthday and hadn’t updated my records.  Anyway, so I called them and everything was fine.  I explained to the doctor that my phone number had changed and I could I update my records while speaking with her.  She said to just wait until the next time I came in (for my nuchal scan).

When I booked my nuchal scan, they told me it could only be done on a Tuesday as they had someone who came in to do it and that I would have to pay N35000 ($215) I was surprised that they didn’t refer me to Crestview again, but it had been four years and things do change!  So I was booked in on February 18th at 6pm.  It was the only (and last one of the day) slot left.

I couldn’t wait for this day to come round – it was only after this scan that we were going to start telling people that we were expecting!

So – come the 18th and LagosDad left work early to come and pick me up.  We arrived at the clinic and I was told, ‘Oh – didn’t anyone contact you?  We’ve had to move some of the scans until tomorrow because there were too many booked for today.’ They then went on about how my phone number wasn’t working.  Yes, true.  But if they could email before, why couldn’t they do it again?  They gave us an option of two times – either one was fine with me, but LagosDad had meetings all day and had to move his schedule around.  We took the 1.30pm appointment.  I was so disappointed.

We went back the next day in plenty of time.  And we waited and waited and waited.  It was 4pm before we were seen.  Why did we have to wait so long?  LagosDad kept complaining and the receptionist kept apologising.  When we finally saw the sonographer he also apologised.  I think he arrived late from wherever he was before.  In fact, I know this is true.  LagosDad saw him arrive when he popped out for a cigarette.  I didn’t particularly like him very much.  It irritated me that he kept leaning his arm on my leg while doing the ultrasound.  But anyway, at least everything was ok.  He booked me in for my anomaly scan for April right then and gave me the first appointment of the day (10am) so that I wouldn’t have to wait.  One of the doctors called me the next day to apologise.  I appreciated that.

At my booking-in appointment I paid N20000 ($100).  I thought this was a booking-in fee so I didn’t question it.  I couldn’t (and still can’t) remember how the payments worked last time.  A different doctor saw me this time (after I waited an hour) and I went through all the same questions I’d gone through at 9 weeks.  Previous pregnancies, LMP, EDD, etc. etc. etc.  Didn’t he look at my file?  He gave me some iron pills, calcium pills and some anti-malaria medication and told me to come back in four weeks.

I made sure that I booked the first appointment of the day (10am) for my next appointment.  And yet, I still had to wait an hour to be seen.  I just don’t get it??  I wasn’t asked to pay anything this time and thought since I’d paid at my booking-in appointment they would ask me for a lump sum, or for payment at week 32 or something.  The doctor didn’t do an ultrasound – he just used the doppler thingy.  This was the appointment where I told the doctor about my pain, by the way.  He told me to book an appointment to see him in four weeks.  I was disappointed that he didn’t do an ultrasound, but then thought it was a good thing that I’d at least heard the heartbeat.

When I went to book my next appointment, the receptionist told me that the anomaly scan would no longer be there, but at another clinic nearby.  She said someone would call me the day before with the address and directions, etc.

It was about two or three weeks later when I started panicking about not feeling any movement - so I took myself off to Crestview and had a scan.  The receptionist asked me what kind of scan I wanted – I told her I just wanted to check everything was ok.  She said that would be N10000 ($50).  They were quick and efficient.  I was happy.

On Tuesday I went for my anomaly scan.  The clinic sent me a text message the night before (at midnight) giving me the address and directions.  We got there five minutes late (no thanks to LagosDad).  As soon as we arrived the security turned on the generator.  Clue number 1 that no one was there.

This clinic was brand new (it’s been open since February)- and it was totally empty except for one nurse.  She asked if I’d been referred from XX clinic, I said, ‘yes’.  She took all my details (even though they already had them all on file).  She wrote everything down on the tiniest scrap of paper and then took my blood pressure.  We then waited about 40 minutes for the sonographer to show up.  He hadn’t arrived yet.

When he did arrive, he went upstairs to set up.  When we followed he started asking me all the same questions again.  I figured this was because all my details were on his computer, which the nurse was trying to start up and he was trying to waste a bit of time.  Then she couldn’t find my file.

He told me the scan wouldn’t take long – probably only five minutes.  I looked at him and said, ‘Only five minutes?’  I was a bit annoyed.  I’d waited so bloody long and he wanted to take only five minutes?  For an anomaly scan?  I don’t think so.  He realised this and said, ‘But you know, it could take longer.  Maybe five minutes or maybe one hour.  It depends on what I find.’  He then went on to drag everything out – repeating himself and just generally wasting more time.  I was not impressed.  There were no air conditioners on anywhere – apart from in the waiting area, and I found the sonographer to be disorganised and a little unprofessional.  He did that whole leaning his arm on my leg thing again!

We said goodbye when they finally finished and went downstairs.  We said goodbye to the nurse at the desk as well and left.  No one asked for any payment and I didn’t ask if I was meant to pay.

Maybe this doesn’t sound all that irritating to you.  Maybe you’re thinking, ‘What’s she complaining about?’  But it’s all annoyed me.  But yesterday is what annoyed me more than anything else.  Maybe it was just the icing on the cake.  I was ready to have a full on tantrum.

I had a 10am appointment at the clinic.  The cashier asked me to pay N20000 ($100).  I paid and then asked her what I was paying for.  She said that I have to pay N20000 each time I want to see the doctor.  I told her that when I was coming to the clinic before I paid a lump sum at the beginning and why didn’t I do that now?  She said, ‘Oh.  It’s because you’re nearly at the end.’  Am I?  Really?  I told her I was only 21 weeks.  She said, ‘Ok, would you like to pay the N120000 then?’  I told her no, I didn’t.  But I wanted to know why it was never an option.  Why didn’t anyone mention it to me before or give me the choice?

To be honest, I think I’ve spent less this way.  But I’m wondering if I’ve received the same quality of care I would have if I’d have paid the lump sum.

I had my vitals taken and then waited an hour to see the doctor.  I walked in and saw my file on his desk.  And he always inputs everything in his computer while talking to me.  Or is he actually on Facebook or playing Solitaire?  He asked me when my last menstrual period was and then picked up his calendar to calculate how many weeks I am.  SERIOUSLY??  ISN’T ANYONE READING MY FILE???  HOW MANY TIMES WILL HE ASK ME THE SAME QUESTION WHEN THE ANSWER IS RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM???  No bloody wonder my blood pressure was elevated!  He asked if I had any complaints.  *snort*  Told him of the pain again  and said I felt like I was being ripped apart.  He told me to buy a pelvic support belt.  Finally – advice!  I asked him if I would find one easily and he said, ‘Probably not.’  Great.  Thanks.  Again – no ultrasound – just the doppler.  I was out in five minutes and made an appointment for four weeks’ time.

I realised that he wasn’t doing any ultrasounds because I’d not paid that N120k.

But you know what – and LagosDad agreed – I’m not going back there again.  In four weeks – or whenver I feel like it, I’ll go to Crestview, pay half the amount, wait half the time and get better service.

There’s only another couple of appointments to go until I leave for London, anyway.

And I can’t wait.

I’ve had enough