Being Bog Standard
Since July this year, I have realized one thing that has come to be true: I’ve become bog standard. Completely bog standard.
Even though I consider the conception of our surprise baby to be nothing short of a miracle, the Swedish government sees otherwise and I have been officially deemed bog standard, transferred over to the public health system with no frills or fructose added. No special care needed. Totally normal. Nothing to see here. Go home and stop your carrying on. You’re just another chick who’s pregnant. Get over yourself. You might have been special once, but now you are not.
I am officially no longer registered at the for Special-Needs Women’s House of Hormones antenatal clinic, but at the normal antenatal clinic that every other bastard goes to in Sweden. No longer do I get to have weekly ultrasounds** or doctors poking me at every stage of pregnancy but am left alone, with neither a whiff of a stirrup in sight. I’m completely average and it’s now marked so in my official records.
And because I’ve been feeling great and entirely fantastic (apart from a bug or something going on last week) in general, it looks like I could sail through this entire pregnancy and delivery without ever seeing a doctor. I’m sure they miss me actually. Life must be less busy for them now.
You see, when you are duffed** in Sweden your primary carer is a midwife, of which you meet every so often. It is he/she that determines if you need to see a OBYG (although if you put up a fuss I am sure you’d be able to see a dr if you really felt the need). Otherwise, it’s a hands off approach rather than a hands on one. You are offered one ultrasound around week 18, the big anatomy scan to check everything is where it should be but other than that, that’s it. If you are a healthy woman of a reasonable age who managed to get pregnant on her own, you are viewed as a healthy woman of a reasonable age who managed to get pregnant on her own, and more or less left to yourself to sit back and turn food into a human.
When it’s time for the main event, it’s also the midwives that assist. If all goes well and you have a natural birth a la The Flash, then you will only see a Dr. for a few minutes before you are released from the hospital. It’s a cost efficient system that seems to be working with Sweden now placed as the second country to give birth in, to Finland.
So now it’s official, I’m bog standard. I’m not sure if I like it. But as my sister always reminds me, even though our brother has Downs Syndrome, I’m the one in the family that is considered the ‘special’ one.***
* For my previous two pregnancies I did not have weekly ultrasounds, but had them at week 7 (to confirm a heartbeat) + 9 (when we graduated from IVF school) + 14 + 18 + 30 + 36 + 39 + 40 + 41 and thus felt like I was having them weekly, probably had more but these were the ones that I remember.
**The means being pregnant and derives from Australian slang, ‘up the duff/to be pregnant’.
***I don’t think she means it in a good way.