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First Prenatal Appointment

We had our first appointment! I was pretty psyched about it. Finally, real confirmation from a medical professional that I'm pregnant. And thankfully it went well.

It was definitely interesting, though, having my husband in the exam room with me while I was practically naked with a speculum sticking out of me. But hey, he's going to have to see a lot worse in the coming months, so I figured he might as well start getting used to it now.

My obgyn went over the schedule of exams I'll have, the genetic tests we may want to get (we do), and she answered my questions (yes, I can get a doula; no, she doesn't really have much advice for quelling nausea, etc.).

But she didn't know a whole lot about nutrition, I have to say. I thought that the prenatal vitamin she'd prescribed me earlier didn't have enough nutrients (I did a lot of research on different brands and I asked a few nutritionists too). I also told her that in addition to the prenatal vitamin, I wanted to take a calcium supplement and a DHA supplement (fatty acids that have been shown to promote brain development, among other things).

"I don't think I've seen a pregnant woman who was calcium deficient," she said, "but it's fine if you want to supplement with it."

Um, you've never seen a pregnant woman who needs more calcium? I've had friends who ruined their teeth and developed weak bones as a result of not getting enough calcium during pregnancy and breastfeeding. And what about the old wives' tale that a woman loses a tooth for every pregnancy? I'm pretty sure my obgyn has seen more pregnant women than I have, so how come I've heard of this calcium issue and she's not concerned?

I couldn't even muster the energy to be annoyed, though, because she was helpful and listened to me, and I like her demeanor enough. And she did prescribe me another brand of prenatal vitamins, which I'd heard good things about. The prenatal she prescribed (and I'm taking), by the way, is Citracal, which has lots of the nutrients pregnant women need and it comes with a 250 mg pill of DHA from a non-fish source. Since neurologists and nutritionists (including my friends Lyssie Lakatos, R.D., and Tammy Lakatos-Shames, R.D., who are known as "The Nutrition Twins" ) recommend at least 400 mg per day of DHA in order to boost brain development, I'm also taking an additional 200 mg DHA pill each day called Expecta, which my pharmacist gave me. And the Nutrition Twins do agree that I should supplement with calcium. So, for future nutrition questions, I plan to get my info from nutritionists (and then just clear it with my doc).

But, anyway, the most exciting part of the appointment was that we had our very first sonogram. We couldn't see much, but we did see the flickering white light that signified the heartbeat. Pretty amazing.

"It's a good strong, heartbeat," said my obgyn. "That doesn't mean that you won't have a miscarriage at this point, but it means that things are looking good."

I was a little put off by the mention of the "M" word right then, but I appreciated the straight facts.

"If the heartbeat is still strong at your 10-week check-up, you'll only have a 5 percent chance of miscarriage at that point," she added.

Okay, then, let's get to week 10.

Then, she handed us a printed copy of our sonogram.

"It's cute," my husband said.

When I got back to work, I promptly made photocopies of the sonogram for our parents and my brother and sister-in-law, and sent them off in the mail titled, "First Sonogram, Baby Pechman." I felt a little presumptuous writing "baby," since at this point the embryo isn't even called a fetus yet, and a lot could happen between now and then. But, I don't know, I was feeling optimistic. I still am.