Pregnancy in India: 5 months

Pregnancy in India: 5 months

Getting big, hey!?

When I was in Varanasi last month, the gynaecologist told me I should do an anomaly ultrasound at twenty-one weeks of my pregnancy. I didn’t know if I would do it, as I thought “What’s the point of doing another ultrasound after three weeks?” but she told me it was very important and the fetus’s organs would be more visible. I didn’t want to get it done at the Christian Hospital in Chhatarpur where I had waited eight hours for my first ultrasound, and I knew I wouldn’t go back to Varanasi for it either. So I just kept it at the back of my mind and that was it…

Thinking about post-birth bureaucracy

In the meantime, knowing post-birth bureaucracy will be a pain in the bottom, I wrote an email to the French embassy asking about how to register our baby with them and how to get him or her a passport… Big headache! On 18 November I finally received their reply, which triggered an entire morning of inquiring, googling and phoning…

OCI card in lieu of PIO card conversion

Now that I knew what to do on the French side, I phoned the FRRO (Foreign Regional Registration Office) in Delhi to ask them what to do on the Indian side. When I told them I was a French citizen married to an Indian and a PIO card holder (Person of Indian Origin), they changed the subject and they told me that I had to convert my PIO card (which took 9 1/2 months to obtain!!!) into an OCI card (Overseas Citizen of India)!!! Because since Modi has come into power, both cards are merging, and PIO is becoming (life-long) OCI… I knew this before, but according to the Ministry of Home Affairs’ website, I had nothing to do because my PIO was delivered before January 2015… Confusing! Well now, every PIO card holder has to do this conversion – and if one does it before March 2016 it is free… Hang on! Baby is also coming in March 2016! This means great bureaucrazy times coming ahead, whooo! Besides, I found out that since I am no longer a resident of the state of Uttar Pradesh (Varanasi) but of Madhya Pradesh (Khajuraho), I now depend on the FRRO in Mumbai, not in Delhi… Delhi is ‘only’ a twelve-hour train journey away from us, we have friends there, we know the city well, and the metro makes moving about easy. But Mumbai is four hours’ bus plus twenty hours’ train away from us, it is a massive city without metro but local trains, it is super-expensive, and we don’t know anyone there… Yay!

Passport renewal required – NOW!

My passport is also expiring in July 2016, and I had been pondering whether I should get it renewed before or after our baby’s birth… But I think the new OCI card will be valid with my passport (I guess, but no-one tells you anything!) so I’d better renew my passport first, and then only do the conversion! So all of a sudden, after my morning of enquiring and googling and phoning, I realised I had to go to the French embassy in Delhi NOW! To get my passport renewed before I become as big as a whale, as I had to apply for the passport in person, and collect it in person!!! Aaargh!!!

And so after making sure by phoning the embassy that they did NOT need my birth certificate (which would have had to be sent from France – pfew!) I managed to book an Premium Tatkal (emergency) train ticket to Delhi for the following day – 19 November – there were just three available seats left! Which meant I was going to Delhi during my twenty-first week of pregnancy – and so I thought I might as well go for that ultrasound!

Off to Delhi to renew my passport & for the anomaly ultrasound!

I phoned the great Phoenix Hospital (one of the hospital I had considered for delivery) to ask for an appointment two days later on 20th, and yes, they had a free space for me. And so it seems like Life had taken the ultrasound decision for me

Passport renewal at the French embassy

I just stayed two days in Delhi, and it was a delight to travel with such light luggage. My train arrived two hours late so I went straight to the embassy to apply for my new passport. While I was at it I also got my details as an ‘overseas citizen of France’ updated with the consulate, to find out that I now depend on the French consulate of Mumbai, as I am no longer a resident of Uttar Pradesh (Varanasi) but of Madhya Pradesh (Khajuraho)!!! The officer updated my file anyway, but a new question cropped up: Will we have to register our baby in Delhi or in Mumbai (within 30 days after the birth)…? Urgh, I just don’t know!

After the job was done I took the metro to my friends’ flat – it was nice to see them again, so unexpectedly! They were busy so I slept and rested and had some food, and then walked the two magical minutes up to the Phoenix Hospital. I’m so lucky! There may be nothing for me in Khajuraho, but both hospitals in Varanasi and Delhi are just two minutes’ walk away!!!

Anomaly ultrasound at the Phoenix Hospital

And I’m very happy I did this anomaly ultrasound. Firstly this hospital is probably the best in the whole of Delhi and definitely one of the best in North India, and I could definitely see it from the staff and their equipment and the price to pay! (It’s quite interesting to have visited such a variety of Indian hospitals and what they have to offer…) So the ultrasound lasted at least thirty minutes, and for the first time I had a screen to myself to see what the doctor was doing, as he did it. No waiting until he would turn the screen for me to see! And the scan was very detailed indeed. I saw that my baby has five fingers in both his hands and feet, a nasal bone, a beautiful spine, a healthy heart, etc. etc.. It was very impressive! But it really seems like Indian doctors do everything they can so you will not see a hint of a sex for yourself! It is illegal even in educated India to reveal the baby’s gender…

Pregnancy in India: ultrasound 3

Pregnancy in India: ultrasound 3

I also found out that my baby’s volume has doubled in less than a month, going from 200 grams on 23 October to 419 grams on 20 November! How amazing! And that s/he is super cute! And that the placenta, which was low in October, has gone up by three centimetres. Hooray, for that was the only reason I would have originally wanted that ultrasound… And that my baby is already in a head-down position, which the doctor said is great because babies who are head down early are more likely to stay head down until delivery! Anyhow, as the ultrasound went, I felt elated with joy to find out that my wee one was in perfect health.

When I went to show the results to the doctor though, they told me that I had this ‘early diastolic notching‘ thing. Apparently it means the blood supply from me to my baby is not 100% efficient. I asked what to do, and they told me to take an L-Alginin & Magnesium supplement for two months, and that I shouldn’t worry but come back for another ultrasound in four weeks (!!!) I was very reluctant on taking any medication, but the doctor said that alginin was just an amino acid, and I know magnesium won’t do me any harm… I didn’t really worry much as my baby was healthy, but once home I googled everything. It turns out that this inefficiency could be due to my high blood pressure (nope, my blood pressure’s always been fine), to my lack of rest (maybe?) or to insufficient nutrition (do I lack protein?)… I also posted some messages on those Facebook birth groups, but I still haven’t received any answer from anyone! What is this mysterious ‘condition’ of mine? Anyway, I decided to go for the supplements and on the next day I popped back to the Phoenix Hospital and bought two months’ worth of the said supplement. It’s a powder to mix in water, and it makes an orange-flavoured drink just like vitamin C…

Take it from there…

And so I will have to go back to Delhi in two weeks to collect my passport, so perhaps I’ll go in four weeks for that as well as the follow-up ultrasound. Let’s see… In the meantime, apart from taking the supplements, I shall make sure I take a nap everyday, I shall particularly focus on those blood pressure regulating postures from my wonderful Yoga Bible*, go out for egg treats once in a while. And there’s always Reiki, love, faith in Life, and positivity…

*Disclosure: In the name of full transparency, please be aware that the above link is affiliate, and any purchase made through it will result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you).

Read more:
Six months : Update on my well-being & sadhana
Month seven, urine & blood check, vaccination dilemma and more…