So we took the home pregnancy tests and saw my private obgyn here in Florence who gave us the information to get setup on the National Healthcare for my pregnancy. The first step was to go to the Ladies "clinic" only open certain days from 1:30-4:30pm. You arrive, take a number and WAIT. We were number 12 and waited about 2 hours before seeing the doctor who was nothing more than administrative personnel who gave us a libretto (Booklet) that explained what to do step by step, week by week of my pregnancy. She was a bitter, unhappy and probably IS qualified to be a doctor helping people, but somehow ended up shoveling paperwork to pregnant ladies all day. Thankfully Antonio was with me, so helped me handle her bad attitude with laughter.
The first procedure was a general blood exam at one of the area hospitals in centro storico. To my amazement, when I checked in with the secretary to get blood taken, they let me skip line!! WAHOOO! I felt bad because there were eldery ladies standing around and I told Antonio that they should go first. His response was "Are you crazy? Take advantage of skipping line because those old ladies don't give a bleep! about you, they are the most furbette (clever) of all". Literally, 10 minutes later I had seen the assistant that took my blood and was out the door. This takes the record for the fastest appointment I have had while living in Italy. A total of 40 minutes, 60 minutes with the nice walk there & back. Points for the Italian system!
3 weeks later, my next appointment was to receive my first sonogram. The instructions did tell us to be there promptly at 8am and to expect to be there for 2 hours. Okay fine, at least they communicated it. However, we arrived and realize we are NOT there for a sonogram appointment, but for a SEMINAR for 35+ pregnant ladies. Wow, I wish I had somehow managed to take a photo, because Antonio and I were absolutely besides ourselves with laughter. There were about 60 of us there, with our men folk, 8am pregnant ladies in their first trimester - you know what means? Lots of painful faces and running to the bathroom that was thankfully RIGHT outside the door. Women nibbling on crackers & chips and drinking fruit juices while the men either looked like they were overly interested panting like dogs, or practically falling asleep.
We sat in this cold, pre-war building for 2 hours listening to a nice nurse explain to us all the risks with having children over 35. Then the Q&A session began afterwards, and as you can imagine, there is always some crazy person who just doesn't get it and asks all the same questions the nurse has just explained AND are in the pamphlets they give you when you checked in……further waiting…….
After our "scare the crap out of you" session, you took a number and waited to sit down with the same nurse to discuss your schedule. You meet with her in the front of the room, so everyone can hear what you are talking about, absolutely zero privacy. You should of seen all the shocked faces when a young Albanian woman said she had had 2 abortions, I felt bad for her since everyone had to hear her life story.
An hour later (we've been there now 3 hours) we spoke with our nurse who said we should be able to get additional bloodwork done that day (Hoooray!) and get the sonogram on the schedule. After visiting her, we went downstairs, took ANOTHER number and waited to pay (15 euro) and get blood work. 4 1/2 hours in total later I had one vile of blood taken + made an appointment for a sonogram.
Needless to say, after this I was utterly shattered so slept the rest of the day……..so, it's not all bad, some of the people are nice - it's just different and I am sure will all be worth it in the months to come!!!!!