The Big Ultrasound is right around the corner! In just a few short days, I'll be peering in utero, virtually counting tiny fingers and toes, and (hopefully!) getting confirmation on the sex of this baby!
There’s just one hitch: My appointment is 600 miles away. And it’s in an entirely different country.
For a simple anatomy scan, I’m going to have to pack up my whole family, book a hotel room, buy plane tickets and travel to Singapore.
Who knew being pregnant in Jakarta would be such an adventure!
It's not that you can't get an ultrasound here in Jakarta. In fact, I’ve had plenty! At twenty weeks, I’ve already amassed a nice collection of grainy black and white images of this little babe-to-be.
So, why go to Singapore?
Indonesia is still a developing country. Medical care is not up to Western standards. There are good doctors (my OB is one!) but there are also massive systemic problems with healthcare in Indonesia. The quality of prenatal testing, for example, is questionable.
My doctor trained abroad, and spent many years delivering healthy babies in the UK. He's patient, kind, and totally competent. He’s well versed in managing the expectations of hormonal foreigners.
But he's not a trained ultrasound technician. He can check in on the baby, and see that everything is basically okay, but he can't give a thorough evaluation. Even though he's Indonesian himself, my doctor recommends doing the anatomy scan outside Indonesia.
Singapore has the lowest rates of infant and maternal mortality in the world. It’s full of gleaming, high-tech medical facilities. I can expect greater attention to detail and more accountability from medical professionals in Singapore. And that matters to me.
So, I've got our tickets booked, made hotel reservations, and I’m packing our bags. We’re off to Singapore and feel at peace that we will now see our baby in a full ultrasound. And what a moment that will be!
Erica Knecht is a mother, writer, and professional nomad, currently based in Jakarta, Indonesia. When not gallivanting across Asia with her toddler in tow, she writes about the lighter side of tri-cultural parenting on her blog expatriababy.com