In America, if you’re looking for a new doctor, you either go to Google, call your insurance provider for a recommendation, or consult family and friends for a referral. After you’ve found your prospective physician you then proceed to call the doctors office, a nurse answers, and you schedule an appointment.
You usually get a call from the nurse a day before your appointment to remind you of the time and location of your upcoming visit.
In Morocco, you go to the pharmacist and ask for a recommendation or wander the streets looking for signs on the sides of buildings listing the doctor’s name and specialty. You walk in and you wait to see the doctor.
No records. No insurance. No paperwork. No medical history. Nada.
At around 6 weeks pregnant we decided to find an OB/GYN (baby doctor) in Tetouan.
We were lucky because Zouhair was able to find a forum at this website anaqamaghribia in Arabic of women asking for baby doctor’s in Tetouan and a specific doctor was mentioned multiple times with good reviews, so we decided to go see him.
We will call this doctor, Dr. 1, because he was the first doctor we visited.
If you’re interested in the name of this doctor feel free to message us and we will share.
On June 6, 2016 we went to the hospital that was affiliated with Dr. 1 and we were directed to the delivery ward of the hospital and we luckily crossed paths with Dr. 1.
We told him we were pregnant and interested in him being our doctor. He told us his location and that he would be heading there soon.
We got in a taxi and headed to the office. No appointment necessary, of course.
The office is inside of an apartment building, as are most Moroccan doctor’s offices, and it’s on the third-ish floor, very fun for the very pregnant women to walk up stairs. Get the pregnancy blood pumping.
On the outside of the door is a doorbell that you ring for the staff to unlock the door. We enter and, as always, are stared at by everyone for looking like foreigners, especially me.
There was a nurse at the front desk and she seemed to know who we were. How? Probably because the doctor warned her that we (the new foreign-looking couple) were coming.
She told Zouhair that we would be with the doctor soon and to wait a few moments.
The office was packed full and instead of sitting uncomfortably squished between a bunch of pregnant Moroccan women, we chose to stand in the hall.
We waited about 45 minutes and we met Dr. 1.
He spoke a tiny bit of English, which made me very happy, but the majority of the conversation was between Zouhair and the Dr.
About one minute into the conversation I was motioned to enter another room to have an ultrasound. This is very different than in the US.
First off, my blood pressure wasn’t taken, my urine wasn’t sampled to confirm my pregnancy, my weight wasn’t measured, and my temperature wasn’t checked. Nothing was recorded and it’s also not common to have an ultrasound so early.
We entered the small room with the outdated ultrasound machine with no lights on other than from the window. I lay down on the bed and Dr. 1 starts covering my belly in jelly and moving the monitor around my (at the time) flat stomach.
I saw my little peena peena for the first time! I was unbelievably excited and mesmerized! We even heard the heartbeat! I couldn’t believe it.
All of the conversation was in Arabic, so I was even more surprised by everything with no warning or heads up that “hey, you’re going to hear the heartbeat, Hannah!”
I was thrilled and I easily forgot that none of the typical US medical protocols were performed until after we left the office.
We were given a vitamin to start off with (Yofolvit) that only has folic acid, vitamin B12, and iodine, again, a lot more different than a US prenatal vitamin, which has at least triple the amount of vitamins and minerals, which put me off a bit.
Dr. 1 gave us a little paper folder and stapled a small ultrasound photo to the inside and sent us on our way.
The cost of the visit was $25 (250 MAD) and we didn’t/don’t have insurance, so we paid the very friendly front-desk nurse and left with big smiles as the news of our new little baby was in fact very real!
Overall, we learned that if you want your weight to be measured, ASK. If you want your blood pressure taken, ASK. If you want anything from your doctor that isn't already offered, just ask them. We weren't satisfied with the Yolfolvit vitamin, so we asked and he gave us a free sample of another prenatal vitamin and we have taken it since.
Our experiences fluctuate as we progress in our pregnancy. We meet Dr. 2 and are very unhappy and start to feel hopeless about finding a doctor we both are truly comfortable and compatible with. Follow along in our blogs to come and learn why we went back to Dr. 1.