Congratulations! I agree that most of the prenatal appointments seem unnecessary. Especially if you are going for as natural of a pregnancy as possible and forgoing most tests.
In my first pg, I did all the medical stuff, had my first exam at 5 weeks, including pap, then went every 4 weeks starting at 12 weeks, had most of the tests done, including u/s...but by the end of pregnancy I was starting to learn more and denied the GBS test, which I got hounded on repeatedly asking me to take it everytime I was seen thereafter. Ended up with a c-section w/o trial of labor just because baby was breech.
Pg #2, I interviewed Obs and mw's and finally met my delivering mw at 20 weeks pg and had my first appointment with her. We met in her home, she did a pee strip, measured my belly, felt around with her hands on my belly, and listened to the heartbeat. I met with her about 3 more times before delivery. For us, it was about establishing a relationship with each other. (homebirth)
Pg #3, I used the same mw, so our relationship was already established. I heard baby's hearbeat for the first time with a stethoscope at 27 weeks. I met with the mw in her home twice before delivery.
The important factor was that I was already doing everything like taking prenatals, eating healthy, exercising, etc and had no history of problems in pregnancy, and my mw trusted me that if there was a problem, I'd let her know. She knew I was educated and she was confident in my abilities to have a healthy pregnancy.
Sadly, I've moved 700 miles from my mw and have to start all over again. :( I know I'll probably never get to have that same kind of lenience again.
Anyway, who you have as your care provider, will make a huge difference as to how your prenatal appointments will look and how often you get seen.