Memories and Inspiration for Food, Travel and Life
Anyone who knows me knows that I am very familiar with the French health system, since falling down the stairs and breaking my back in 2013. My new adventure has to do with our having a baby, which is due in March. As we are living in Spain and France, but only covered completely with health insurance in France, we have been making monthly trips back and forth for doctors appointments and planned on coming back a month before the baby was due to stay for a couple of months for delivery and make sure we get her passport etc.
Let me say one thing about giving birth in Paris, you better ‘book’ yourself into the hospital you want almost as soon as you know you are pregnant otherwise the spaces might already be filled. I mean, book yourself before you would even tell family you’re pregnant. You can choose between public, semi-private and private. For an American, even private ‘expensive’ hospitals seem like a deal. And by book, I don’t mean just call. You have to work to get an appointment and make formal declaration that this is where you want to be. Some private hospitals will require a deposit, and most public will require you have a local address.
We started appointments at the public hospital in the 15em called Necker, at the request of our doctor, for the ease of one day ultrasounds and blood work. It is a very highly rated hospital, although generally reserved for high risk cases. This was not the place we were choosing for our maternity anyway, so that was fine. We have chosen the private maternity Saint Felicite in the 15eme for many reasons – almost all of our friends have delivered there, we know a midwife who worked there and is planning on having her baby there and, most importantly, my OBGYN works there and will be able to deliver me. Saint Felicite is small, run by nuns, and while rather dated inside compared to American hospitals, the personalization and intimacy has been a big drawing point for me. It doesn’t hurt that everyone I know who has given birth there has had such positive stories.
I had also taken into consideration the semi-private Les Bluets for delivering, since it has a great reputation and offers rather hard to find things like baths for laboring, but after a rather disorganized and seemingly incompetent (and rude) administrative process we decided against.
France is also very proactive about testing for Downs Syndrome and toxoplasmosis with (it seems) every mother. Which is interesting, as I have not heard this from my friends in the USA. I have had the standard monthly blood tests and around five ultrasounds so far (extras because of extenuating circumstances, otherwise you would have three).
Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes in my 7th month after an ultrasound showed my baby was in the 97th percentile and at 31 weeks was weighing 2.2 kilo (nearly what my little self weighed at birth). So we have stayed in Paris since January, rather than going back to Barcelona and arriving back into Paris in February. This hiccup was very stressful at first, since we didn’t have our apartment ready and were staying between in-laws and friends…not enjoyable for long amounts of time when not pregnant but when pregnant and needing to be strict about a diet rather trying for everyone…but I do count my blessings that we have had a place to stay and that the doctors did catch this.
So now we are doing bi-weekly check-ups on the baby, so far so good. I have also taken control of the diabetes through a diet which is incredibly restrictive, but luckily I have never had much of a sweet tooth so it’s not so bad. My culinary background has also helped, since I understand food and know where starches and sugars can be hiding. Ultimately, I will just look at it like I will be in better shape after birth than before!
As someone who usually stresses about their health, I had taken the whole pregnancy rather calmly and was not reading into anything. I walk a lot (living in cities will do that) and eat well when I am at home. I tried to understand why this happened to me – we have been traveling a lot and eating outside of home so while I cannot say I have been perfect, I have always tried to make the right choices in restaurants or others homes. My diabetes doctor in Paris is also stumped, as I don’t fit the ‘profile’ of someone who would end up with gestational diabetes, but it sounds like this happens sometimes and pregnancy just brings it on. C’est la vie!
So now we are just waiting for the next ultrasound on the 17th of February to see how she is growing and then we will go from there!
We can’t wait to meet this little baby!
I had gestational diabetes with Oliver, and I didn’t fit the profile either. I weighed less after giving birth than I do now, two years later. C’est la vie indeed…
Good luck to you! Such a wonderful time.
Really?! It’s crazy, we certainly don’t fit the profile and it seems so crazy to lose weight while pregnant but as long as the little ones turn out OK…that’s all that matters I guess! Thank you so much, Erin 🙂
Hi there! I’m going to ask a really personal question but I’m so curious–have you ever been diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome)? I have been noticing that many pregnant women with gestational diabetes (including me) have had a previous diagnosis with PCOS which makes you insulin resistant.
Also, what kind of monitoring is your doctor doing? I’m about to see my doc tomorrow and I plan on asking her about the validity of weekly non-stress tests because I don’t understand the point. I’m trying to get a wider view of what is typical with gestational diabetes patients.
Hi! No, I haven’t been diagnosed with that…not to say I couldn’t be later. Oddly, the doctor here said that low birth weight babies tend to be more prone to GD (and since I was under 5lbs at birth I would be considered such). They did a special heart ultrasound and that was OK, plus twice a week I have non-stress tests for the baby. I agree, at this time I don’t see that point but I will say the woman who was being monitored next to me was in the same boat and her baby was having heart issues so I guess it’s the ‘better safe than sorry’ routine. I also check my levels 6 times a day and meet with the diabetes doctor every other week. I will also have another ultrasound the month before the due date to confirm the size of the baby and go from there.
I had asked if I could just have once weekly non-stress tests, but they said no. I’m not going to complain about the treatment, it’s very thorough and since I have the time its OK. If I was working, I don’t even know how someone would manage. Let me know if they are doing anything else with you, if you care to share 🙂 All the best x
Well, it’s much less here. Once weekly non-stress tests for baby and an ultrasound at 36 weeks. I was getting an ultrasound every two weeks since my gestational diabetes diagnosis, but once they started the non-stress tests the ultrasounds quit. The non-stress tests started as a result in a jump in my baby’s weight over a two week period.
I am controlling my GD with diet and exercise only, with blood sugar checks 4-6 times daily.
I live an hour away from my obstetrician, so it’s frustrating to come every week. It eats most of an entire day. Luckily, I work from home and I own my own business otherwise I’m not sure how this would work.
Sounds kinda the same, at least they seem to be taking good care of us 🙂
Keep me posted and I wish you all the best! What is your due date, out of curiosity? Mine is March 16th.
Mine is March 23rd, but for some reason I think March 17th is it. Ha! Best wishes to you, too! I will keep following.
I actually had her early on February 21! Long story, but have you had yours?
Congratulations! I had my son on March 31st!
Congratulations to you!! Are you back to normal…no diabetes? So far, so good for me 🙂
I am back to better than I was before pregnancy! I went back to normal in the hospital immediately following delivery. Pretty crazy! I keep spot checking my blood sugar every now and then just to see if everything is still normal in my numbers are always perfect. I’m so glad you’re doing well too.
Ah great to hear! What a stress during pregnancy but boy was it easy to get back to normal physically after being on that diet! Enjoy your little one and all the best for you both xxx
The same to you!!!!
They certainly do! We will be sure to invest in some 2015 for her 🙂 We had Juliens when we were engaged! I will certainly keep you posted x
Thanks for the post!
Do French fathers still purchase a case of fine Bordeaux, in this case vintage 2015, to put away until the marriage of the child? If not, then this would a bug put into grandpa Jordan’s ear!
Please keep us posted.
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