It’s been a little while since I posted last, but I have an excellent excuse. A little over three weeks ago my daughter was born. The littlest Leroux is healthy and doing quite well. She does quite well at keeping her mama up all night too. I hope we will settle into a routine soon, or I fear the release date of the Roman’s Woman (SO4) will be pushed back to late fall, early winter 🙁
Giving birth in a foreign country is an interesting experience. And in this case probably nicer than giving birth in the US, although I can’t say for sure since I haven’t done that yet. France has excellent health care, particularly prenatal and infant care. Although my husband tells me the hospitals are poor, a four-day stay after the birth of a baby is standard. I saw an OB every month and even consulted with an anesthesiologist about the epidural procedure beforehand. In addition to that I took 5 or 6 “lessons” from a midwife during the last half of my pregnancy. This was in place of birthing/lamaze classes. Though I was worried that I was somehow missing out on some crucial information, particularly about birthing techniques, in the end I probably learned more from the midwife’s consultation, which extend after the birth. In fact there’s more lessons coming. It seems they do perineal retraining as standard here in France, so I won’t accidentally pee when I sneeze in the future :p, which is something US health providers should look into. I bet there are lots of mothers accidentally peeing themselves out there.
They even sent the midwife to our place during the first week to weigh the baby and to check on our breastfeeding technique. That last continues to be hellish. The baby lost too much weight during the first week so we were advised to supplement with a bottle and to step it back once she gained the weight back and then some. The unwise addition of nipple shields to improve her attachment has resulted in a heck of a lot of confusion on her part, leading to lots of screaming combined with the repeated punching and kicking of mama. Trying to go back to bare nipple is going to be hell, but we’re trying.
A minor note on epidurals. How awesome are they? I don’t think I could have gotten through the delivery without one. I thought I was going to pass out from the pain, which had started in earnest the night before the delivery. A trip to the hospital at midnight was apparently too soon. We got sent home after being told I wasn’t in labor yet. My husband drove us home and we got back into bed around three AM. After three hours of ignoring the contractions my water broke and off we went back to the hospital. I’m not sure how long after I finally got the epidural, but I was counting down the minutes.
In France, unless you have complications, a midwife delivers your baby. In my case, several midwives. Once in the hospital everything went like clockwork, except for some oversensitive equipment that kept pinging and signaling a problem when there wasn’t one. But in the end there were no actual problems and my baby was born without incident. She was also born with a full head of hair and more adorable than a newborn should have been. I thought newborns were supposed to be ugly for at least a week or two. But mine was too cute for words. All the midwives remarked on it too, so it wasn’t all in my head 😉
In a few days baby has her first-month checkup. I expect all good news. My pregnancy was average and so far all baby news has been if not good, then at least normal. And hopefully she’ll start eating better and sleeping through the night. Until she does I may have to learn to write one-handed on my iPhone, which I’m seriously considering trying during our endless feeding sessions. But hey, she’s super cute and totally worth it. It’s just easier to remember that fact when she’s not screaming.