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Thursday, March 22, 2012

having a baby in france


I think it is more natural here.  Maybe it was my doctor that I choose?!?  Or the fact that they have Midwives assigned to every woman rather than OB Nurses?

Little Miss's birth story...

I had Gestational Diabetes (for Little Man's Pregnancy as well).  I was controlled (i.e. no medical issues nor a big weight gain - I gained 8 pounds total for the pregnancy) but my doctor was worried Little Miss would be a large baby like Little Man (9 lbs 8oz) and we also had an abnormal result on one of the ultrasounds.  So we had an induction scheduled for a date in mid October.

My Midwife gave me some tricks that I could do induce labor naturally as I really wanted to experience a spontaneous birth (I was also induced with Little Man)...but nothing seemed to work :-(

So we went in for our scheduled induction date.  At noon I was 2 cm so they broke my water to induce labor rather than start Pitocin.  I was getting some contractions but I did not dilate any more from them.

At 1pm the Midwife started me on the Pitocin.  After 20 mins on it I started to have real contractions (mild).  She asked how I was doing and check me again...I was at 4cm.  She said if I was ok she would get lunch (30 mins max) and if I wanted to get my epidural we could start it when she returned (we discussed that I would want a light one since the doctor informed me Little Miss would be just as big as Little Man was).  I agreed but after 20 mins I was in severe pain.

The epidural was ordered and when the Midwife returned the Anesthesiologist was there to start the epidural (I was still only 4 cm).  I was only pain free for 10 mins because Little Miss was on her way and it was time to push.  My Midwife was amazed that I had progressed so fast!  I was just at 4cm - 10 mins ago, we only just started everything 2 hours and 20 mins ago and the bag of Pitocin was only 1/3 done!

She called the doctor over from the clinic across the street.  She said I could push if I needed to in the meantime.  And if he wasn't here she could do it.  I waited for the first few pushes...but once he was in the room I started to push.  He just had the time to remove his watch and wash his hands and Little Miss was on her way into this world ;-)  My husband recalls I only pushed once but I remember it very differently haha!  I do agree that it was definitely less than 10 minutes of pushing for sure.

Little Miss
The major thing like I said earlier is that it is more natural here.  My doctor preferred that I did not have an epidural...but we both agreed if I did want one that I would receive a light one to help with the labor pains but where I would still know when it was time to push.  And MAN did I ever feel the need to push.  I also did with Little Man...but this was a different feeling.  There was a burning that I had not felt with Little Man.  Also, I KNOW I had a very light epidural because afterwards I needed a local anesthesia for the sutures.

I wish I had known how fast it would have been because I probably would have skipped the epidural all together.  From the moment my water was broken till Little Miss's delivery it was only 2 hours and 40 minutes and she was ONLY 8 lbs 4oz which is NOTHING compared to 9 lbs 8oz ;-)!

Another example of it being more natural here is that my doctor assisted more manually with getting Little Miss's head out.  I felt that in the US my doctor just reached for the knife way too quickly.  I don't even think the French doctor even cut me at all!  He allowed for natural stretching and tearing.  I did have a lot of stitches but that is normal with the majority of deliveries (no more than in the US).

Here is a pic of our view from the hospital room ;-)  YES the Eiffel Tower!
The after care was basically the same.  After a few hours they moved us into our room.  The care was about the same.  They checked on the baby for the post diabetes check ups around the same times they did in the US for Little Man.  They checked my temperature, legs, wound etc...throughout our stay.  They checked the baby once a day, They gave us some basic infant care instructions, feed me and assisted with breastfeeding.

The differences were:
  • They did not allow me to bathe the baby or myself for 24 hours!  GROSS...they just wanted us to relax and rest.  I see the reason but I did not want Little Man to see us with blood all over ourselves.
  • They did not have a Breastfeeding Consultant on staff.  It was just the nurses who could give you tips but not someone dedicated to it.
  • We had to pay extra for a single room (which is the same in the US) BUT there were a few differences in types of rooms (we do have a secondary insurance who paid for a portion approximately 40%).  Some of the singles did not have pull out couches for the fathers (if we opted for the smaller rooms the our secondary might have paid the entire cost).  We opted for the more expensive one with the bed.  It was 300 euros per day (day not night)!  Needless to say we did not stay long (2 nights/3 days) CAN stay up to 6 but we did not need it nor wanted to waste the money.  When we could do just fine at home in our own bed.
  • The cost of delivering a baby.  In the US I did not pay a dime because I had great insurance.  But the insurance's total cost in the US for the hospital and all doctors involved was $28,000 (more than my college eduction by the way!).  Here the total paid to everyone was 3500 euros!  I am not sure if the hospital received more money via their bills directly to the gov't but I believe this is everything they get.  So the hospital received 900 euros (3 days x 300 euros), OB/Midwife 1900+ euros, Pediatrician 53 euros x 2 visits and Anesthesiologist 500+ euros!  I will go into greater detail on how the French Health Care system works in another post.
That's about it!

I loved my experience and would do it again (IF we were planning on having another...which we are NOT! ;-)

What was your birth experience like?  Did you have a child in France (if so share your story about France being more natural or not...I'm curious if it was just the doc I choose)?  If you had a second child, did you find the labor/delivery to go by faster/smoother? What was the approximate costs for having a baby in your area?  Any questions feel free to ask...


Friday, March 9, 2012

potty training part 2

So from where I left off on April's post potty training part 1 (22 months old)...Little Man (which is what I'll be now calling him in this blog) did not last long that day.  After his nap he started to have a lot of accidents.  We kept trying with just underwear for a few weeks but he did not seem interested.

We took another break until our vacations in August (26 months old) in Dordogne, France.  Dordogne is famous for their Medieval Castles so we bought him some toys Knights and Horses as positive reinforcement prizes.  This was just ok...he did earn all of his knights and horses eventually.  It took him over 1 month to earn all you can see he was not really going often.

The major reason for the PUSH to be potty trained is...
1. We were expecting our baby girl "Little Miss" in October
2. French Preschool (which is free) starts at 3 years old and they have to be potty trained to attend

We tried and tried...then Little Man got his "Big Boy Bed" in September (27 months old) and this was a big transition.  It took a few weeks until he was staying put in his bed.  We did not want to add the pressure of potty training.  After he seemed to be doing well with bed we introduced the potty again.  And kept at it until the birth of Little Miss in mid October (28 months old).  At this point we did stop...we wanted him to adjust stress free with having a baby sister and honestly I did not have time nor was I totally rested to deal with it!

Fast forward to just after Christmas holidays (30 months old).  Little Man was picking up speed on the potty.  We started him again with just underwear and PJ pants.  He had many accidents of all sorts.  But he was holding "it" for a long time now.  He just didn't know it was time to "go" until it was too late.  Sometimes he would have mini accidents and then finish in the potty.

January (31 months old) we all took at trip to Florida to visit family and friends for 2.5 weeks.  He did not like the potty my dad had bought and basically refused to sit on it.  He did however sit on the big toilet and had a few successes.

In mid February (32 months old) his school had noticed that his diapers were staying dry.  And they inquired if he was using the potty at home.  I said yes at home he only wears underwear...diapers at night and nap time only.  But he has many accidents (but generally finishes in the potty) and he will go when I remind/ask him to use it.  She told me that since they noticed his diaper was dry they had asked him to sit and use the potty there but he did not go.  They said that he is probably getting close to being potty trained.  Because when they can hold it for more than 4 hours its a good sign.  But we need to move away from asking him to go to him going on his own.  She said what they recommend is to wear pull up type diapers and their underwear on top.  So they have the protection and also feel like they are wearing their underwear.  At first I thought this was not a good idea.  He was wearing underwear at home...why would this work?

That weekend (18th) we tried it...because of a few frustrations of poop accidents in the underwear.  Having diapers would be less of a mess to clean up.  So we tried it pull ups with the underwear.  After a day or so wearing them like this he was telling us he had to go to the bathroom before he went (maybe he did go a little but he figured out the urge all on his own).  At first I thought it was a fluke but by that Monday he was officially going on his own.

Tuesday at school (he only goes Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday mornings) he used the potty.  They were very impressed because 1. he went on his own and 2. he undressed himself and redressed himself.  They said at that age none of the children do that!  By that Wednesday (22nd) the school said he could come to school with just underwear!  Because that day he also went poop at school (which is unheard of she said...most kids prefer to do that at home or in their diaper...and they felt he was ready!).  I said let's give it a week or so just to be sure since he was just going poop in the potty by himself for 2 straight days.

That Friday (so far 3 days in a row with poop success) he started having poop accidents everyday until the follow Friday.  Then 5 days of successes and an accident again.

Now we are current to today (March 9th) is the 2nd day in a row without an accident!  Let's hope we are on our way to accident free.  Today he also went to school without a diaper and did perfectly!  She said he is really good at going on his own.  She gave him some water at 9:30am and she asked him to go around 10:30am.  He said he did not have to at the time.  But went on his own at 11am!

Another thing is that none of the other kids we know who are preschool bound (6 in total going to his particular school) are not even close to being potty trained.  So 6 months from now he will be a pro while some of those other kids will still be struggling ;-)

We are very proud of our Little Man he is growing by leaps and bounds!

Lessons learned for when it is Little Miss's turn:
  • We will not try too young (i.e. when our OLD French doc told us to start at 13 months...we will not do this UNLESS she is interested in it).  2 years old is a good age I think
  • Positive Reinforcement doesn't really work for children under the age of 2 years old (probably even a little more older than that)...really offering the item beforehand is what does not work.  Offering a prize for a success does but not hinting at it before...then they are only focused on why they can not have the m&m now
  • Pull ups will start earlier
  • Pull ups with the underwear over them will also start early on 
  • I think it also helped to have a baby in the household.  He really wanted to be the BIG brother and be a BIG boy.  He says that babies wear this helped.  I think for Little Miss she will want to be like her Big Brother any way so I believe she will be potty trained less than 32 months 
What's your story like?  How old was your child?  What worked for you what didn't?  Did your child have more accidents through out his/her adolescence?  Anything I should be preparing for in the future?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

etsy update!

So I started my Etsy Store Paris Handmade by TN in Late September (5 months ago).  Here is my progress...I have made 6 official sales on Etsy and 1 personal sale to a friend on the side.  7 sales in 5 months I think that is awesome ;-)

It has slowed down a bit lately only because I have not been creating new pieces and refreshing my account on Etsy.

For Christmas I received the best gift ever...a Kiln!  My very own oven to make jewelry ;-)  It is a big investment but my husband is not concerned with that.  He wants me to be happy and to do what I enjoy doing in my "spare'' time.  I use that word loosely haha!  But I am finding that since Little Miss is now 4 months and on set napping schedules I do have some time to myself.  My 2 year old (almost 3) will also start Preschool in the Fall.  So I will have even more time soon!

I have 4 pieces in the works but ran into a slight problem finishing them up.  I need a tool that I can't seem to find in France.  French websites suck btw!  They do not have online stores like in the US.  I even asked where my friend (who owns the workshop I used to go to) bought said tool and she bought it online through the US!  So I need to order it and since I am at it...I need some more supplies.  So these pieces won't be available for at least 2 more weeks.  BUT they are soooo cool!  And I am sure they will be a big hit.

Well that is it on the Etsy Store are all updated ;-)

Back to writing about life in Paris with kiddos!

TN out!