Bonjour de la Suisse

Hello from Switzerland! ~~ The adventures of a California girl who got married to a great guy, G, and traded in her old life for the chance to live in a foreign land and live the expat life for a couple years. We live in Geneva, Switzerland with our globe-trotting cat, Scout.

Ma photo
Nom :
Lieu : California, United States

"The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one's own country as a foreign land." ~ G.K. Chesterton

jeudi, février 28, 2008

You are sending me where?!?

On February 1st I was scheduled for another ultrasound to check my cervix. I had already been on bed rest for a week but was feeling good about my appointment. This was one of the only doctor’s visits that G missed, since he was still in Köln on his business trip (although he was due back that evening). Well, things were not to go as smoothly as I had hoped.

I had already had shots to help the baby’s lungs mature just in case he or she came early, so I knew I was at risk for a premature birth, I just didn’t realize how much danger we were in. At the appointment my cervix measured just 1.1cm and had started to funnel (or open) at the top. My doctor immediately said. “I’m admitting you.” “Admitting me? Where? To the hospital?” I was now starting to freak out.

Here I was, by myself in a country where I don’t have full command of the language and didn’t know how the system worked, had no way to call anyone in the US, and was worried I would be delivering my baby at any minute. I was rushed over in a taxi to the Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève Maternité (or the HUG) and was admitted right away… my new doctor was already waiting for me. The admittance process ran pretty smoothly and I was in my room within the hour. I was happy to learn that most of the people spoke English, so if I got stuck with my French I could still be understood.

G arrived that night and I was so relieved to see him. He stayed as long as he could and returned first thing in the morning. I was told that I would have to stay between 3-5 weeks and stay very “quiet” (the French term for bed rest). I was only allowed to get up to use the bathroom and to take a shower (thank goodness for small things). The staff was fantastic, the mid-wives were so nice and I really got the chance to improve my French (and help some of them with their English).

I settled in as best I could and quickly learned the daily routine. I had gone into the hospital with just the clothes on my back so G brought me everything I needed… my toiletries, books to read, my i-Pod, my French dictionary, even needlepoint. I needed things to do because my room, although it was a private room, was quite dreary. The only English station was CNN International, which gets old pretty fast. The other big issue with my room was there was construction work literally on the other side of my window, so I couldn’t open the shades when the workmen where there during the week and even on the weekend I couldn’t see the sky.

There was also no internet access which we tried to solve, but at least G brought me a computer loaded with movies and “Heroes” so I had something to watch. G also brought me extra food to eat, since the menu at the hospital was a bit bland. He brought fruit, milk, and cheese almost every day. He was a saint, coming out to the hospital twice a day to bring me things and just hang out.

My other lifesaver was all the visitors that came! In my three weeks in the hospital I had over 20 visitors, many of whom came more than once! They brought me all kinds of things; books, magazines, flowers, portable game systems (PSP & Nintendo), DVDs, Sudoku, food, and even Chinese New Year stuff to liven up the room a little! I was so touched by all the visits and everyone’s generosity. I also received tons of care packages from the US… I loved reading letters and American magazines from home.

Another nice surprise was that I was selected for a psychology study (I was at a teaching hospital after all). The study was to see if regular chats with a psychologist helps women who are at risk of pre-term delivery to make it to full term. I figured, why not? It was one more person to talk to and it helped to pass the time. The psychologist was very nice and I really looked forward to our chats. I also was visited by a lady from a local church who came to see me about once a week. She was nice too and it was nice to chat with her about staying positive and visualizing making it to full term.

My biggest challenge was to stay positive, but somehow I managed to do just that most of the time. I guess that impressed the doctor and the mid-wives who said I was one of the most positive patients they had had in a while. But I knew that sulking and feeling sorry for myself was not going to help our baby, so I did what I had to do and kept my spirits up as much as I could.

So after three weeks of “keeping quiet” and being monitored, I was told that my cervix had stabilized (it was still 1.1cm) and I could go home to continue to be on bed rest. I was 28 weeks along now and in a much better place if I did go into labor early. I have to admit I was scared to death about going home, but I knew I was just a phone call away if I needed anything. And I was sad to leave the wonderful mid-wives that had taken such good care of me these last few weeks. But I was also thrilled to finally be headed home and to sleep in my own bed next to G again.

Trying to keep my spirits up

Week 27 in my dreary hospital room - notice the construction site on the other side of the window?

Week 28 and ready to head home