I had my first How to Push class yesterday with the midwife. While the class is in French, I’m feeling a lot more confident with my language skills; the OB told me that the midwife speaks English, but she doesn’t speak a lot (for example, I asked a question yesterday to clarify something and was told that the perineum supports the lung. Blink. Blink.
After a few quizzical moments where we tried different organs, her gesturing and trying different words with me cautiously confirming the translation in French, we moved to the stomach, the liver, and finally to “le sac qui contient le pee-pee”. Bladder. Got it.
So between the two of us, we get there somehow. And really, I understood most of it really well. I can finally hear words in French and understand them immediately without having to translate in my head, which has the happy end result of the French not feeling like it’s coming at me too fast.
We practiced different birthing positions, using a yoga ball and a bean bag body pillow, which I now really want since it wasn’t until I was laying in recovery position on my side with the pillow snaked around me supporting my spine that I realized that my back has actually started to be in tension lately.
I don’t know if I mentioned it, but Carte Vitale, my French health insurance card, FINALLY arrived in the mail. I feel really proud and happy to be carrying it!
I was going to write a post about the French health system, since I think it’s really different from what most Americans think it is. I decided to leave politics and policy out of this blog though- doesn’t always make for interesting reading (as those of you who sat through my post on US wine importation laws probably remember. Oh! Hey! By the way! The importer has agreed to represent our wine, Le Clos d’Elle, and has placed an initial order of 4000 bottles! I’ll give you more information as we get it. Very exciting!)
If, however,you’re interested in reading a little more about how it’s structured, click here: Health Care in France Really, I think it’s a good system, and has many of the same flaws that other countries face as well. However, In its 2000 assessment of world health care systems, the World Health Organization found that France provided the “close to best overall health care” in the world.
Back at the birthing class: We learned a bunch of stuff, actually, and it was really good and normal-feeling; there are these moments where I feel like such an outsider, and then there are moments I feel like I almost belong, like a normal person living her life and going about her business, just with a funny accent. The more I successfully navigate situations like this independently and in French, the more integrated I feel.
I finished the afternoon with an hour and a half hike in the hills behind our house. We’ve gotten some rain lately, and the mild temperatures have led to some flowers blooming; all the rosemary is covered in purple flowers, I saw the very first magueritte daisies, and the air smelled very alive! Some pictures from the last couple days…love the Mediterranean climate!