adventures of an american housewife in the south of france

Knocked Up Abroad: Shake Your Bonbon

We've had a very busy week of appointments over here, so I just wanted to provide a little update of what's been going on with Bonbon.

I call that picture The Cone Bump.  Little Bonbon has been spinning, spinning, spinning all over the place and moving and shaking!  She morphs my belly into the funniest shapes:  cones, lopsided, even squares.  One night she was bouncing around so much that I took a video.  I sent it to my Mom and she wrote back saying, "She looks like she's really trying to figure out how to get out of there!"  Well, she hasn't quite figured it out yet because we found out at our appointment with Dr. B on Tuesday that she is still breech, still sitting very high, and doesn't look like she's ready to make her entrance yet!  I went back to the Osteopathe, but honestly, I'm sort of over trying to get her to turn.  As my Osteopathe said, "Now, we let nature decide."  She's going to do what she wants to do, so I'm just going to wait patiently.  Dr. B told us that she's about 2.8kg right now (6.2lbs) and they are estimating her to be about 3.2kg (just over 7lbs) at birth.  Since she's not too big, she still has room to turn.  Her head looks to be a normal size and everything else looks to be placed well, so we will still try for a vaginal birth even if she remains breech, which I'm really happy about.  I am trying to keep it positive and keep in mind that if she is still spinning so much, maybe she'll get into position before deciding to meet us. The other big appointment we had this week was our Hospital Tour.  That was...interesting.  The tour took place with about 5 other couples and the whole thing was in French, bien sûr.   It was funny at first, Michael and I kept stealing glances at each other, rolling our eyes and stifling our smiles because we could barely understand 15% of what they were saying.  But for me, the humor of the situation dissipated quickly and by the end of the tour, I could feel the tears burning behind my eyes in frustration.  Michael knew to just let me be until I could go to the bathroom to compose myself.  We left the tour and I burst into tears.  I've mentioned before that I was hoping to find an environment that would be more like a birthing center in the U.S., but that just does not exist here.  The hospital felt so sterile and cold and just not what I envisioned for the delivery.  That coupled with the fact that we barely had any idea of what was going on, well it was scary.  Not only am I dealing with the general anxiety of giving birth, but we have the communication barrier to deal with too.  Michael was so great and knew just how to calm me down and keep it all in perspective.  He is such an amazing and supportive partner, that I know as long as he is with me, we can get through it, but it's still overwhelming.

 Now that everything is ready for Bonbon, we're going to have a low key weekend.  The nursery is ready, our Go Bag is packed, I made and froze a bunch of meals for us for after the birth.  Now we just wait!  I'll be 39 weeks on Monday, but since she's still so high, I have a feeling I have at least another week and a half to go before I need to get nervous about something happening omg-any-second. But even if it does, we are ready!


8 Responses to “Knocked Up Abroad: Shake Your Bonbon”

  1. i feel like i have been following along for your whole pregnancy that i simply can’t wait for the big day!!

    you are such a trouper for doing it all abroad.

    annnnnnnnnd now i’ve morphed into my mom by saying, trouper…

  2. Devon says:

    Nat – you are going to do so awesome! I am so proud of you for staying so focused and positive throughout all your frustrations with the language barriers. I know it can’t be easy. At the end of the day, though, your just have to listen to your body and you will have your little bon bon. Love you much and miss you!


  3. Erin says:

    The last days are so hard! Hang in there and enjoy some nice, leisurely meals with your husband.

    I’ve never heard of a doctor allowing a naural breech delivery. Is that more common in Europe? Would you say there’s more of a “natural” focus in France? In the US, I’ve always heard of breech babies being automatic c/sections. I hope everything works out!

    • Natalie says:

      You know, that’s a great question. I’m not too sure, but based on what I’ve seen and heard here, I don’t really think there is much more of a natural focus. The midwives at the hospital/clinic do not really practice a traditional model of midwifery and, really, are basically nurses.

      Our midwife (who is not affiliated with a hospital or clinic here, she is actually one of 3 women in southern France who does home births!) told us that something like 85% of the women who deliver in the hospital/clinic get epidurals. I’m not sure how that compares to the US, but it does seem pretty high! Everyone has to have a pre-admission consultation with the anesthesiologist, where they take your medical history, blood pressure, run blood tests, and examine your back. I guess they are assuming everyone will want the epidural and so are working to save time on the big day?? Not sure how it works in the US…

      As far as a natural breech delivery, (and again, this is just based on what I’ve read) it sounds like, in the US, not many OBGYN’s these days are really taught how to deliver a breech baby vaginally anymore and that’s why it’s usually an automatic C-section. Or at least it’s not given much of a focus during their training, and so they don’t have a lot of experience with it. (And please, someone correct me if I’m wrong!) Part of the reason I chose the doctor here that I did is because our midwife told us that she really does try to focus on natural deliveries and minimizes her intervention. I feel lucky that we found someone willing to give this a try…but I guess we’ll have to see what actually ends up happening!

      Thank for your kind thoughts!!

  4. Sabbio says:

    Feeling sorry for you, the crying and all the anxiety! :(( Think J. will ber there too, that will help with both the anxiety and the language barrier, plus the “accouchement harmonieux” preparation you ordered!
    Sending you lots of hugs and positivity. See you very soon!

  5. Sabbio says:

    And I love the pic in the vineyard by the way ;) You both lok great!

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