uschapters
Hard times in New York Town


Tag: Health system (oh yeah)


Game over

0/3 – set OB


After

– a first and slightly traumatising appointment

– a second appointment which had disturbingly revealed that the foetus didn’t have a spine (because obviously, if the spine couldn’t be seen properly at the ultrasound, it’s because it didn’t exist (in fact, the foetus just wasn’t positioned properly (but as I now know that appointments at my hospital have a lot in common with Wolfgang Petersen movies (in short: the opposite of subtle), I usually remain pretty calm (the idea being mostly for the hospital to cover its ass in the unlikely case of a real issue (FYI, the additional ultrasound and blood test both revealed an immaculate and perfect spine)))

here are accurate minutes of my third appointment. 17 seconds, 4 sentences:

– you have to drink more

– you gained too much weight

– you should now sleep on the left side, otherwise it’s going to hurt the baby

– you can put your clothes back on, I don’t need to examine you

How to reshape your baby’s head


Last spring, I started noticing babies wearing weird head protection that basically resembled rugby helmets. At first I got really scared, because it made the babies look like they had just been hit by a bus and had to deal with a bad skull fracture. I felt awful for the moms and babies, and thus deliberately avoided the subject because moms usually hate the “oh god, what happened to Kevin?” conversation.

A few days later, I went to the girls’ pediatrician and noticed ads for cranialtech, “reshaping children’s life”. Once again, I had it all wrong.

It is just an efficient solution to reshape your baby’s head. I guess that originally, that thing had been designed for kids suffering plagiocephaly (I am copy-pasting the website but you’ll have to admit that the word “plagiocephaly” is really chic). But the market of moms wanting to produce a Gattaca offspring being juicy, why limit yourself?

OBGYN performing C-section in my worst nightmare

Searching for Sugar OB


I am pregnant. Third (and last). That baby will be an American citizen, which is pretty cool. On the other hand, I am not thrilled to spend the price of a Cadillac on my third C-section.
So in the US, you have to choose your OBGYN from the beginning, whereas in Europe (or at least in France), it is very uncommon to know who will deliver your baby.
Obviously, I start double-checking all the OBGYN’s diplomas like a maniac. And after a careful selection, I end up choosing an OB who wears braces. I tend to find it disgusting. I bravely decide that this might however not be of essence when she will cut my belly.
OB and his assistant (foreground). Patient taken away by other assistants (background)

My first date (with my OB)


Before my first appointment with my OBGYN, I have to answer thirty pages of paperwork. My favourite questions are cascading-questions-designed-to-make-you-trust-in-your-OB.  Do you have a durable power of attorney? Do you have a do not resuscitate document? Do you have an advanced directive or living will?
Then, finally, I meet her. I have to admit I am a bit intimidated (I even wear my pretty heels for reassurance).
At first she is into the classic “how wonderful you are pregnant” (she is very good at this, except for a relatively monotone voice. She has probably been saying those exact words 3 times a day for about 30 years, I understand).
I am about to get examined, with that ridiculous sheet to cover my naked body (she should not see, but she will touch, that’s even the whole point, so as a true French I don’t really understand what’s the big deal).
And all of a sudden, in the United States of America, land of politically correct and “it’s soooo amazzzzing to see youuuu””, she says “and now, let’s see from behind”. And bam. RECTAL EXAMINATION. I swear. I am in shock, I don’t know why this should be necessary, but what I first think about is my law degree: what she just did is just EXACTLY the French legal definition of a rape (penetration perpetrated in this case by surprise).
Should I sue her to cover for the delivery, or am I becoming too American?
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Shhht, baby might be pooping

Moving and pooping (chapter 2)


So dozens of visits to the pediatrician. And dozens of prescriptions for “lax” medicine (lax as in “laxatives”, guys). Forlax, microlax, then by their american cousin, miralax.

And everything we tried just failed.

1/ we tried pretending not to care when she didn’t go to the bathroom for days even though she was on laxative treatment (with adult dosage). We screwed up that one because everything in us kept screaming “NAYLA YOU GO POOP NOOOW”. We also screwed it up because every time she said “poop” we were jumping and dancing of excitement, which she ended up noticing and taking advantage of.

2/ we tried removing the diapers, and washing kilometers of poop she would end up doing once every three days – and which we had to hand-wash in the sink.

3/ disgusted, we put the diapers back on, and were able to notice that yes, she was only pooping once every three days (with scary screams)

4/ we talked to people who had faced that kind of experience. And then we always ended up the conversation abruptly because it was way too scary: in all cases, it had lasted for several years, and it had been a total nightmare. And in most cases, the parents had no idea why it suddenly stopped.

5/ we tried asking (more like begging) for advice from our parents. My mom, in a “poop or die” typical mode (“you leave her on the potty there until she does it, even if it has to last for three days”). My husband’s mom, in a no less typical slightly-disgusting-attempt-to-empathize (“you know my love, I do poop too”)

6/ back to square one, we had her eat spoons and bottles of laxatives, day after day after day after day

7/ we tried pretending it was a health issue and not a psychological one (this was the husband, I was strongly against it). So after looking it up and exchanging digesting texts with a friend who is a paediatrician, he figured Nayla had an anal fissure and bought a cream for that purpose. This was too disgusting and when he finally admitted it I trashed the cream tube.

8/ psychology, lesson 1: poop nazism (YOU POOP NOW OR YOU GO TO YOUR ROOM)

9/ psychology, lesson 2: (following long hour of reading psychology books for kids): just hug her and tell her we love her. Nice try, but not enough.

10/ and of course, my own personal favorite: the attempted trade “one chocolate against one duty”. And Nayla, at three o’clock in the morning when her exhausted body had finally pooped against her will, opened an eye and said “and now, chocolate”

So that’s it. I belong to this sorority of poop moms. My name is X, and my daughter Nayla has been constipated for seven months.