When we fell pregnant in September 2016 I was petrified. A) because I didn’t know what to do next in this foreign country and B) I was fluent in French so speaking pregnancy terminology may pose a little problem.
Unlike in the UK where you just book an appointment with your doctor to register the birth, in France that is not quite so. Luckily I have some great French friends who have had children here, and one advised me to call a gynaecologist called Dr Rene whom she had seen throughout her pregnancy and could not recommend enough.
I still could not get my head around not going straight to the doctors, so slightly defying what I’d been told, I went to the doctors. I explained I was pregnant and needed to register it. The receptionist explained that I could not register my pregnancy with them until I had received a declaration of pregnancy. I could only obtain this by seeing a gynaecologist and having the pregnancy confirmed. I quickly handed over the slip of paper with Dr Rene’s details and asked if I could see him. She laughed a little and said I would be very lucky to see him as he is very popular and therefore heavily booked up. In the end they booked me in to see another gynaecologist and have a scan two weeks later. Sadly, my pregnancy ended in a miscarriage before hand.
Losing the baby was tough. It had been a complete surprise baby but we so pleasantly surprised and having got our head around the idea of the unexpected changes that would take place in our family, we were suddenly having to say goodbye.
Again, I knew not what to do. I was advised to go straight to hospital.
Note: If you are going to hospital for the first time, please remember to take your EH11 card or carte vitale with you, as well as proof of identity. The first time you register at a hospital, all of your details will be entered into their system for future reference. I also had to provide my marriage certificate at a later date, so do bear this in mind to take too.
The hospital were fantastic. They saw me quickly and the midwife we saw was thorough, very thorough, but gentle. She did a number of examinations and performed a scan. She confirmed we had miscarried (fausse couche). I was sent for blood tests to measure my hormone levels and had to return every few days until the hormones had returned to normal.
It was a difficult time but made all the more bearable by our amazing French friends who advised us initially and by the hospital staff who were compassionate and made every effort to comfort us at that time.
I had ordered a book in the meantime which had been recommended to me and I would like to share this recommendation as it aided me to huge extents throughout this short process. It’s called French Momma’s “Pregnant in France” and is written by Carrieanne Le Bras. The author is actually American so there were some translations I didn’t even recognise in English (such as Boppy?!?!) However these are few and far between and overall the book is a must have for all English speaking mothers in France.
You can find it on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/French-Mammas-Pregnant-France-Expect-ebook/dp/B0088ETKV0
I decided after this experience that if I were to fall pregnant again, I would document my journey for fellow ex pats who find themselves with a petit pain dans le four (bun in the oven) and who like me, feel completely out of their depth. If that is you, then I do hope that you will find my real life accounts of use to you. And if you notice any mistakes in my translations, please do pop me a comment and I will amend it!
Obviously, we are now pregnant again, and awaiting our first scan which will take place just before I turn 7 weeks. Keeping everything crossed for a positive outcome this time round!
Watch this space…
Vocabulary: English – French
Pregnancy – Grossesse
Pregnant – Enceinte
Pregnancy Test – Test de Grossesse
Folic Acid – Acide Folique
Pregnancy Declaration – Déclaration de grossesse
Ultrasound – Échographie
Miscarriage – Fausse Couche
Gynaecologist – Gynécologue
Doctor – Médecin
Midwife – Sage-femme
Blood test – Test sanguin or Prise de sang (most of my doctors used the latter)
Weeks – Semaines
Months – Mois
Cramps – Crampes
Pain – Douleur
Nausea – Nausée
Vomiting – Vomissement
Sore breasts – Seins douloureux
Bleeding – Saignements