Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Giving Birth in Spain-Appointments

Ever since we began telling people that Renae's little brother was on his way, people were curious to know if we'll be having the baby here in Spain.

The answer is yes.

Which means we're learning a whole new set of formalities when it comes to birthing a baby in a foreign country. Although we live in a civilized western nation, that doesn't mean we necessarily know what to expect. Many things are similar, and many things are vastly different. Over the next 4 months I'll try and fill you in on what it's like to give birth in Spain. Just in case you ever want to give it a try.

Future thumb sucker?

My OB appointments usually work something like this:
  • Arrive at doctor's office via public transportation.
  • Check into front desk where they ask to see my insurance card. (Sound familiar?)

Side profile.
  • Tell them (again) that we're "privado" which means although we are using their insurance company's clinic and hospital, our insurance is different.
  • They then ask for my 1st last name. I tell them I only have one last name. (Spaniards have two last names-their mother's first last name, and their father's first last name. Whew!)They print necessary forms and receipts, I pay the big bucks (I mean euros).

Another side profile and hand.
  • I head to a waiting room where I wait with other expectant moms, and middle to late age woman who for some reason forced their husbands to come along to their yearly gyno appointment.
  • After a 5-10 minute wait, a nurse comes out and says "You-lee Mah-sohn?"

Not the clearest but there is an arrow point to IT.

  • The nurse takes me to a room that is divided in half by a curtain. On one side is the doctor sitting behind a desk. I shake her hand (no kisses on the cheeks-this is too business formal).
  • The nurse has me hop on a scale much like the kind in the US. However my weight is measured in kilos. (It sure is nice to see such a low number on the scale!)
  • The nurse will then take me behind the curtain where an "ecografia" machine is located. She tells me what to do to get ready for the ultrasound and I wait for the doctor to come to the other side of the curtain. By the way, this is not just a 20 week appointment kind of thing. Each time I go, the doctor does an ultrasound. It's great.
  • The doctor looks at the baby, does her measurements and I try and catch the vocabulary she is using to describe what's going on with our baby boy. (Yes, "niño" means boy. Whew!)

Much clearer when zoomed in eh?

  • After a quick ultrasound, she heads back to her side of the office while I look around the find kleenex to wipe the goop off from the ultrasound. In the states the nurses make you feel so pampered as they do all of this stuff for you. Not so here.
  • On the other side of the curtain, I take my seat again on one side of the desk. The doctor has her computer and my files with her as she asks if I have any questions or concerns to talk about. If I've had blood drawn from the clinic below recently, she'll ask to see the results of that. Almost every time I have a test done, the nurse or technician will give ME the file to either take home for my own use (???) or to give to the doctor (who will sometimes just give the file back to me. (Again . . .???) It's kind of weird to be in charge of keeping track of all these important files on my baby!

I start to breathe a little easier as I can now put my brain on auto pilot for about 1 minute before I get to the check-in desk and am forced to speak in Spanish again regarding my lack of a 2nd last name, how to spell my name, when my next appointment will be, and that I'm still "privado."

Whew. Now that I've got a few appointments under my waistband, I feel better about knowing What to Expect When I'm Expecting a Spanish Doctor's Appointment (1st edition coming soon).
The next thing to master . . . figuring how this whole labor ordeal works in a highly medicalized nation.


Jenny said...

Julie, the pictures of your little boy are precious! I'm jealous that you get an ultra sound EVERY time. I must say, that you are so brave to give birth in another country....I definitely need to scream in English when I'm giving birth. :) I'm looking forward to hearing about the rest of the process of having a baby in Spain.

Jonathan et Kari said...

Thanks, Julie! I know lots of expat moms have questions about giving birth overseas, so these posts will be very appreciated.

As for me, I like the bambino pictures!

kpjordan said...

Hmmm..."figuring how this whole labor ordeal works in a highly medicalized nation"? I've never given birth abroad, but I would imagine it is still very painful no matter where one gives birth. Silly girl.
Just remember to get a copy of all your family's medical records from Spain to bring back with you...It will save you lots of hassle in the future.
Like Kari and the baby pics.

Mark and Kendra said...

Congratulations on your new son! That's wonderful!! (Nice to meet you, BTW...I've been meaning to comment on your blog for ages!). :)

You experience sounds pretty similiar to mine here in France (right down to the "privée part of it). I think I had a total of 7 ultrasounds (more goup every time as my belly grew, and harder and harder to wipe off)! I had to keep my records as well, except after I gave birth, the hospital required that the records stay there. I agree, it's strange!

I don't speak much French, so my husband came with me to the large majority of appointments. It was such an adventure, giving birth in a foreign country. Since it was my first baby, it will probably feel just as strange doing it all a second time in the USA. :)

Wendi Reger said...

The boy looks like his sister!

Kari said...

Wow..that sounds like a different process! I hope it all goes glad you are getting your little boy! I look forward to hearing more!

The Beasley's said...

What a cute little bug! That sounds a lot like my appointments here. Except they just bill the office here and I don't have to keep up with the paperwork (whew!). I'm so glad baby is growing well!

Scott & Julie said...

The boy looks like his sister...except for the whole boy part. ;-)

Thanks for bloging about the little fellow.

Nate and Natalie said...

That's so interesting on how different it is. However that really is exciting that you get so many ultrasounds. Best of luck with the rest of your pregnancy.