Birthing Abroad

20 Nov

As Anna sleeps, snuggled up on my chest, I thought I would document my birthing experience here in Switzerland.  Maybe you’re not interested in this, and sorry if it bores you, I just want to write about it so that I don’t forget the details.

First I’ll start off with my monthly, turned to weekly, appointments.  My Doctor, Dr. S, here is Switzerland is truly an amazing doctor and really loves what he does.  I found him through a friend here, and he’s actually from Salt Lake City, Utah, but has lived here in Switzerland for 30 years.  He is such a personable doctor, which during pregnancy really makes a difference.  I went into this pregnancy being high risk (due to preeclampsia with HELLP syndrome with Henry and preeclampsia with Thomas), and he specializes in high risk, and is very knowledgable.

Waiting room time:

Being a doctor here in Switzerland associated with a private hospital, he takes less patients but gets paid more (due to private insurance and so forth).  With this being said, he only booked time slots for quality time with patients.  For example, with my appointments, he allotted 45 minutes to an hour for our appointments.  I only had to wait 1 time and it was only for 15 minutes.  It’s so nice knowing this, especially with having a babysitter at home with the boys and predicting times.  This was much different from both of my practices back in the US.  Both practices I could expect to wait 20-30 minutes most of the time.


I’m not saying Dr. S is any smarter that the doctors in the US.  The key point to this topic is that at each appointment I had an ultrasound and Dr. S performed them himself.  I believe with him doing this, he was able to understand my pregnancy better than from just reading results posted on a piece of paper.  Along with this, he did all my weigh ins, blood pressures and blood work himself as well.  He doesn’t have a nurse working with him, just his wife who is the receptionist.  I just felt like this made the experience very personal.

Calm , Cool and Collective:

Towards the end of my pregnancy, we started to have some issues.  I wasn’t gaining weight, my platelets were getting low, my iron levels were dropping and the baby was hitting a plateau on the growth curve.  Dr. S was so calm with everything, not that he was ignoring these items, but he didn’t get in a frenzy about it.  We discussed the issues and he always asked me if he was forgetting anything that maybe the US doctors would have done or had done with my pregnancies.  He was always reassuring when he was doing the ultrasound, which always told us that the baby was doing great.  Even with labor, we were talking about music all throughout my labor and it really took my mind off the pain.

I have to admit that going into labor in a foreign country was a bit scary for me.  I mean I know all the protocols in the US but wasn’t sure if it was different here.  I mean the c-section rate here is fairly high because of a number of factors; women want to plan, doctors live too far away, etc.  Dr. S lives 2 blocks away from the hospital so that wasn’t a factor for us.

Well my date of delivery couldn’t have been better.  We arrived at the hospital at 8 am and filled out all the necessary paperwork (it was a lot!).  They then called the concierge to show us to our room.  After I was examined, we were then told we could go downstairs to the cafe to enjoy some coffee before our next check at 11 am. (Sorry if I’m repeating parts of my other post)  We were able to walk around the gardens for awhile and just relax in the nice weather.  Once upstairs in my room, the concierge came in and offered Henry and I lunch options.  I had to eat lightly since I was being induced in just 2 hours, but Henry could have whatever he’d like.  I was given a beef broth soup, veal and mashed potatoes and an apple tart for dessert.  Henry on the other hand had Filet, potatoes and green beans with a chocolate mouse cake for dessert.  It was amazing to say the least.  We then relaxed until it was time for the delivery room.

In the delivery room we were also served.  Henry was offered (many) double espressos (with a chocolate on the side of course; because delivering a baby is rough for the dads) and I was offered both still and sparkling water since I didn’t have an epidural. We had music playing overhead in the delivery room and it was such a great environment.

The delivery itself was remarkable.  Having a midwife with me the entire time was so nice.  She was so knowledgable on what to do, positions to lay in the help the baby drop, breathing and so on.  She really helped me towards the end with my breathing once the pain increased.  Dr. S was also so great (although he almost missed the delivery since I dilated from 5 to 10 cm in just 15 minutes and the baby was born 3 minutes later).  He did a little anatomy lesson with me following the delivery of the placenta and described how it works, again he just loves what he does.

Once I returned to my room (around 7 pm), I was served dinner (chicken with pasta and a veggie and they don’t forget dessert…ever!)  The first night they checked on me a few times, but the rest of the week they would take my vitals at 6 pm and then leave me alone until 6 am, unless I rang for them.  That was REALLY nice…not to be woken up all night long by the staff.

Each morning the baby was to be bathed by the mom or dad in the nursery, and it had to be done by 10 am.  In the nursery they have a full closet of clothes for the baby to wear while they are in the hospital…and really nice ones at that!  My routine was to take Anna to the nursery while I showered and then I went to bathe her or vice versa.  The nursery was so cute with little hammock swings for the babies if needed and the staff again were great.  I’d say 90% of the staff spoke at least some English, otherwise I communicated with the French I have.

Also each day you pick your meals for the following day, with many choices, and yes I was spoiled.  I was eating Filet, Veal, Shrimp, Salmon Tartare, Lobster and the list goes on.  It was pretty incredible.  Also each day around 3:30pm they come around with coffee and tea and cakes or brownies of some sort.  You have unlimited supply of sparkling and still water, all you had to do was hit the concierge button.

Comfort at Clinique Cecil was also something very different from the US.  In my room, I had a nice comfy bed with big feather pillows, regular pillows and they supplied a nursing pillow that can also be used as a body pillow.  Along with this, my bed had a nice cozy down comforter that made sleepy much warmer and comfortable.

As you can see in the photos below, they also put a special and very small down comforter on the baby in their bassinet.  At first it looked like a pillow to me, however once I had the baby I realized what it was.  It kept Anna nice and warm throughout the hospital stay.

At last; my recovery.  This is by far the quickest I have recovered from all my births.  My doctor even ok’d me to start running again, however I’m going to wait just another week or 2 so that I don’t injure myself.  Five days after having Anna (and it would have been sooner if I weren’t in the hospital), I was back at my daily routine of taking the boys to school along with all their other activities.

I stayed in the hospital 4 nights and could have stayed one more night, but I missed my hubby and my boys.  This long stay in typical here because they really want you to have time to bond with your baby before you get back to your daily routine.

As a joke, Henry and I call it Hotel Cecil instead of Clinique Cecil.  It was truly the best birthing experience I’ve had and I’ve birthed at 2 amazing and well know hospitals.

Anyway, that pretty much sums up my experience.  Here are a few photos:


My room with a view


My little breakfast nook where daddy did some work each morning


My lunch one day; Soup to start, Shrimp and lobster skewer atop bok choy with a side of purple rice and creme brulee for dessert


And of course a photo of Anna sleeping the other day…so peaceful


One Response to “Birthing Abroad”

  1. Jen November 20, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

    It looks and sounds amazing!!! : ) That is so awesome you had the experience to deliver there. Thanks for sharing your story, I loved reading it!!

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