Saturday, September 3, 2016

Week 13: Searching for a English-speaking Sage Femme in Paris - PART I

I find it a tad strange that when look for information about the French system for anything online, such as how to get a carte sejour, what's it like to go to this french civic courses, i find very little information on forums and blogs. There are some, but most of which are very high level and i get very little info on the actual experience and the stuff i look for.

Looking for a midwife here has been probably the worst experience. Since I came back from my ultrasound, i had been looking on and off online not too seriously for a midwife who speaks english, but i haven't found too much information. In fact, even when i look for French ones, most of them are on vacation for August. I found less like one or two webpages that basically said if i want pregnancy info in Paris, I need to join "Message Paris" where there is apparently "a wealth of information" for English-speaking parents in Paris and boasts of having 4000 members or something. However, the fee to join is 50 EUR annually.

Even when i emailed a person from Yelp who has gave a review for Necker hospital for giving birth, they told me to join message paris.

But when I searched online for reviews of this group to see if it's worth it, I couldn't not find any info on it.

And so after a day of fruitless searching on sage femme in paris to spoke english (I had emailed some sage femme who either did not respond and told me they were not available), I bucked up the 50 EUR and joined the group.

Message Paris 

Once I joined, I was a bit disappointed (as I expected). The entire site is basically a crowd-sourcing site that doesnt actually provide you with well-researched information that's regularly updated. If you look for any information, you are lucky if you can find up to date info contributed by someone who's on the site; if you are looking for meet up groups, the site depends on area leaders who volunteer to set the meeting up. A lot of areas dont even have leaders.

For the most part, I would have expected that sites that rely on crowd-sourcing generally is free, and the maintenance upkeep is held together by advertisement. However, it looks like the 50EUR goes to site maintenance i suppose, and they still do some advertisements for group classes that costs like 200 EUR to join and does not seem to be covered by insurance.

They have this "directory" for medical references, but each sub-forum has only about 10 threads per year, and you can likely only find one or two doctors that are recommended that are still active for their perspective field.

But since I have only used it to find info on sage femme, and the site has members that go from pregnancy to parents with adult children, and therefore perhaps as i keep using it i may find it to be useful in the long run? Hard to say.

I looked up information on prenatal swimming classes and aquagyms and found nothing. I posted on the forum and we'll see if i get any feedback. There doesnt seem to be too many active pregnant ladies on there.

I found basically two sage femme that were recommended who speak English on the site and contacted both of them. In the meanwhile I had also booked an appointment online with a sage femme near the hospital that i wasn't sure if she spoke english.

Guiliana Faure

I had my appointment with her on Thursday, September 1 at 9:15am. She has her own clinic on the ground floor of a beautiful apartment building courtyard down the street from Necker Hospital. When I arrived she greeted me at her door with a huge and polite smile.

She did not realize at the time that I was not looking for a full-time sage femme who would do monthly follow-ups with me, as well as provide me with classes and recommendations for classes (I'm honestly unsure how these classes work  and who runs them at this point - still a work in far as I know, there are many french-speaking group classes offered by hospitals but outside of that im not sure)

We cleared up that i had a sage femme at necker who is responsible for my "medicare" and monthly follow up and that i was looking for the other stuff that the sage femme can provide. For this first session, she asked me a lot of questions about my personal life and my pregnancy, and gave me a prescription for compression socks because i said i travelled a lot for work. She also recommended that i take swimming classes for pregnancy because i cant exercise due to my allergies.

The conversation was entirely conducted in French and she claims that she doesnt speak much english - however, the few words we did use in english was fine and i think she gave herself very little credit for her english.

She provided me a recommendation for a colleague who is english speaking but she said the english speaking sage femme wont be able to see me until i'm at around 6 months, which made me kinda nervous because i'm a bit tired of not having a person to go to when i have questions about my pregnancy. In canada, you would have an ob-gyn you would see whenever you need to!

I really wanted to stick with Guiliana because she was so helpful and so professional and her clinic was really clean and had equipments for medicare (i didnt check but i think she even has an ultrasound machine). But Caleb really wants to be a part of the the classes and i think i would feel better if i can find someone english-speaking as well so we decided we would do some more research before we decide.

Emanuèle Adrai-Saint-Paul

She was recommended by someone in on Message as an English speaking Sage Femme and she's not that far from where i live. I had sent her an email and she called me back the evening of to talk about the details. She has a pretty thick french accent but is fluent in English. The biggest issue that i have with the situation is the fact that although she is conventionee (meaning fully covered by the french government and health insurance), she does not accept carte vitale which means that she has to give me these "feuilles de soins" (care papers?) that i would need to mail to assurance maladie, which is really annoying (these papers could get lost in the mail and posting them is just pain). 

She gives classes in small groups, but she prefers not to have the husband there except for the last class where she teaches about how to take care of the baby. She also combines two classes into one, so they are extra long. 

Caleb would like to be there for all the classes so i'm not sure if this is ideal. I will need to see her next Monday to find out more.

Diana Powell Bodrone

Diana is recommended by a lot of people on Message, and even the connection I found over Yelp. When I texted her, she was just on her back from vacation or something and was in a taxi. I told her that i would like to speak to her on the phone (wed) but she never responded. On Friday, after i came back from the meeting with Guiliana, i called her phone. She was driving but was very nice and easy to talk to. 

Diana is Irish and has been here for 20 years or something and is conventionne and takes carte vitale. She doesnt have her own clinic and lives about an hr away from Paris. For meetings with her patients, she goes to people's houses. She starts at around 6am and ends at around 3pm because she needs to get home to her own three kids. She is registered with Hospital Necker, which is pretty awesome.

Based on our conversation, her strength is the fact that she really understands where a non-french speaking person comes from and is able to empathize and help you with navigating the system. Everyone on the forum says great things about her. I dont know how these courses are going to work though (Group or private in home?) and when i asked her about swimming classes for pregnancy, she told me to check on Message Paris, which kinda sucks because there is zero info on the website.

I am going to meet her next Thursday at noon and she's our first choice right now. Hopefully everything will work out.


Whitney said...

Hi! Thank you so much for posting this. I'm in the same boat just a few months later. Who did you end up going with?

Lynn said...

Hi Whitney! I went with diane! im really slacking on my posts :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Lynn,

Thank you so much for writing about your experience. I'm 10+4 and have just been email introduced to Diane and am planning to meet her after my first appointment at Necker in 3 weeks. I am so reassured by your words on the english speakers at the hospital. I am like Caleb and need everything in English whilst my boyfriend is always my translator! Do you have any stories past your 12 weeks and before your birth experience. I hope you're settling in to life as a new mum! Huge congratulations, Lucy

Lynn said...

Hi Lucy, unfortunately my experience at necker turned out not as English oriented as I thought it would be and I basically conducted 90 percent of my visits there in French and even during the 36 hours of Labour it was also mostly in French and I has to translate everything to my husband. If you want to send me an email using lynnism as the handle for Gmail. Com, we can chat more about this