the Pregnancy Diaries (5) by Victoria Jelinek








‘Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired’.  Jules Renard



I went to the specialist in Grenoble this week. The good news is that I do not have uteri (two uterus’), just, simply, a larger womb that’s growing. 

So, with that bit of good news, I’m not facing the high chance of a miscarriage in the second trimester or the elevated odds that my cervix will open and deliver the baby too soon in the third trimester. 

The bleeding that I’ve been experiencing is because I have weak veins in the lining of my womb that are stressed as everything grows. The specialist said that this is nothing to worry about and this will stop within the next few weeks.

He did tell me that, as with every woman who’s pregnant, I should expect to have some nasal congestion due to increased hormones – which surprises me as I feel as though I could get a job as a sniffer dog, my sense of smell is so keen. I first suspected I was pregnant when I walked into a restaurant that was cooking a big batch of pot au feu and thought that I would vomir ungracefully on the floor. 


The specialist also told me that due to my ‘mature’ age, I have a higher chance of thrombosis, high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. These realities, as well as back and knee problems, are compelling reasons to have children while young…or younger, anyway.

Upon return to Chamonix, I went to my regular doctor. After looking at the report from the specialist in Grenoble (très vite), he prescribed tights that are like armour that I must wear throughout my pregnancy. Luckily, they come in black. The ‘neutral’ colour looks like the brown pantyhose my grandmother used to wear that bagged around the ankles. And, while these tights are a hefty pain to get on and off, they do feel really good on the legs…like flight socks, only all the way up over the bottom. They’re almost 80€ per pair! Luckily, once prescribed, the carte vitale picks up the bill. 

I asked my good doctor many questions about the general issues with pregnancy, such as the hormonal smell thing, the high blood pressure and the gestational diabetes potential that the specialist in Grenoble had mentioned. My doctor said to me, ‘A French woman simply accepts what the doctor tells her to do at any given time, then says ‘merci bien,’ and leaves. It does not matter whether the woman is English, American, Scottish, Scandinavian, or South African… if she’s not French, she asks too many questions!’ 

This lack of female query explains a lot - pauvres les petits chou

The good doctor tells me that for us to be on the ‘safe side,’ he will write an ‘arrêt de travail’ for me. I asked him what this is. He said that it means that I can present it to my employer and I’m immediately able to leave work and they must pay me the remainder of my employment contract. ‘Doesn’t seem fair to them’, I said. ‘It’s not as though my work is physically taxing.’ The good doctor replied, ‘But why work when you’ve paid the taxes not to?’ 

This, too, explains a lot about the French. 

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