It’s been at least two months since I last wrote- made obvious by the fact that I’m typing this while sitting next to our two month old daughter, Anne. She was born here in Geneva and I cannot more highly recommend Swiss hospitals. I generally don’t like publicized birth stories so I will save you the details but the experience was fantastic. I mean, despite the physical discomfort and the complications that arose, this was the best hospital/medical experience I have ever had. If you get a chance to give birth here in Switzerland, do it.
For instance, when we came to the hospital to check in, they handed us a card with our room number, our direct telephone line and the Wifi code*. Then they showed us our room. Words cannot do it justice so here’s a picture:
Yes, those are whitewashed wood floors. Yes, that is a terrace. And yes, there are ashtrays out there. I guess it would be too much to ask people not to smoke at a hospital.
As we were waiting for our nurse, I flipped through the information booklet they put on the bedside table. I found information about the spa (not in the hospital but affiliated and willing to come to the hospital) and a wine list. In the hospital information booklet right next to visiting hours and nursery schedule. Because the wine list and spa menu are as important as your medical needs.
Prior to the delivery, I was nervous about the language gap. Mostly I worried that I would answer a question incorrectly and wind up with an amputated leg. I should not have been worried. Yes, my OR was full of French speaking people. But, rather than being scared by the different language and the diverse group of people in the OR, I was struck by what a neat introduction to the world our baby was going to have. She was born in a very international city in an operating room that absolutely reflected that. I had several nurses and doctors who could explain it all in English and I was able to use my French. In fact, when I woke up in the recovery room, I asked for a glass of water in French. Apparently my French was not as good as I thought because I did not get a glass of water. Instead I was immediately taken to the ICU. But I said it. I know I did.
The rest of my stay went smoothly. The entire experience was beautiful and not just in a sentimental “a new life has begun” way. It was physically beautiful all around us. Annie was always wrapped up warmly in beautiful Swiss baby clothes and her little clear bassinet included a personal baby-size duvet with WHITE cover. They fed us baskets of pastries for breakfast with real butter and jam. They came by every afternoon at four with a cart of yogurts in sweet little glass jars and fresh fruit on platters. I miss my four-o-clock snack times. No one brings such a cart to my house. My dinners were plated and served with a cloche cover that they would remove before I ate. You know- the things from Beauty and the Beast. Like this:
The attention I received was incredible as well. My doctor came by to visit every day (including Saturday and Sunday) and my anesthesiologist came by every day as well. I have had a few surgeries in my life but I could not tell you the name of any of my anesthesiologists. This one I remember well and not just because he gave me an epidural. They sat down and talked with us for ten minutes each time, about our family or how I was feeling or what they were concerned about. At one point, we figured out we had mutual friends. It was almost weird. I wanted to say, are you sure you don’t have somewhere to be? Are you sure you want to be here?
I’ve gone back to the hospital a few times (more on that later) and gaze wistfully at room 17 and it’s terrace. My house is not and will not ever be as clean or quiet. I miss the hospital. Can you tell? Who misses the hospital?
*Have you read about how many Americans pronounce Wifi “wiffy”? I love that.