Random Thoughts at 35 weeks

33 days to go!  I have a whole slew of random things to share, so this is kind of a long post.  But if you’re curious about how the Finnish maternity system might operate as opposed to the US system, continue reading.

First up – I haven’t shared with you my pregnancy card.  It’s very interesting!  You’re given this multi-fold card at the maternity clinic on your first visit, and you bring it with you each visit.  The midwife (and doctor) record all your information, vitals taken at each visit, test results, etc, on the card.  It’s neat to be able to pull it out and see how I’ve progressed each visit, and of course, it seems awfully handy to have in case of an emergency.  We’ll of course take it to the hospital with us – again, handy.  I’m sure everything is in a computer somewhere, but it’s nice to have the info at home.

Finnish Maternity Card - front

The maternity card

Finnish Maternity Card

Several folds create a booklet

Finnish Maternity Card - unfolded

Here it is folded open – I blurred it some, because I don’t know what’s delicate information and what’s not. The first panel has your name, and contact info for the clinic and hospital. Second panel has blood type, test results, sonogram results. Third and fourth panel include blood pressure, hemoglobin, weight, etc.

Finnish Maternity Card - details

A non-blurred view – first column is fundal measurement, and further across is baby’s heartbeat and activity level.

Finnish Maternity Card - growth chart

The graph of baby’s growth, or fundal measurement to week. Currently on the “high normal” line, TYVM

On to the random…

We finally got the car seat and stroller!  Unfortunately, we have not gotten the car seat base – you know, the part that keeps the car seat *in* the car?  Our car, based on the year, should have come with these Isofix brackets, which apparently keeps the seat in the car minus the seat belt.  So we bought the base, went out to the car…and we don’t have the brackets.  Went right back into the store and returned it, tried to get the other kind of base, the kind that is held in place by a seat belt – this base is on back order.  So, yeah, issues.  Apparently the Isofix was optional, as opposed to standard, in cars from 2002-2005.  We’re now looking into getting the brackets installed in the car.  Fingers crossed we get it done before, you know, we need it.

We had a quick informal prenatal class with the midwife yesterday, since they only do prenatal classes in Finnish.  She also talked some about what to expect in the hospital – again, we couldn’t do a hospital tour, I think because they only do them in Finnish, since I’ve heard of others doing it.  I feel about as ready as I can be, although I still want to study up on delivering a baby by myself in an emergency – or on the side of the road.  I’m still more freaked out about actually caring for an infant than giving birth to one, although I can feel the nerves starting.

Speaking of giving birth on the side of the road….  We did a dry run to the hospital yesterday, to make sure we know where we’re going.  It took 45 minutes at noon, following the speed limit.  It might only take 30 minutes if there’s no traffic and we trust we can get out of any speeding tickets we get on the way.  I’ve heard you can get out of the fines if you’re in labor.  Let’s hope it’s true.  Of course, if Stephen is at work when I go into labor, that will add an additional 20-25 minutes to the commute.

Additionally, apparently the taxi service here in town is well versed in pregnant women going to the hospital.  They have a minivan-type vehicle to take you there, and put you first in line for pickup.  Wonder if *they* know how to deliver babies on the side of the road?  Actually, it seems the way to go – at least then you don’t have to worry about cleaning up amniotic (and other) fluids out of your own car!  😉

I remain healthy, everything is going well with the pregnancy. My weight gain has gone down since my last appointment, so that’s good.  Haven’t *lost* weight, just haven’t gained as much week over week.  Probably because my appetite has been nonexistent over the last few weeks.  I’m hungry in the morning, and I have my standard apple and piece of toast with peanut butter.  Then through the day I snack on some prunes and dates (prunes for obvious reasons, dates because of this study).  And getting through those are tough, because I’m really not hungry.  And lunch?  I force myself to eat a little something because I know I need to, but I don’t enjoy it.  Dinner is a bit better – probably because I didn’t have much of a lunch…

I was on the fence about buying a nursing pillow, and deciding which one to buy if I got one.  Like with everything else, everyone has their favorites.  Unfortunately, it’s not like we can run out to Target real quick and get one (or a different brand) if we decide we want it – we actually have to plan in advance.  A couple of weeks ago we went to a baby store in The Big City and I was looking at the Boppy again.  It was 69 euros (compared to about $30 in the US) and I just couldn’t justify it.  The saleswoman pointed me to the other brand they carried, the Doomoo, and they had both a Boppy sized pillow and a slightly larger one that could be used as a nursing pillow and a sleeping pillow for me, now.  It’s the same shape as a Boppy, just longer, and filled with micro-beads, so it’s a little more malleable.   Stephen made the executive decision that I would get the larger pillow.  That afternoon, when I laid down and curled up with it on the bed to rest, I wondered why the hell I had resisted getting a sleeping pillow for so long.  I was in L-O-V-E.

I found some things out during the prenatal class that I thought I’d share, for those in the US who find it interesting:

  • We will likely have three midwives in the room for delivery, but we won’t see a doctor unless I get an epidural or there are complications.
  • All midwives in Finland are women – there are no male midwives.  I don’t know if that’s a law, or if men are simply not interested in becoming midwives.
  • We have it in our birth plan that we don’t want forceps used – Stephen has a deviated septum from forceps being used on him.  Our midwife said they very rarely use forceps here – there are about 3 uses per year, she said.  3!
  • The cost for a natural birth is 2250€.  This includes everything, including epidurals, and this is the price for paying out of pocket, sans insurance.  It’s actually gone up quite a bit in the last year – she said last year it was about 1400€!  A c-section costs 5840€.
  • Assuming everything goes okay, and I don’t have any complications, I will likely stay in the hospital 3-4 days, at a cost of 39€ a day.

Regarding doctors and midwives….  So the town has a maternity clinic that all pregnant women use.  There’s only the one in town, as far as I know, and luckily it’s about a five minute walk from our apartment.  As far as I can tell, there are two prenatal midwives, but there are also several other women in the office – I’m not sure of their function, but it seems some of them may only be there to do things like take blood and check your blood pressure – the stuff a nurse would do in the US.  There are also a couple of doctors – I’ve seen two – who apparently are only there to perform sonograms (not some lowly tech!) and gynecological exams.  So over the course of my pregnancy so far, I’ve seen the doctor three times – each time for a sonogram.  And I will be seeing one next week for a pelvic.  Other than that, I only see the midwife.  Now, I’m not sure how “midwife” here equates to “midwife” in the US, so when I use the term “midwife” it may not be what you’re thinking of.  As far as I can tell (with my very minimal knowledge of the UK system), midwives here are similar to midwives in the UK.  You don’t have an OBGYN, you have a midwife.

Oh, and because this is Finland, there is no waiting in the doctor’s office for an hour.  Your appointment is at 9:30, you will see the midwife at 9:30.  Finns are *very* punctual.  😀

Well, that’s about it for now, although it’s certainly plenty.  Happy Tuesday!


Categories: Here Comes Baby | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Random Thoughts at 35 weeks

  1. anonymous

    There are male midwives in Finland, not many though, around 30 and most of them are not practising. I think that men just are not interested. In Finland men in the health services, if they are not doctors, they are mental nurses or paramedics. But maybe times are changing.

    And about those maternity clinic ladies, most likely they are not midwives but public health nurses.Back in the day there where midwives in the maternity clinics but nowadays midwives usually are working in the hospitals only.

    • Oh, good, I was hoping someone would be able to clear up the “midwife” issue. I’m never sure what to call the lady I see at the maternity clinic. “Public Health Nurse” is what I think in my head, but it’s so long when I’m talking to people. The term “nurse” doesn’t really cut it in my US-skewed brain – I feel that’s not quite right. Not that I mean to diminish the term “nurse,” but I feel like she’s more than that. When talking to friends back in the US, I just default to the term “midwife” because it seems more in line with what I think of as the US version of a midwife. In the US I believe you see a nurse and a doctor at each maternity visit, though I could be completely wrong, so the Public Health Nurse is more of a hybrid in my mind.

      (My Public Health Nurse was the one who told me there were no male midwives here – maybe she just meant none practicing? Or none in this area, maybe.)

  2. Delfiina

    “The cost for a natural birth is 2250€. This includes everything, including epidurals, and this is the price for paying out of pocket, sans insurance.”

    Wow, that’s very expensive! Are those costs for people who are in the KELA system or out of? I’m 3 months away from giving birth and it will be at a city hospital and I’m in the Finnish system — will I have to be paying that? I was under the impression costs were more like 200-300 euros for a natural birth.

    • It’s not expensive when you come from the US! I think in the US, the 2250 euros amount would be about what people *with* insurance will pay out of pocket! Comparison: a c-section in Finland, outside of KELA, is 5840 eruos. In the US, a friend of mine with insurance paid over $40,000 for a c-section – of course, most of that is covered by the insurance company.

      Yes, you will likely only pay a few hundred euros if you are in the KELA system. The cost I mentioned is *outside* of the KELA system. Although we live here, we have American insurance, and are ineligible for KELA, so we will have to pay the entire cost out of pocket. But then we turn around and get reimbursement from our insurance company. 🙂

  3. Hello there 🙂 There is a chance that I might be delivering in Helsinki. I’m also American, but my husband is Finnish. I do not have a KELA card 😦 would you be able to recommend a hospital for delivering? Or would you mind sharing where you delivered? I am due in late March/early April, so I need to start planning…..Thanks! 🙂

    • I delivered in Pori, so I’m not much use with hospitals in Helsinki. However, I can recommend a woman (I think she’s a doula) who gives online birthing classes. She’s Finnish, but she lived in the US for a while, and has had kids in both countries. For us, it was nice having someone who understood about the US system and could better explain things to us from that perspective. She may also do things in person if she’s closer to where you live. Her name is Marjaana Siivola, and you can find her at doules.fi. Best of luck to you! I am actually rather glad to have given birth here in Finland instead of the US, truth be told. 🙂

      • Oh wow, thank you so much! We are currently living in Russia but I am kinda freaked out about having a baby here, but my husband is Finnish so we thought we might try that if I don’t find a hospital here that I think is up to par. I know that for me delivering in Finland would be cheaper I think than in the U.S., just wish I’d have my family with me. Anyway, thank you for the name for us to look up. Will definitely consider her if delivering in Moscow doesnt work out 🙂

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