Monday, May 21, 2012

Jardin des Plantes

So the météo, weather forecast, for the weekend was only semi correct, and it end up being quite beautiful the first half of Sunday. J & I therefore decided to take a little stroll with the Wigglemonster in a garden we don't often go to, the Jardin des Plantes, literally the Garden of Plants. It was about 18 degrees out, and with the sun almost 22 degrees, so there were many strollers out and about!

The Jardin des Plantes is the main botanical garden in France and is situated not too far from the Grande Mosquée de Paris in the 5th arrondissement. It is also home to the Museum of Natural History and the Ménagerie, a little zoo. It is a great place for both adults and kids to appreciate nature and at the same time, learn the science behind it. We were here just for a little walk in the sun, but when Wigglemonster is slightly older we will definitely visit the zoo and museum.

Photos by Me
Metro: Gare d'Austerlitz

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Giving Birth In Paris

In France, everyone is obliged to have a carte de sécurité sociale, the social security card. This card gives almost free medical access to its holder, and a reimbursement of up to 100% of medication. You can also pay for a supplementary insurance card, called the mutuelle. Depending on which plan you pick, even private hospitals may be free.

I chose a semi-private hospital to give birth at called Insitute Mutualiste Montsouris. Frankly, it was a pretty good experience. Well, I can't exactly compare it to any other, since it was my first and only time. But I must admit, looking back, giving birth was not that bad at all! I know I know, everyone tells me that women secrete a hormone after  giving birth to help forget about the pain, but that aside, I wouldn't mind doing it all over again.

Unlike Malaysia, I didn't see my doctor even once the day I gave birth (she did visit me the day after though). Here, midwives handle all normal deliveries, and I had at least 5 (midwives). This is because my labor lasted about 23 hours, and as the midwives changed shifts, the person who took care of me changed too. The only person that I recognized through the 23 hours was the anesthetist! I wanted to give chocolates to the whole team who helped me, but I didn't even remember their names so J just left a box of chocolates at the nursing station.

Also unlike Malaysia and the US, a normal delivery requires the mother to stay in the hospital at least 3 nights. This is to assure that mommy and baby are healthy, that the mother is not in depression and ready for motherhood, etc etc. We learned in 4 days how to give a bath, feed, change, dress, everything baby. 6 weeks after delivery, I was required to do 10 sessions of réeducation de perinée, reeducation of the perineum. It is not obligatory, but HIGHLY recommended by EVERYONE. We must make sure that Monsieur remains happy! No really. That IS one of the reasons why it is highly recommended.

A week or so after the delivery, a puericultrice, a nurse specialized in babies, is sent to your home to check on how the baby is doing. She also checks her bedroom, to make sure that nothing in the baby's cot can strangle her. I kid you not. We also talked about breastfeeding, sleeping times, and baby behavior with the puericultrice. A puericultrice can also come to your house everyday for a week to help you out with the baby if needed.

All this, for free! With a good mutuelle in hand, we didn't have to pay a single cent. Without a social security card however, hospitalization and medication in France remains very very expensive, so when traveling make sure you have a good insurance that cover everything that happens during your trip. A hospital bill is on average €1,500 per day depending on the gravity of the situation, so stay out of trouble while in France!!

Photos by Google Images

Monday, May 14, 2012

Toutankhamon Exhibition

So the Wigglemonster is now 4 1/2 months old, and J and I decided that its about time to bring her to museums and exhibitions so that she develops the appreciation for art and history. Passing by the 15th arrondissement on Saturday, we saw a poster for the current exhibition at Porte de Versailles. Perfect, we thought. Something interesting for us to do, and shiny things for Wigglemonster to look at (she likes things that shine, kinda like her mother).

The exhibition on Toutaknhamon's tomb and treasures was a spectacular one. 5 years were taken by Egyptian artisans to prepare and reproduce 1000 objects belonging to the legendary Pharaoh. The visitor is taken through the exhibit in the eyes of Howard Carter, the man who discovered the tomb. Original pictures taken by Harry Burton are depicted throughout the exhibition. 

Tickets costs €15.90 for adults and €12.90 for children above 5. A little pricey, but the ticket price includes a video guide in different languages including English. For those traveling with a pram, no problem- there is elevator access from the parking and no stairs to climb. The Wigglemonster slept through the whole time we were there, and woke up just in time for out brownie break (pretty good brownies at the stall outside the exhibition hall, €3 each and very very chewy!)

So if you're around in Paris and it happens to be gray and rainy, check this thing out. The story telling guide makes it easy and interesting to understand, and the controlled  entry times makes it comfortable and not too crowded.

Photos by Me
Metro Porte de Versailles, Tram lines T2 and T3
From 12th May to 1st September 2012