Thursday, June 23, 2011

When the effects of medical liability smack you in the face

Now that I've had a pregnancy in the US and in Europe and am pregnant again, it's easy to compare things.

The most glaring difference is the effects medical liability and lawsuits have had on the American system.

For example, within 48 hours of giving birth (via c-section) to Bettina, I was allowed to walk out of the hospital, get in the car with my husband driving, and go to see Bettina in the NICU in a children's hospital located about 35 minutes away. The nurses only said, "Have fun! Let us know when you are back." And when I finally left the hospital? I only signed two insurance forms.

Yea. Definitely would not happen here.

Here, you have to sign a stack of papers to leave the hospital and be discharged. You are wheeled out of the hospital. They check the carseat before you drive away.

The differences really are astonishing. And sad, when you think about why they are there.

Another difference I've recently noticed is the notorious glucose test. For those that haven't had to take this lovely test yet, you go to the lab or doctor's office and drink an extremely sugary drink- similar to orange fanta but sweeter. Then you sit for an hour and, after the hour is over, you get your blood drawn.

I didn't have to take it in Switzerland. It's mandatory in the US. When I asked the nurse at my doctor's office if I could waive it, seeing how I haven't had any problems in that department, she told me absolutely not and that my doctor's practice has kicked out patients for not complying with tests. Oh, and it shouldn't be a problem, insurance covers it.

Ooooo - kay.

I don't plan on making a stink about it but it just doesn't seem right to waste time and energy to take a test that I'm only taking because it's mandatory for everyone.

Orange drink, here I come.

Monday, June 13, 2011

When I say busy, I mean busy!

I mentioned we've been busy in my last post and I meant it! Since my last post we've continued to settle in. Marion still asks for friends in Switzerland and I can't blame her- we miss it too! I've upped my hours at work and Brian's work has been absolutely insane.

But the thing keeping us really busy has been the little one growing in my belly.

Yep, Brian and I decided to take on a third kid! This officially makes us insane I think but I'm looking forward to a full house in October. And October can't come soon enough. I'm literally counting down the days at this point. It's so funny the progression pregnancies take. Marion's pregnancy was a time where everything was new and wonderful and extremely difficult. Everything was a challenge but it also had a newness to it. Bettina's pregnancy was different because we were in Switzerland, navigating a new health system and working with doctors and nurses who sometimes didn't speak English. And of course, she had her fair shair of complications too.

This pregnancy... well it's just a means to an end at this point. I puke every morning like I did with the first two which I've gotten used to, sadly. The other day a friend of mine pointed out to me that I've spent almost 2 years of my life puking at this point and it gave me shudders of realization that I hate being pregnant! Pregnancy and I just don't get along. But good news so far- no complications! That has definitely been a breath of fresh air.

So I'm due in October with Baby #3. And this time around we decided to find out but wanted to do something fun. Enter a gender cake.

So this is a fun little thing we had read about awhile back. Basically, when you go to your ultrasound, you have the tech write down the sex of the baby in an envelope. Then, you take the envelope to a bakery and they make a cake that is either blue or pink inside (cake or icing, whichever) depending on the sex of the baby. Finally, you pick up the cake and take it home to find out what you are having!

In my case, the bakery has used the extra icing to ice cakes they were putting out in their case to sell. So when I picked up our cake there was a stack of cakes behind the counter iced in the color. Not exactly how I wanted to find out but oh well, what are you going to do? Luckily I was alone so everyone else was surprised.

Just to recap- Brian and Marion were convinced the baby was a girl and wanted a girl. I was convinced it was a boy, based on the fact that I hadn't been puking nearly as much as I did with the girls.

So we set up a pretty impressive laptop/Skype situation to get Brian's family, located in Oregon and New Jersey, involved in finding out,

cut into the cake,

and found out we are having a little girl!

What a surprise! This was a great way to find out and we couldn't be happier to have a third little girl!

So yes, very busy over here. Hope everyone in blog world has been doing well!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Three years ago today...

Three years ago today Brian, Marion, and I started our adventure. We hopped on a flight in Philadelphia bound for Zurich, not knowing what the heck was going to happen.

We had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed our experience as expats while abroad.

To tell you the truth, it's been hard blogging since we came back. I just miss it so much. I miss my friends and I miss the lake and I miss the ease of everything.

That's not to say we didn't make the right decision. I know, deep down, we did the right thing coming back when we did.

But damn, it's still hard. Just thinking about where we were three years ago, what we did in the last three years, and the people we met and miss dearly... well my eyes get misty immediately.

We've been back nine months now and a ton has happened. I've missed blogging though and while our lives are much different now (do we still count as interesting?), I want to blog about it anyway. So watch out :)

PS- Thanks to those who have emailed and posted comments. I changed emails so didn't notice the comments during my hiatus. So sorry!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween, a queen, a princess, and a table.

A table!?

More on that later.

First, let's do the Halloween stuff. It's our first Halloween in the US that really counts for Marion and boy, was it fun.

I started off the evening by making them pose for pictures.

Everytime I take pictures of them in front of our house I'm struck with the realization that I hope to be taking pictures of them before first days of school, graduations, and proms in this very spot. Kind of weird after several years of a transient existence overseas.

Marion was the queen of hearts and loved yelling, "Off with their heads!" at random times during the day.

Bettina was a princess. Somehow that morphed into a "pirate princess" according to Marion.

Our first stop was our next door neighbor's, home to a young lady named Hannah who Marion is in love with.

Our next stop was to Marion's friends house a few streets over. They said hello and then started running around. Marion had to tell him to slow down because she was wearing heels.

After that stop, we finished off at my parents neighborhood. Marion was thrilled with her candy and asks me non-stop if she can have some. Brian and I are working on depleting her stash; we love Halloween!

Oh, yes, the table part of my post title. Have you heard of the Knock-Off Wood blog yet? I found it this summer and my list of things I wanted to tackle grew and grew. Brian was a little skeptical but I assured him that we could definitely do this! And so, we decided to tackle our first project, the farmhouse table with stretcher,last weekend.

We started collecting everything we thought we'd need. Tools from my dad, tools we had stored away, glue, wood, and screws from Home Depot. But you know how that goes... with every project, no matter how many lists you have, you never get everything.

Of course, we thought we did. But then the saw needed a new blade, we didn't have the right sized square, we needed clamps... I think we've made at least 7 trips to the big orange store in the past week.

Not that I'm complaining. Every first go at a project has some hiccups. And these hiccups were worth is because lookit! We almost have a table!

We are so close I can taste it. But we are going to take the night off and see how the elections turned out. Don't worry though- you'll get a whole post when we finish this table. And more posts when we try to tackle Ana's other projects. I am obsessed with her blog!

So, how's that for an excuse for ignoring the blog? Definitely a new one for me :)

Hope you all enjoyed your Halloween! Happy election/candy eating/resting night!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

And now the decorating begins.

One of the many things different about our lives in Switzerland was our home. Instead of owning our own home, we rented a smaller flat. And we had to answer to our landlords. So Brian and I shied away from decorating our flat. We had bare white walls, with the exception of a pair of maps and some of Marion's artwork- hung with poster gum of course.

It was kind of a depressing way to live. No color on the walls, no pictures. It was very stark and impersonal.

In addition to the white walls, we tried to furnish the flat as cheaply as possible. Everything was Ikea and purchased in Switzerland. We didn't bring any of our furniture, pictures, or artwork from home.

Now, I have nothing against Ikea. They have some great stuff. But it never felt like ours.

As a result, one of the things Brian and I were itching for after our 2.5 years in Switzerland was our own place to settle in to and decorate like we wanted. It's definitely more work having our own place; we have to take care of everything now. But we enjoy it. And now that the unpacking is (close to) over, the fun of decorating begins!

I've been thinking about how to write about our home on here and I think I'll do each room on its own so you can see what we have done and make some suggestions if you choose to do so.

But in the meantime, I want to share my first project: curtains for the playroom! I kind of improvised on these since I'm reintroducing myself to sewing, but I think they turned out pretty well. One project down, about million more projects and blog posts about them to go!

Friday, October 15, 2010

More on the world's longest tunnel...

I liked this newest article, particularly this quote:

"It's a day of joy for Switzerland," Peter Fueglistaler, director of Switzerland's Federal Office of Transport, said shortly before the tunnel was completed. "We are not a very emotional people but if we have the longest tunnel in the world, this also for us is very, very emotional."

Ask Mrs Mac!

Lately I've been getting emails from people who are thinking of or are moving to Switzerland. And I love it! Seriously, after writing this blog to keep my family and friends updated on what we were doing, I started this blog to help others with this experience. Because when you are embarking on moving your family to a complete different part of the world, there are bound to be a ton of questions and issues.

I won't be posting the questions on the blog because most of them are personal, specific questions about certain towns, paperwork, and moving issues. However, if I get one that I think may be helpful to others I might post it on here.

Either way, keep them coming people! And to everyone else who may be a little hesitant, please don't be. I love getting these questions and will do my best to answer them.

Thanks for being faithful readers everyone; have a great weekend!