Too stressed out to think of a clever title for this post.

So, as it turns out, moving to another country in the middle of a pregnancy is stressful.  Who knew?

It’s not even the move itself that’s freaking me out.  Boxes will be packed, loaded on a truck, and driven to our new home.  You know, once we actually find one.

And once we have an address, we can open a Canadian bank account.  And apply for health insurance.

What’s really stressing me out is finding prenatal care.  And figuring out where this kid is going to be born.

I’m fortunate that things have been going so well.  No concerns about me or the baby (other than the mystery crotch pain that still hasn’t gone away).  I’m not considered high-risk, despite my “advanced maternal age.”  But I do have a negative blood type.  Hubby’s is positive.  Which means I need a RhoGAM shot at 28 weeks.  Approximately a week after our arrival in Montreal.

Where do I go for this injection and the rest of my prenatal care?  As I’m learning, there is a shortage of health care providers in Quebec.  My first choice would be to go to a midwife.  Currently, my OBs office has several of them, and any one of them could attend the birth at the hospital across the street, in what they call a “natural birthing center.”  Montreal has three birthing centers, where you can be attended by a midwife, but they fill up quickly.  And from what I can tell, if you go to a hospital, you don’t have the option of a midwife.  Most women who want that option get on the waiting list at all three birthing centers by the time they’re 5 or 6 weeks pregnant.  I’m currently 20 weeks pregnant and just got myself on one waiting list this week.

OBs are also in high demand, and I probably won’t have much luck finding one of those, either.  So my next option is a general practitioner, or family doctor, who is taking new patients.  I spoke to a very nice woman at the birthing center, and she gave me a whole list of numbers to try, but I’m so overwhelmed, I don’t know where to begin.  Hiring a doula is also an option, especially if I don’t end up with the kind of practitioner I want, but I don’t exactly have an extra $1000 lying around to pay for one.

And what about after the baby is born?  Apparently pediatricians aren’t easy to come by, either.

The whole thing makes me want to curl up into a ball for the next 4 1/2 months and just hope for the best.

Thumper is going to be born, one way or another.  With or without a midwife.  With or without having a pediatrician lined up.  Which is fine, if everything goes smoothly, and she’s healthy.  But what if she’s not?

I try to remind myself to breathe.  To take things one at a time.  To sit down with my list and cross off those numbers one by one, getting whatever information I can over the phone.  When I can find time to call, which is an issue in itself.

Any Canadians have any ideas about how to go about this?  Anything I haven’t thought of that could make this whole process easier?  As I told the woman at the birthing center, at this point, I’ll take anything I can get.


16 thoughts on “Too stressed out to think of a clever title for this post.

  1. Oh, goodness, Daryl! Moving anywhere at any point in pregnancy is not easy, but this sounds like a ginormous headache. As with any large project, taking care of it one small piece at a time will help you make the progress you need. And you WILL make progress, however slow or difficult it is, and eventually you will make it to the other side. I promise!

    Also, just an FYI…it’s okay if you don’t get the RhoGAM shot at exactly 28 weeks, as long as you get it before you go into labor. It’s a long story, but I didn’t get the RhoGAM shot until 34 or 36 weeks in my first pregnancy and the nurses and doctor weren’t concerned. Just get it as soon as you can when you arrive in Montreal, but don’t stress if it comes a week or two late. Hugs and lots of luck to you!

  2. I’m not familiar with the Quebec health system, but M has a friend who moved from the States to Montreal and had a baby last year. I could try Facebooking her to see if I can get some info for you…I have no idea how responsive she’ll be as a new busy mom (and not someone I’m super close with) but I can give it a shot! Email me (infertilesmurf at gmail) and let me know what specific questions I can ask her.

  3. I don’t have any answers to your questions, but just wanted to commiserate with you. I’ve just moved and am trying to figure out the same sorts of things (how do things work here) but I’m only 12 weeks so have a bit more time. I wish you all the best with working it out and hope the move goes smoothly.

  4. Hmmmmm… I had a midwife for a planned hospital delivery. And OBs may be run off their feet here, but they would never turn down a pregnant woman, as far as I know. Most family docs don’t do deliveries anymore, but a few do. The Canadian healthcare system works by referral- if you need to see a specialist, you go to your family doctor first, and he/she will refer you to said specialist. Inefficient- yes, but necessary in a publicly funded system. So your best bet is to find a family doc before you get here (there are referral services- I just don’t know of the ones in Quebec), and then get a referral to an OB as soon as you arrive. Don’t stress too much- I can’t imagine that any doc here would refuse you- it just doesn’t work that way. I promise. Sending lots of hugs- I can’t imagine moving while pregnant. I hate moving at the best of times!

  5. Oh yeah- pediatricians are typically considered specialists here as well- you only see one if your child has health issues beyond the scope of that of a general practitioner. My daughter had a perinatal stroke, and has been under the care of a pediatrician since she was two weeks old, but even so, our family doctor handles routine care, vaccinations etc.

  6. I moved to a new city within Canada 5 days before I had my first daughter (long story but it was best cast scenario wanting to be in same place as my husband when I have birth) Canadian hospitals won’t turn away a pregnant mama. Worst case you show up in the emergency room when you move. They give you your shot & a referral to a OB. It will work out once you are there and can demand/ask to be seen. Canada holds prenatal care in high regard! The insurance stuff I know little about.. but your kid will be covered being born here!

  7. I’m in Ontario, so I don’t know much about the Quebec system, but my assvice would be to try to find a GP before you move, book an appointment with them ASAP after arriving, and get a referral to an OB at that stage. At 20 weeks you are unlikely to be able to get care from a midwife, as demand far outstrips supply at this point. You could continue to put yourself on waiting lists just in case, as sometimes spaces do come up.

    I have a paediatrician for E. rather than using our family doctor. She works in a big busy clinic. I turned up when I was about six months’ pregnant and asked if they were taking new patients. The secretary said they wouldn’t be for a year or more, but then we got chatting, and then she decided to go ask one of the paediatricians if she would take us on, and she did! So I would first of all not panic, because if you can get a GP, s/he can look after your baby as well. If you really want a paediatrician, look into who is near your new house, and then go and see them in person once you arrive. Be nice to the secretary and smile a lot and look overjoyed at being pregnant. Emphasize that you live in the area. Worst case scenario is they’ll say they’re not taking new patients yet, and you can just keep calling/checking in every six months or so until a space frees up.

    Getting a GP can be problematic sometimes. Worst case scenario- get to Montreal, and then go to a walk-in. They can refer you to an OB, and they may also be able to tell you who is accepting new patients. This might be something you need to learn through word-of-mouth- we found our GP because a friend is her patient and told us that she was accepting new ones.

    Please don’t panic. Our health care system will take care of you, even if you can’t get your most preferred options.

    • Also, I don’t know if it works the same way in Quebec, but in Ontario midwives have hospital privileges. So the collective of midwives who look after you will have privileges at a particular hospital. I used midwives but delivered my son in a hospital- we were there for a total of six hours (three pre-birth, three post-birth) and never saw a single nurse or doctor.

  8. I don’t know much about any of the other stuff , but I can tell you that in my opinion a doula is definitely worth it. Also at least in the US doulas can vary a lot on price, and many will work out payment plans or can refer to someone who is training and therefore charges less. Best advice, talk with some and see where it gets you. Feel free to contact me if you want more info :).

  9. I thought it was stressful enough to spend 3 months of my pregnancy away from home. I can’t imagine moving to a new country and trying to navigate a new healthcare system. I’m sure you will be taken care of. Good luck as you try and figure it all out.

  10. I’m Canadian (from Alberta) but have lived in the UK and also I was in Italy while pregnant with my son. I know how daunting it can all feel. Currently living back in Canada with my British husband who literally moved here 3 weeks ago and so may be able to help a bit. Feel free to email me if you like (stopped by from LFCA).

    Lisa ♡

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