An Emotional Rollercoaster

Our little granddaughter sleeps peacefully

After traveling for two days to reach the maternity hospital in Valence (France), where our daughter had given birth to her first baby the day before, we were absolutely physically and mentally exhausted.

We arrived Friday evening just in time to spend a precious hour with our daughter, son-in-law and first granddaughter before visiting time ended. My thoughts and emotions were in turmoil as while she was fine we learned our “baby” piglet was in a great deal of pain due to a difficult birth.

The hospital staff had initially claimed she was making a “fuss”, but quickly changed their tune when they discovered she had fractured her coccyx giving birth. Has anyone else experienced this? Unable to take strong painkillers, as she was breastfeeding, she suffered pretty much in silence. A stubborn streak in her, which I think she inherited from me (surprise, surprise), drove her on and she refused to give in, accept medication and put her little daughter on the bottle.

I watched “our” baby hobble to the bathroom; her steps tentative as her body contorted in pain. My motherly protective instincts kicked in and my heart lurched and as she struggled in agony I started to cry. Mr. Piglet wanted to strangle the doctor who had delivered Lily-May for what only can be described as a total disregard for the Mothers needs. What a callous brute! (That’s the doctor not Mr. Piglet).

We left the hospital that evening feeling on a high at the birth of our first grandchild Lily-May, but on a low for our poor daughter. She had been through so much with the pregnancy and problems with the house move, it seriously made me wonder why God laid such a difficult path for some while others just sauntered through life on a bed of Roses.

Thanks to our GPS our hotel in Valence was easy to find. We dumped our bags, showered and I was so tired I was ready to hit the sack there and then. Mr. Piglet, however, had other plans and insisted his stomach was grumbling so we had to go on a mission to find a cheap restaurant late at night in a strange city. Grrrrr men!

The next four days passed in a blur…

We explored the streets of Valence to pass the time between hospital visits and fell in love with the historic buildings, winding cobbled streets, and unusual shops. Valence was just oozing quaint charm and character so a perfect place to wile away our time. The people were really friendly, unlike in Lyon where my pathetic attempts to speak French were met with barely a grunt of acknowledgment and blank stare. In fact Valence had a sort of “homely” feel which was extremely comforting at a time we were feeling lost and confused.

We felt almost in state of limbo as we had no idea how long our daughter would need to stay in hospital as she was bed bound and needed care.

Here is a slide show of Valence…as they say “A picture saves a 1000 words!”

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On Wednesday when we arrived at the hospital, I think it was Wednesday as looking back one day just merged seamlessly with the next – one minute we were quietly chatting and cuddling Lily-May and the next, the room became a hive of activity. Medical speke is bad enough in your mother tongue, but in a foreign language, we stood there like a couple of spare parts. We were then informed that instead of transferring our daughter and Lily-May to another hospital, as they needed her bed, she was to be sent home under something called “home hospitalization”. The Doctors, Midwives and Nurses treated you at home. What a brilliant idea – although our daughter was apprehensive I was secretly pleased as I detest hospitals. They are not always the best place to recover as you catch bugs, you can’t sleep and the food is disgusting.

Our daughter, having made the decision to return to their temporary home with the in-laws in Provence to make her recovery, organised us all with military precision before we all went into headless chicken mode. Draws and lockers were hastily emptied and everything was packed up ready to go. Lily-May was suitably dressed for the journey, Mr. Piglet dispatched to the hotel to pack up all our belongings, an ambulance organized and we were off.

We all descended on our French in-laws and the next part of our “adventure” is to be continued. It was a difficult time but enjoyable and even humourous as I grappled with shopping in France; had a close encounter with a pooh missile while changing Lily-May; frozen condoms, enjoyed wonderful French food, learned how to cook a traditional French recipe while helping to look after our daughter and Lily-May.

My goodness there is never a dull moment in the Piglet household and we were certainly on an emotional rollercoaster!

Related posts: Proud Grandparents
The French Healthcare System – Is It Really That Great?

48 thoughts on “An Emotional Rollercoaster

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  1. Dear Piglet,
    My American doctor friend gave me some more commentary:

    “Only the US (and Italy, where the term comes from) do a high number of Caesareans (~30%), which some would argue lowers maternal mortality (see e.g.: and complications.

    In France the Caesarean rate is 16-18%. It is about the same in the UK. You have to have a pretty good reason to have a C-section in those countries. It can be hard to predict who will need a C-section, though C-sections and episiotomy can prevent coccyx injury.

    But I imagine most of her pain and other symptoms were from the retained sponges, not the coccygeal injury. It really sounds like communication between her and the doctors was poor, perhaps due to a language barrier.”

    I’m so sorry for all the pain your daughter had to go through and that she will recover from it.


  2. I asked an American doctor friend about your article, and he commented: “Leaving in compresses (or sponges as surgeons call them in the US) is the one of the commonest cause of medical malpractice in the US. It occurs in about 1 in 1000 surgeries in the US. It is higher in countries with less malpractice suits, where the nurses typically don’t count sponges.”

    He didn’t comment on the fractured coccyx, but if he does, I’ll let you know.


  3. I broke my tailbone with my first son. I was in extreme pain when my epideral wore off. I think they ended up giving me some morphine in the hospital. When I got home I couldn’t sit on anything, including the soft cushions of the sofa. My mom got me an small inflatable inner-tube, or donut-type thing to sit on that made all the difference.


    1. Hi CM,
      Ouch, you must have had a difficult time 😦 She has a doughnut, but up to now it’s been too painful even to sit down using that. At least she is on the road to recovery now 🙂


  4. I hope your daughter is healing well and not in too much pain. I’ve never heard of anyone breaking a bone giving birth. Bless your daughter’s heart.
    You all are going through such a bittersweet time. My healing thoughts and prayers are with your daughter. Hugs to your sweet Grandbaby. And a hug for you too Grandma. 🙂


  5. Congratulations! Lily-May is a beautiful baby. I am anxious to hear how your daughter is going and I’m sending bunny hugs to everyone and hoping for a hasty recovery. Thanks for sharing this experience with us.


  6. I, too, am interested in the frozen condoms…interesting!
    Best of wishes on your little “piglet’s” healing and enjoy the new grandbaby as much as you can! She is so beautiful!


  7. PiP, I can’t wait for the next installment. What a harrowing experience you had. And, how wonderful to have a healthy grandbaby and an opportunity to help your daughter heal. Lily-May is such a pretty name. How was it inspired?


  8. You were certainly on a roller coast ride. Thankful you now have a beautiful grandaughter-I hope your daughter is healing well and quickly-never heard of this experience during childbirth. Valence is beautiful !!!


    1. Hey Stephanie,
      I wondered where your blog had gone…I am not receivng notifications of you posts and your Gravatar link is not working 😦
      Pelase can you let me have the link?


  9. I too am curious about the frozen condoms! I hope they’re not the prescribed treatment for your daughters fractured coccyx – sounds like torture to me…


  10. Poor baby piglet! I hope she is doing better now. It seems like you had a great time though, can’t wait for the rest of the story!


  11. Congrats again on the birth of your grand-daughter and thank you for the beautiful photos of Valence. Hope your daughter heals quickly and I’m looking forward to the next installment of your adventure!


  12. Poor Piglet! I have heard of that happening before. I hope your daughter is recovering.

    Lily-May is just beautiful!

    Can’t wait to hear the rest of the story.


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