Strikes in France and Having a Baby!
When my second child was about to be delivered in Bordeaux, France, the midwives went on strike. It was an epic strike. Women were having babies in the corridors at the University, the only hospital that legally had to accept all women throughout the strike. I asked my doctor, a funny, courageous older character, if I needed to worry. His remark was, “ No one would refuse one of my patients!”
In the middle of the night my water broke, I went to the hospital in pain, strike still on and they refused me. There I was in a foreign country and furious about my rejection. I was a stubborn, arrogant American at this point and in pain (I am sure you can imagine) and with my overnight bag in hand and heels firmly planted I told them to call my doctor that I wasn’t leaving! My doctor came speeding to the hospital at 3 AM on his motorcycle. He screamed, stomped and yelled at the nurses and midwives on strike but they still refused. It was classic, here I was in pain and the doctor and midwives were just fighting and the only person paying attention to me was my husband. The doctor finally called a Catholic hospital on the outskirts of Bordeaux and they agreed to deliver our baby. My husband, with me huffing and puffing, and my doctor on a bike, headed to that hospital.
If you go to France just remember, they strike and they mean it… even if you are having a baby! I learned that having a baby isn’t necessarily a medical procedure but as well a cultural one. If in France you might run into a strike, get used to it, it’s part of their culture.