My first trip to the doctor's office was quite an experience. His office was in a town about 20 minutes from our village. The drive there is a very curvy road that narrows as it passes through other small villages...
....winding down to the main town passing over the "auto-route"...freeway. This photo shows the route just before going "down" the mountain towards town.
My husband dropped me off at the door of the high rise building as he went to park and wait with the children in the van. I entered the building and after looking up the doctor's name on a listing board of occupants, I proceeded to the elevator. I did not realize once inside alone, how difficult riding an elevator could be. I couldn't have "asked" for help anyway, so might as well be alone. I saw that the names listed did not appear in any order that I could understand (French)and so I pressed a button. When the elevator opened I stepped out to realize I had gone all the way to the top! I peered over a railing and being now 7 1/2 months with twins and having some swelling in my feet, I decided not to walk the stairs; who knows how many flights down I had yet to go. I re-entered the elevator and pressed what I thought was the correct button again...and whoosh..down we go...back to the beginning. The main floor. I looked up and thought..."okay?...you can try again or you can just walk now...UP... how many flights of stairs? By time I reached the correct floor, stopping on the way to read the door signs...I was out of breath. I entered and did not know I was about to encounter my first real episode of the language barrier that I would deal with for a long time. I fumbled with the receptionist, who spoke minimal English. I then went to the waiting room and sat quietly. IF... anyone had spoken to ME, I surely did not know it and this might be why I was getting funny looks most of the time. I'm sure some well meaning lady spoke a kind word or two, so I kept my eyes in a magazine so not to appear rude..but preoccupied. Of course when my turn came, the nurse made sure she approached me and I did recognize my own name! ~whew~
The doctor then began to tell me that my blood pressure was sky-high and that I should be in the hospital. I explained my situation: no family, no one to watch the children, new to the country and language! Sympathetic, he gave me ONE week at home and if my blood pressure had not lowered by the next visit, I would be admitted to the local hospital.
The next week was quite a tale... I began to drop things..like eggs! more swelling and now headaches. I had moments of contractions and would sit on the edge of the bed at night...wondering if it was "time". I did not realize I was experiencing preeclampsia and a very dangerous situation, a leading cause of infant death. The care of my children became a great concern as I thought about the hospital stay.
When I returned the following week...I was admitted. In preparation, one of the wives of a my husband's coworker offered to watch the children during the day. I had met this lady briefly..but had to trust the LORD as it was our only help at the time. Claudine was much too busy with her farming home life. This lady...Helen, a Swiss-German, knew English! and it so happened...the Lord's care...she lived right next door to the hospital. Not only that, her front door of her apartment could be seen from my hospital room window, while I sitting up in my bed! I was so touched at the kindness of the LORD to make this unique provision. It gave me such peace to watch my husband each morning drop of the children. I would also be able to watch them play with her two children, riding bikes. Helen,so thoughtful... would also walk the path from her apartment bringing the children to visit. The blessing of this hospital was the fact that they let 4 toddlers into my room and hop on my bed! I don't know if this was policy or for the fact that being a foreigner and no family, I received special permission. I was so thankful. The LORD again provided a very great need.
On my first day admitted I was taken to my room which was multi bed. I was asked which bed I would like..and of course I chose the one by the window; which also happened to be next to a bed occupied by a very sweet Christian woman who spoke some English. Micheline was her name and she would be a joy to my heart...she was a fairly new babe in Christ and we would enjoy sweet Christian fellowship talking about the Lord's work in our lives. She had complications in her pregnancy and had to remain in the hospital most of her pregnancy. She also was living daily by faith. My time with her would be limited however since I would deliver within a week and be moved to another room.
Before being admitted I had to have my blood pressure and babies monitored by a nurse. I was fortunate...some say...I say the LORD..to have an English nurse for my care. A British nurse. She told me upon my first encounter with her, in a stern voice..."Madame, you will have to remain in the hospital and take care of yourself regardless of having children at home. You are in a very dangerous situation for you and your unborn babies." I agreed, and very simply complied with her wishes. She was surprised, as she expected me to argue the point and insist on getting to go back home. I then told her I was a Christian and that I knew the Lord would take care of things and I would do what was necessary for the safe delivery of my twins.
From this point on...she would be daily monitoring my condition. We would also...talk. It was during this time that I began to fully understand WHY I was here...for her. My heart was filled with HOPE, JOY and PEACE. I knew, God placed her and I together. For how long? I did not know.
My husband visiting one day shortly after my admission brought me a beautiful blue journal to write in. It has a lovely Swiss looking design on the cover. He thought I might like to write while in the hospital. And so, I began that day a journal. I had no idea what lie ahead. In fact, I thought perhaps this would just be a journal about my new babies and God's care. I expected to deliver healthy twins.
On my first page I wrote a Bible Verse... Colossians 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of GOD; strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long suffering with joyfulness...