CONTRIBUTED BY MERIL CHICKINI
Having a baby a baby is a BIG deal. If it’s possible, having a baby while stationed overseas is an even bigger deal! It’s something lots of people have lots of questions about. Here, Meril shares her experience with off-post labor and delivery. In the first part of the series, she shared her prenatal care story as well. Thank you, Meril!
We headed out to the Weiden hospital in the early morning of April 11, 2011. I had had some contractions over the weekend but nothing consistent or too bad. By Monday morning I decided it was time to go in, although I didn’t really feel any bad contractions and they stopped when we got in the car. When we got to the Weiden hospital, we had to wait for the on call doctor to see me. She did and ultrasound and an exam and told me that my amniotic fluid was super low (I had been leaking for 4 days without realizing) and they wouldn’t let me leave without the baby. I thought that was great because my due date was the next day, I was as huge as whale, and tired of waddling around.
We checked in to the family room. There’s only 1 in Weiden’s hospital and it’s first come, first serve. So ask for it right away. It’s 55 euros that Tricare doesn’t cover, but it’s worth it. They told me and my husband to get comfortable in the family room and to go have some breakfast in the small room in the L&D department . We had our coffees and fresh pastries with yoghurt.
At noon we headed back to the room, and they started the IV with Pitocin. (my body doesn’t go in full labor even if my water breaks all the way and they wanted that baby out rather sooner than later).
For the first five minutes after getting the IV, I was thinking about taking a nap. But before I could finish that thought, my contractions were so close together that I was pretty much ready to push. I went from 2.5 cm that I had been since 30 weeks to 7-8 in less than half an hour. My contractions were pretty much 2-3 minuets apart right away. Only a couple of pushes later, at 13:55 I was holding my baby boy!
It was very fast and easy; I’m super-lucky I had such a wonderful midwife and on-call doctor working on the day I went in. In Germany it doesn’t matter whom you see during your pregnancy. The midwife working on the day you go in will be the one delivering, along with the doctor who is on-call in the room.
Our son was cleaned and checked in front of us. They don’t bathe the baby, but they will wipe him clean. The difference comes from the more natural way of doing things and belief that is better for their skin to wipe them clean instead of giving them a full bath.
Since my placenta was in pieces, I was taken to the OR for a quick D&C kind of thing and my husband stayed back with the baby. After a while, I was taken back to the family room. Nurses took him for a bit to check him. You can have the baby with you the whole time or can have the baby in the nursery. While you are in the hospital the baby will wear the clothes provided by the hospital (you can change them but the nurses will change them back). If you plan to formula feed they will also have German formula that they will provide.
Although I packed tons of stuff (clothes for me and my husband, clothes for the stay and homecoming for the baby, diapers, wipes, bottles, etc.) you don’t really need a lot, because the hospital will have pretty much everything for your stay.
You will need to pack comfortable clothes for yourself (I had a robe and a long t-shirt and homecoming clothes: leggings and a long sweater). Pads will be provided; also shampoo, soap and towels, even the big ones (I think that’s only in the family room though), diapers, wipes, formula, and pacifiers will be provided. For the baby, all you will need to bring is the homecoming outfits and a car seat, naturally.
I also got 3 bags full of magazines, books, lotions, sample diapers and wipes from the hospital. Also as a present from the hospital you will get a picture that is taken minutes after your baby is born, newspaper with the birthdate and a small bottle of champagne.
Your stay will depend on how your delivery went and if the doctors clear you and your baby. Although I had issues and my baby was getting extra oxygen, we left the next morning.
All the nurses that checked on me were very nice and helpful.
I hope everybody who is thinking of getting pregnant or have just got their + will find this helpful. Keep an open mind, be positive and always polite, and hopefully you will have a great experience!
- When you have an appointment or you go have your baby in the Weiden hospital park in the hospital garage and show your ID at the front desk for free parking.
- If you have an appointment in Amberg Hospital show up early because the parking sucks there. It’s a pain to find a spot, or fit if you drive anything bigger than a LEGO car!
- Make sure you have all your referrals.
- Don’t lose your mutterpass.
- If you get a choice and are unsure which hospital to pick, go on a hospital tour. You can get the dates and times from ACS.
- If you don’t like your doctor you can always switch.
- Make sure to ask for recommendations and opinions, but also ask why they feel the way they do.
- Be open minded and positive!
- You can always call your OB’s office.
- Never be afraid to ask any questions.
- The on-post clinic has to see you for everything that is not pregnancy related so don’t let them fool you. For example if you have cramps and you are spotting, you need to be seen by your OB or L&D. On the other hand, if you have a cold, hit your knee, or have allergies, you have to be seen by your PCM in the clinic on-post.
- If you feel like there’s something wrong you can always go to L&D.
- Don’t over-pack for the hospital.