But let me back up a bit here.
When giving birth in Germany, your regular OBGYN isn’t the doctor who will be delivering your baby; 9 times out of 10, your doctor doesn’t even deliver babies (unless you are seeing a doctor at a hospital). So, you are kind of starting from scratch when searching for a hospital at which you would like to deliver.
The first time around, deciding on a hospital in Germany seemed pretty easy. The hospital near our house was the most logical since I had no clue how long we would need once in labor. Only problem was… it was the. Worst. Experience. Ever. Nothing against the hospital, it was just a combination of not knowing the language and basically zero hospital employees who spoke (or at least willing to admit that they spoke) English.
This time around, I wanted to select a little more carefully. We checked out Duesseldorf Hospital (Florence Nightingale Krankenhaus) and although I was shocked and bummed that their orientation session included around 200 people, a bit too large for my preference (um, however, we were the noisy ones in the back with an 8-year-old and a 2-year-old who didn’t setup a babysitter because we had no clue it was going to be a presentation), I still wanted to give the hospital a chance.
But once we finally were able to view the rooms, I was leaning more toward taking my chances at a hospital in a larger city in hopes of more English speakers. I still didn’t know for sure until we went in for our second appointment; a one-on-one with the head doctor who, seeing my dark hair, was actually hoping I spoke Spanish. No such luck there… still working on my German.
But I breathed a sigh of relief when he instantly switched to English. I was certain at this moment that Duesseldorf was my hospital of choice.
And Kay was certain because Florence Nightingale Hospital has a special Fortuna Duesseldorf birthing suite (his Fussball team of choice).
Back to the labor pains…
I wasn’t due to give birth until January 20th, but the hospital was willing to consider me for a planned c-section on January 10th. We scheduled my mom’s flight from the US around the January 10th date. And yet, it was only December.
As I was trying to convince myself it was only Braxton Hicks contractions, I kept wavering whether or not we needed to go to the hospital and find someone to watch Fynn last minute.
And then I was silently cursing and laughing at a comment Kay’s Oma had made over Christmas, “Well, at least one of the Grandchildren will be born in January.” (The same month in which Oma was born.)
“It isn’t January yet, Mom,” was my mother-in-law’s response.
Dang it! They totally jinxed me. And again, my mom won’t be here for the birth.
I was in shock.
So let’s fast forward to after the baby arrived since everything else is like blah, blah, blah, give me drugs, ow, that needle hurts, ow, that’s an even bigger needle… ah, finally can’t feel my lower half…wah, wah, wah, can I hold my baby please?
Oh, wait. Forgot to mention that the fun began with a pain killer in suppository form administered by a nurse. Fun times. At least she could reach better than me during a contraction.
And finally, I was wheeled into my own room, which, by the way, my insurance doesn’t cover.
With my first child, I was in a room with three beds. Luckily, only two of which were occupied including my own bed.
This time around, I learned that you can request your own room (if they have open rooms) and pay extra. The price for your own room is equivalent to the price of a hotel in Seattle, Chicago, or Los Angeles… Well, at least cheaper than an overnight in New York or London. Maybe a bit expensive, but totally worth it in my opinion.
Once in my own room (insert sigh of relief) came the nurses and Hebamme’s; I’d say that 90% of them spoke and were willing to speak English.
The combination of location choice and more time to learn German provided for a more pleasant experience. Well, as pleasant as a hospital stay can be.
I already knew what to expect as far as food goes; bread and cheese for breakfast, a hot meal for lunch, and bread, cheese and meat for dinner (as in sandwich meat). Quite the shock my first time around and by the end of my stay I was so sick of these so-called bread and cheese meals.
This hospital, however, also included a slice of cake at the 15:00 hour. Yum! Either I was really hungry and/or those pain pills were making me feel really good, but this particular cake was completely to die for.
I felt lucky that on this particular day, this cake was served at lunch and then again as the 15:00 treat. (I like to tell myself that they made a mistake and I was just the lucky one to receive it twice. Talk about having your cake and eating it too or two/twice, in this case.)
All in all, it may have taken two attempts to find my hospital of choice while indulging in sinful sweets, but obviously the best part was coming home after only 3 days (it was my choice to leave so soon) with a bundle of pure New Year’s Eve joy. May I introduce our newest and youngest blog member… Silvesterkind.