Birth in the Netherlands

I just realized something.  I am the boss of this blog, so to speak.  If I decide to add something I have already done to my list...I can.  So, I have.

Giving birth in a foreign country (other than the U.S.A.) has been added, and checked off the list.  Since it is a bit of a new and different experience that a lot of my readers probably won't have the chance to experience, I thought I would share some reflections on giving birth in the Netherlands, including my time in the hospital.  I know that this can be very different from other countries in Europe.  I have heard stories about different care for baby, longer hospital stays, etc.  But this is just my story.  Not a full birth story--especially since it was a c-section.  Pretty formulaic.

Keep in mind, the only thing I have to compare this too was giving birth in Morristown, New Jersey.  The hospital there (Morristown Memorial) was pretty great.  The maternity ward had recently been remodeled, and they only had single rooms.

Perfect place to start.  When we checked into the hospital--at about 10 AM, for a planned c-section at 1 PM (which ended up being more like 2 PM), we were taken to a labor room, I will call it.  There was just one bed in this room and so without knowing that I would be moved to another room, I was excited, thinking "Yeah!  Private room!"  No such luck.  We were in this room while we waited for me to go to the surgical area, and then we were in there for about one to two hours after J#4 was born and after I got out of recovery.

Like I mentioned earlier, the c-section was pretty much the same.  And since I am sure people don't want to see my internal organs, here is our first photo with J#4.  A few things to note about the operating the room.  Everyone there was extremely kind.  They were also very concious of the fact that we are Americans and don't speak Dutch.  I was a bit distracted, but J#1 says that as anyone walked in the room, someone would quick say to them "American, speak English".   Since there were so many doctors in the room (it is a teaching hospital), they had someone take photos for us, including the one above.  We had about 10 times the number of photos that we did of J#3's birth.  If you really want to see my internal organs--and J#4 all covered in goo, please let me know and I can email them to you.  Ha. I am sure my mailbox will reach its limit now. 

The recovery room was definately a bit different.  In New Jersey, we were in a recovery room with just maternity patients.  Not the case this time around.  In fact, I saw someone come in with a pretty bad head wound.  Wonder if they were in a biking accident?  I was there by myself.  Instead of J#1 and J#4 joining me there, like in New Jersey, I joined them in that labor room we first "checked"into. 
J#3 & J#4 on my hospital bed
I shared my room for the rest of my stay (up until my last night) with a native Eindhoven resident.  She was extremely friendly, and I was so lucky that she could also translate for me!  Generally, most people knew English, but there were a few people who didn't.   For sharing a room, I couldn't have asked for a better roomie.  

The food.  Oh, the food.  Lunch was usually a big meal.  Of course, the menu was in Dutch, so I was sort of guessing what I would be eating the next day.  Luckily, food is one the items that I have been able to learn in Dutch (since grocery shopping is a necessity) so I wasn't totally in the dark.  Breakfast AND dinner were sandwiches.  Bread, sliced meat, and cheese. With some margarine, if you like.  The food was the one driver that made me extremely excited to get home!  

After heading home, my mom and her husband were visiting for a month, so that they could help with J#3 (can't be lifting a 30 lb little guy right after a c-section!).  Lucky they were there.  The mid-wives that came to visit (YES! At the house!) were interested to find out that I didn't have a Kramzorg.  A "kramzorg" is essentially a baby nurse, and pretty much everyone in the Netherlands has them there after birth until the baby's 8th day.  Due to insurance issues, I wasn't able to have one.  So my Mom took on that role (thank you again Mom!).  Which is much better anyway, because I felt much more comfortable then I am guessing I would have with a stranger. 

To be honest, the one thing I was most nervous about when moving to the Netherlands was giving birth here.  Turns out, shouldn't have worried about it!   That always happens to me though.  About 98% of the time, whatever I worry about, is something that I didn't need to worry about in the first place.  

How about you?  After you think about it for a few minutes, don't most things you worry about turn out to be okay? One of my favorite sayings is "Everything happens for a reason".  

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