Monday, January 31, 2011

Hospital tour.

Friday night we went to tour one of the two hospitals we can give birth at. I was TOTALLY going to take pictures of our hospital tour, but, uh, I didn’t. More of that whole fear of photographing in public- and with a huge tour group of 12+ FAMILIES I didn’t think I’d be able to get the shots I wanted, so you’ll have to wait to see the hospital until I deliver. ;)

When I delivered Jackson here in Germany there was literally NO info, no hospital tour, no ‘this is what you should know printout’, nada. It was all on your own to figure everything out. Thankfully I had a good friend who had recently given birth and clued me into many key factors- where the hospital was/where the delivery ward was, what to expect, the fact that they don’t give out peri bottles (ha) ect.

I still have to finish editing and writing the ending to my birth story for Jackson that I actually wrote most of immediately after his birth. But to sum up my birth experience, it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but in all honestly I hadn’t planned appropriately or was firm enough in my decisions going into it. It’s hard to say it didn’t go exactly how I wanted because my two priorities were a vaginal birth and my beautiful boy- both accomplished, so I can’t say it was all bad :).

Things I loved about delivering in Germany? They give you the baby. After delivery there are no shots, eye meds, or CLEANING. They just thrust this slimy little friend right to your chest and he stays there for as long as you decide. Jackson actually never got a real bath until the next morning, yeah a little gross, but whatever, having my baby with me was well worth it, lol. I had the chance to try to breastfeed as soon as I liked, however Jackson had different plans. Generally I enjoyed the care of the midwives- who check and monitor you throughout your labor- the doctor was there for the delivery but most of the work falls on the midwives. I was naïve and assumed having midwives give primary care meant they would be more like a midwife in the US- suggesting birthing positions/generally supportive, NOT pushing pain meds every time I saw them. Not the case, live and learn.

Things I didn’t love about the hospital I had Jackson at? Aside from the things mentioned above the biggest hang up was breastfeeding support. I never saw a lactation consultant, and generally felt like no one at all could/would help me. When Jackson got jaundice I was encouraged NOT to breastfeed, given bad advice about pumping, not woken up to feed my baby (and pump) like I was told they would when he was hungry, the list goes on, most of all that was my biggest complaint. The birth experience I take most responsibility for, but this? I needed help desperately and didn’t get it. Jackson was also tongue tied at birth and this was a huge problem on latching (especially without help) which was just ignored. Bah. I eventually hunted down the closest lactation consultant and had to be persistent until I was able to meet with her. I also called countless LCs in the us looking for support and advice. It all worked out eventually, but it was a rough road.

Back to the NEW hospital we took a tour of Friday night. The BIGGEST positive? Other than the very friendly staff, beautiful birthing rooms, and better parking availability ;) They are a WHO certified baby friendly hospital. They WANT you to breastfeed and WANT you to succeed. I’m really looking to having that support this time around.

I also plan on going in with the mindset of ‘no pain meds’ instead of ‘we’ll see’. Do I know that it will change the outcome? No. Will I still end up with an epidural? Maybe, but I think I will get more support to go without if I come in prepared to do it, and tell my midwives that is what I want.

The hospital tour got me kinda really excited for this little one, even though we have a long way to go. I looked through our long list of baby names that night and smiled thinking about what the future holds. Still trying to work on a list of what we need to get for this baby (shouldn’t be much, but I want to be prepared). I have another friend who is pregnant and I’d love to make a list of the ‘must have’ items for her- so you experienced mamas. What are the things you think are MUST HAVES with a newborn? I’d love your input!

Today was our doctor appt and ultrasound. Baby looks great, and it was probably the quickest appointment ever (in a good way) there was almost no waiting. I got my lab work done and was in the Dr’s office before I had a chance to sit down.

Big 'Ol 17 week belly.

Oh and my precious 'baby' boy? He amazes me everyday. I love watching him learn new things, his little brain firing away making connections with words and actions. He will now also sign ‘please’ ‘car’ and ‘shhh’. . .all after I show or ask him, but man it’s cute! His favorite book right now is 'Go Dog Go' and he 'says' the name when he brings it to you :) Here is a pic, just for your enjoyment.


  1. That is a great picture! My little gal (looks about the same age as yours) is also obsessed with her winter boots and wearing them in the house!

  2. This was a great post! Thanks for sharing what your past hospital experience in Germany was like. Hopefully you will share even more. We are currently trying to get pregnant with baby #2. We had our first child in the states at a military hospital. We didn't have the best experience either but are hoping for better this next time around! We are currently weighing our options about whether to have #2 in Germany or go back to the states.

  3. Interesting post, my friend. You're looking goooooooooood! Let's see... my must haves... Infant swing, Moby wrap (SOOO wish I would've known about those before Will was 5 months), jumperoo. That might be it from me.

  4. Okay, things I think every Momma with a newborn should have...(since you asked!)

    My Brest Friend nursing pillow (especially if you've had a C-Section)

    The Fisher-Price "My Little Lamb" swing (the only place my colicky newborn would sleep!)

    I would say a co-sleeper, but since we are STILL fighting the good fight to get our 9 month old OUT of our bed, maybe not. I just got SO spoiled nursing him, placing him in the co-sleeper and going back to sleep, uninterrupted for the rest of the night...

    I know how frustrating it can be when you get mixed opinions on breastfeeding. I had the same problem (kinda). I had about 3 LC's, 3 nurses and 2 doctors telling me ALL different things. Bobby was tongue tied too, but he worked it out on his own. If this happens with baby #2, I swear by the Medela nipple shields (which also help if baby is making you sore from feeding). I fed Bobby exclusively with them for about 1 week and then voila...we were nursing without them and have been going strong ever since.

    Sorry for the rambling...

    BTW, I wish I looked that good at 17 weeks! :)

  5. I LOOOOOOVED my midwife. She was so amazing. She's the reason I had no episiotomy. Fun fact: Her husband is a tattoo artist and has done tattoos for Tim McGraw and Angelina Jolie. :) My husband is not into new age stuff like midwives and baby signing, but even he was impressed with her. If I ever have another baby I would want another midwife. The doctor was only in my room for maybe two minutes and was completely absent for the delivery.

    My next door neighbor is pregnant for the first time. I'm trying not to overwhelm her with information but I keep thinking to myself to remember to tell her lots of stuff before she has the baby.

  6. Gosh. It feels like I was just going through this. My oldest turned six yesterday-- my youngest 4 two weeks prior. Feels like yesterday and a million years ago. So glad that you get to have a better experience this time around! that means so much! You are such a pretty pregnant woman!

  7. Thanks for the input ladies- Moby, Breastfriend (what a funny name), and a swing are all on my MUST have list too.

    Sarah- Good luck, I really would recommend having a babby here in Germany, I'd just be a bit better prepared than last time ;) Would you deliver at a German hospital? Or are you close to a big base? Feel free to email me with ANY questions- katherine.spiess at

    BobbysMommy- We actually used those same shields for a looong time (mostly because I was afraid to quit). . .but next time I will just get it clipped ASAP :)

    Erin- I know about wanting to tell your new pregnant friends SO much. . .without overwhelming them. . .it's a fine line :) But there is always so much to tell them! I'm hoping if I can write it out it will seem easier.

  8. Katherine, I hope you don't mind me commenting here, seeing as how it your family blog and all:)

    Anyway, first, I think you look lovely and radiant at 17 weeks along.

    Second, the fear of the unknown of giving birth in Germany is what led us to decide to wait to move until 6 weeks after Andre was born. It all felt overwhelming to me to both not know the practices and fear I wouldn't be able to communicate with the hospital staff. I am glad that you got what you wanted most - healthy baby and vaginal delivery - even though it was a tough go!

    In my family I happen to be surrounded by medication-free birth gurus (as I see them:), so if you're looking for some support, information, reading materials, and whatnot regarding achieving your goal for this next birth, let me know:)

    As for musts for newborns, the nightgowns where you don't have to button/unbutton every time you change them, the sleeping bags they have here in Deutschland (wish I had had these in the US), Boppy (or the Breastfriend), and a carrier (I have heard great things about the Moby, but have't used one yet. I like my Bjorn, but babies seem to grow out of it quickly. Also, I think a sling-style would be better so you have the option of breastfeeding on-the-go, so to speak.).

    Anyway, I probably could go on and on regarding the subject of childbirth, so I'll just stop now:)