July 20, 2016

Leonardo's Birth Story


I still cannot believe I am a mother of two! Two!! It's so surreal. I feel like it's a dream and I'm going to wake up any minute now, on my couch, pregnant, sweaty,
uncomfortable and with food all over my shirt. 
But it's real! We have two wonderful children. 

Our little man made an early appearance, just like his sister. They were both born at 36 weeks and 6 days. Is there a calendar inside my uterus that tells my babies that they need to leave the womb at that time? Seriously! 
Again, I missed a hair and nail appointment because my children decided to come early. I just want to be pampered before going into labor, is that too much to ask for? So there I was, again on that hospital bed with frizzy hair and split ends and no nail polish on my toes or fingers. Sigh... Maybe next time.... 

So, on to his birth story and my experience giving birth at a German hospital. I was nervous. Nervous because my German isn't perfect. I can order French fries, ice cream, ask where the bathroom is in German, but labor jargon in German, yeah, not so much. 
I kept thinking, what if I go into labor and the midwives and doctors that are working that night don't speak a word of English?! What am in going to do? Have my phone out and translate everything in the middle of contractions?! No way!! All was good though, everyone that night spoke perfect English, and were so accommodating. Not only did they accommodate me and Anthony, they also accommodated our toddler. Yes, we brought Vida with us to the hospital. More on that later!! 

So, June 31st, Vida and I headed to the annual German and
 American Friendship Festival on base in the late afternoon.
 I was having minor contractions all morning but I thought it was just Braxton Hicks, they hurt but weren't too bad and I had to get out of the house to get some delicious fair food. 
We arrive at the fest and she rode some rides, we got on the Ferris wheel, we ate some delicious food and had an amazing time just the two of us, I knew I had to soak all in these moments with her before the baby was born.
 We were there for about 3 hours, of course she didn't want to leave but I got very tired and my belly felt extra tight that afternoon, I was just ready to go home and take a nap. 

We arrive home and Anthony was already there. Anthony took her to the park and I headed to our room for a nap. It was a glorious nap. 
I woke up and we had a late dinner, around 9:30pm. I end up having an extremely painful contraction that I had to stop eating and hang onto the chair for support. Anthony asks me if the baby is coming and I reassure him that it's way too early. The contractions subsides, we eat dinner and watch a movie with Vida. Since it was a Friday, we decided to keep Vida up late and let her finish the movie and put her to bed. 

11:45pm rolls around and I feel this pop inside me, almost like someone cracked their fingers. I get up from the couch and sure enough, a little bit of water starts leaking. I sit on the toilet and the rest of the water comes out. I couldn't believe it. Anthony was outside with our dog, I open the back door and I tell him "hey, my water broke" of course he's all excited but asks me if I'm sure?  I said yeah, it's all over my pants. 
He heads inside and I go shower and prepare for the contractions, I'm nervous. 
I feel like it's my first time all over again. a little bit of panic sets in.

About an hour later the contractions start to get intense but still bearable, I can sit on the couch and relax. We timed them and they were very far apart and very mild. I told Anthony "we have lots of time, I'm not in active labor yet"  
It's about 12:30am and I messaged a friend to see if we could drop Vida off, 
I felt terrible on how late it was. 
Nobody knew he would come so early so I wasn't really prepared with the sitters for that night let alone that weekend. I knew who I was going to use, I just didn't think I was going to be using them at 1:00am. I didn't hear a response, so I called and messaged a few other friends, still no answer. It was about 1:15am and the contractions were now starting to get a bit painful. I had to concentrate on the pain and my breathing so I set my phone aside. Vida was sound asleep by this point. We had her in her pjs ready to go.

 1:30am rolls around and I tell Anthony that we should go to the hospital so I can get in the tub there and just relax with my essential oils. 
I reassured Anthony that I was sure someone will answer their phone and someone would pick her up from the  hospital. 

He loads up the car and make the 20 min drive to the hospital. I hate sitting while having contractions, It is sooooooo painful. That car ride lasted an eternity. 
We arrive, check in at around 2:15 and the midwife comes to get us and takes us to this little room to check the baby's heart rate. She does a quick cervical check and tells me I'm only at 3cm. I wanted to cry, the contractions were painful, I was hoping I was further along. 

We had Vida sound asleep in the stroller next to us. We told the midwife that we were hoping someone would be picking her up soon. I'm not going to lie, having her in the room with me gave me peace of mind. I wasn't worried about her being her crazy self at a friend's house or crying looking for us and being so confused on where she was. I get annoyed by her,  but I'm a bit attached to my daughter, we do everything together, so having her there in the little corner of the room sound asleep just made me happy. I have a hard time letting go, I'm not afraid to admit that. 

It was about 2:30am and the midwife comes in to let me know that in a few minutes my room and tub would be ready. They were very busy that night, around 2:45 the doctor came in to introduce himself. He came right when I was having a huge painful contraction. His timing couldn't be more perfect..not!

Germans are super polite, they will say hello or good morning when entering a room full of perfect strangers and will shake your hand if it's their first time meeting you, even my mail man shook my hand when he handed me my mail the first week we moved in to our home. 

 So this doctor comes in and extends his hand towards me. I'm standing, facing the bed, with my hands on the bed railing, breathing in and out a very painful contraction, gripping that bed until my knuckles were white and I look over at him, I'm probably red in the face and he doesn't move his hand. I barely shake his hand and quickly placed it back on the bed to prevent myself from falling. I'm sure he thought I was a rude with my quick and weird handshake. "Dude, I'm sorry my body is bringing a baby down my birth canal. I can't do handshakes right now. Let's do a head nod next time, okay?"

 This doctor is super friendly and bubbly and I just want to punch him. 
He seems too excited. This ain't Disney world. He's just way too excited for my liking. lol

So, I'm still standing while having these contractions. Since I'm no longer hooked up to the machine, Anthony wasn't able to see when the contraction was coming. So I had to gesture for him to hold me while I let my body just relax in his arms. It's the feeling of weightlessness that makes the pain a bit more bearable. The problem is that I can't speak when the contraction starts, it's so painful, I feel like I'm slowly going to pass out. 
My husband is great during these moments. I would just raise my hand slightly and he would hold me and I would just release my body, I probably look like I'm dead in his arms. 
My body, arms, neck and head just go limp. Once the contraction is over I hug him and tell him that I can't do it anymore and he reassures me. He hugs me so tight because he knows how scared I am. I really am scared in those moments. For me and epidural is not an option, and when I did the hospital tour they asked me if I wanted to sign up to get an epidural. I ploitly said, no thanks. Only in an emergency C-section will an epidural be available to you, if you had not signed up for it.
I was so relived not to have nurses pushing the epidural on me like when I gave birth in the states, nurses asked 5 times, and they would ask right at my weakest point, at the start of the contraction, they messed up my breathing and left me confused and angry, two things I do not want to feel during labor I want to be calm and relaxed! Here in Germany, not once was the epidural mentioned. They let me do my thing.

It's about 3:15am now and bubbly doctor tells me the room isn't ready yet and he apologizes. I can hear the women down the hall screaming while they give birth. It sounds like they are being murdered. It scared me to my core, even though I been though birth before, It was just scary to hear those sounds. It's like oh my gosh, I'm next. 

 The midwife comes in to check me, I tell her I feel like pushing. She tells me that the baby is right there!!
The nurse holds my hands and walks me down the hallway and tells me if I  can walk a little faster or if I can run a bit, and I said, no way!! 
Then I feel the urge to push and I get super nervous and I move my little feet faster, and we walk into the room as the midwives are frantically setting up all their stuff. 
A sweet nurse took the stroller to her office and watched Vida for us while we went to the delivery room. I can still remember the nurse gently pushing the stroller around the corner. There goes my first baby...she doesn't even know her life is about to change in a few minutes.

I lay on the bed and they tell me to start pushing, I wait for the contraction and I push and little man's head starts crowning. 
The "ring of fire" doesn't hurt that much the second time around, you kind of expect it and you prepare yourself for that burning feeling. It does feel like your vagina is on fire though. 
The first time I felt that, I was scared. I didn't know that was going to happen and kept asking my OB if everything was okay down there.
So we go through this pain and we only get one day off a year? I know right? Motherhood is the shit!! 

Then they tell me not to push, I hate those words. I heard those words when I was delivering Vida. You can't fight that urge and do so gracefully. It's horrible. Your stomach does this awful jumping sensation, the midwife tells me to wait for the contraction. 
I do one more big push and he's out and it was like an out of body experience once again.  
I look at him and he's so tiny and they quickly place him on my chest and I'm crying and completely in awe of what just happened. His little tiny cry was so sweet. 

Another fast, drug free delivery, my hair is a mess, I didn't get to use the tub like I wanted too, but I'm just grateful for a healthy baby and a safe and fast delivery. Leo was born at 3:45am, weighing only 5 pounds. He was so itty bitty. 
Thank goodness he didn't have to go to the NiCu. 

Leo latched immediately to my breast  and I'm so tired at that moment, I could pass out but I force myself to stay awake so I can just stare at him. 

The midwives and Doctor leave the room and give us time to soak in these moments with our baby. Anthony goes to check on Vida. She's still asleep and the nurse is still there watching over her. I'm so grateful to that staff. They were so wonderful to us. I wish the delivery room would have been ready earlier but it was a busy night. Sometimes if there are no rooms available or you are less than 3cm dilated you can be turned away 
and sent home, hospitals are not as big as they are in the states. 
I'm glad I quickly went from 3-10cm because that drive back home would have been a horrible idea. 

I ended up staying in the hospital for 24 hours, I wanted to rest and give Vida some time with her dad. In the USA I had to stay for 3 days. I was so ready to go home when I had her. Recovery the second time around, was much faster. I felt like my body knew exactly what it had to do. With Vida I was scared to walk too much for too long. 

The nurses at the hospital were so sweet and took such good care of us.
 The language barrier was tough but we managed to communicate with one another.
 They would come in throughout the day to our room to hold Leo. One British nurse would say "oh Leonardo, oh Leonardo" when she would see him, i think she was in love. When he went for his bath the following day, they had bundled him up and put the cutest hat on him. I looked at him and said "oh my goodness, he looks so cute" the German nurses asked me "what is oh, my goodness?" and I explained it to her and the whole day she would say to all the babies "oh, my goodness" it was so adorable.  

Anthony brought Vida to see Leo, and I couldn't believe how huge she looked. 
She looked so big to me. I couldn't stop staring at her. She held him and my heart burst with happiness. She looks at me and says she has to go because she was going to the park with her Dada. My stage five clinger just wanted to leave and without me. It made me tear up. Friends reassured me that it was normal and she wouldn't be like that forever. 
They were right. 

I went home the following afternoon and cuddled my two babies and now we are a family of 4 and everything feels perfect. I loved giving birth in the German hospital. I wasn't forced to do anything I didn't want. Nobody offered me drugs or tried to rush my labor. They respected me and catered to me. The room not being ready was not their fault, but I'm glad they got me in quick when they saw he was coming out really fast. I'm thankful to the staff and my husband for being there for me and Leo. 

Here are a few  photos

Totally forgot how to swaddle a baby. Thank goodness for Google lol

Thanks for stopping by. 


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