30 January 2012

Having a Baby in Germany, Part I

This is the first of a two part series on my experiences with child birth in a foreign country. I promise to not give too many details.

Having a baby, you would think is pretty much the same in every country. This was not my experience. First, I need you to see the most gorgeous little girl ever here. She was my third, and I wasn't exactly over the moon to be expecting again. Alas, I am completely in love now.

As far as OB care goes I was very happy. I chose the doctor that I had heard the most about. In Mannheim. In Heidelberg. Personal reference is best. I saw Dr. Lauk, whose office is only a stone's throw away from that water tower up there. (Be advised that his website is 90% correct English, but him and at least one of his staff speak impeccable English) You can also find him here, although I would caution you against reading this page's FAQs while pregnant. It may induce uncontrollable crying while at work. Interesting though.

Let me give you a bit of my history: 1st child born early b/c of preeclampsia, 2nd baby born late and almost 10 pounds. Not a good track record. Because of situation 1 I  had about 6-7 ultrasounds (and they still had the sex wrong). This, to me, was a lot! Baby 2 I had the normal American ultrasounds: one to confirm the pregnancy and one at 20 weeks to see things like the lungs and the heart chambers. This is about the most a 'normal' pregnancy would get in the US. He had a lot of breathing problems when he was born though.

In the spirit of honesty, I was very angry to find out I was pregnant this go around. I was alone and finally getting my career back on track too (infinitely more difficult than I ever imagined). Who would want to bring a child into an already bad situation? So, I was about 12 weeks when I went to see my doctor. I felt comfortable almost immediately . They did a urine test - for a whole lot more than a bladder infection - and the normal weight/blood pressure check. This actually surprised me - they put me in an office to meet him before the exam. Why was this strange? We went over my medical history then he did the normal well woman exam minus the breast exam (also strange). He gave me an abdominal ultrasound.

This is where it gets weird. He said he wanted to see me back in 3 weeks. I assumed this was b/c I tried to pretend that it wasn't happening and my mental state was just not good. The next time I was there the same thing: ultrasound and see you in 3 weeks. On my third visit I decided that I should inquire about this strangeness. He told me that anything less was just not enough. I thought this was great. I have an -un-American appreciation for conservative health care.

Fast forward to the fall: my stubborn child was breech. OMG, I was so scarred. I remember sitting in his office in mental overload. On that day I had also gotten some really bad news about my son's genetic vision loss. After everything that happened to me in 2011 I could not take anymore. I was terrified about this child having issues too. I desperately wanted something to go right for me.

Now, I had heard that German doctors do not deliver babies, midwives do. As you can see here that is not true for this guy.  To say that I was terrified of having another child with potential problems was an understatement. When he was trying to explain to me how the birth would happen I remember watching him, but not hearing him. I did make him promise that he would be there for me when it was time. He did this without any hesitation. I literally could not think, so it took a couple days for the barrage of questions to flood my mind. He had given me his handy number and told me to call if I needed to talk. I called and still only felt a fraction better. Being told on Friday that you would be birthing a breech baby on Monday is a LONG time to be inside your own head. However, I trusted my physician, and this made me feel good about a less than ideal situation.


  1. You're baby is gorgeous. I hope things go better for you and your family in 2012. Look forward to reading part 2.

  2. Thank you! I loved your kids room. It looks like it came out of a catalogue. I hope you don't care, but I need that clock!!

  3. Wow, and how does the story end? Totally in suspense for part ii!

    1. I hope that you plan to share your story!

  4. I don't mind at all. I know a lot of people who have gotten that clock now. :)


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