02 February 2012

Having a Baby in Germany, Part II

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.

I feel that I received good care during my pregnancy. The care that I received, or did not receive, at the hospital was less than what I expected. We have lived here for a number of years, and only once before had I had a bad experience with German health care. Looking back, I think it was more the unfavorable diagnosis I got than the doctor.

If you remember my baby was breech so I was going to be induced. What I expected was to be induced, have the baby around the afternoon. I am so grateful for short labors! I had an induction in the US with my first child. This is how it happened: got the medicine at 6, water broke at 10, baby at 2 pm. This is about what I expected. For all you Americans: Have you ever heard of an induction not working? Me either, until I moved here. For two days I was given drugs, had contractions and nothing happened. On the second day I walked 7 miles (I have a good pedometer) while having contractions. All in my back. Seriously, if you have never experienced this you do not want to. Ever. Pain is one thing, but to not get anything in return is absurd. And hell.

One the second morning my dr can to see me. Nothing was happening, so we decided to try a different drug. The plan was that if nothing happened by noon then we would not continue. I did not want to put my child in danger or to make her come if she was not ready. In the US doctors make decisions, period. They outrank nurses and midwives, every time. Imagine my surprise when he came in and told me that the midwife would not allow this. WTF? My dr, midwife and the other one (what business did she even have there?) all came in to discuss what was not going to happen. Her reasoning was that the baby’s head was not engaged. Of course not, I was being induced 2 weeks early. Then the dr and midwife proceeded to argue. Nice.

I wanted to be induced b/c 1) I was already there and had a whole day of painful contractions 2) my labors are really short; if it happened at home there would be no way for me to make it to a hospital in time for the birth 3) my kids’ father was there to be with the older two while I was in the hospital 4) if he was not there then my kids would have had to go to foster care 5) at this point it was safe to induce. I do not for one second think that Dr Lauk would have wanted to induce if it was not safe. I felt that he also had the baby’s well-being in mind.

After the arguing stopped I had the choice of 1) go home and have to put my boys in foster care or 2) try a more conservative approach and if it didn’t work I would still have to stay at the hospital. At this point I remember my dr telling me “Mrs Cunrod, I can assure you that no one in this room is concerned at all about your other children.” I started to cry and could not believe that they wanted me to choose between my boys and the unborn baby. What happened to taking care of me? Why were my needs not being met? How could putting me through this kind of stress be good for the baby? I did not expect them to care about my kids, but I did expect them to care about me. Why was I not important to my health care providers?

I chose to stay. I was in pain. I walked 7 miles (11km), in pain. Nothing. I think that I was crying for most of the time that I was at that hospital. One the third day my dr came and I was at 1 cm. I was not going to take anymore drugs and I was not going to stay any longer. Until my water broke. Thank God.

Labor started after about an hour and a half, and she came 37 minutes later. Too fast. Neither the baby daddy nor the mid wife listened when I was telling them she was coming. The dr walked in about 5 minutes later. After she was here I remember thinking thank God that it was over and the boys would be fine.

We got a tour of the placenta. After this I was thankful I chose engineering over nursing in college. :) I was holding her on my chest and she was so tiny: 8 pounds, 20 inches long and absolutely perfect. I had waited 8 years for her. How was I ever upset for getting prego? She was planned, just not by me. She had the cutest chubby cheeks and spikey hair (still does too). All was right in the world. For an hour or two.

I know I promised a 2 part series, but the postpartem care that I did not recieve is worth its own post.


  1. Wow that sounds hellish. Glad you made it through. I have heard other stories of inductions not working so well though (from folks in the US) so you are not alone on that count!

    1. I guess that's what I get for thinking I knew what I was doing just b/c I had two kids already.

  2. awful, awful, awful. I'm so sorry to read this after it happened.


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