August 02, 2008,
L.I. asks from APO, AE on July 28, 2008
Need a 'TO-DO' List for Pregnancy/delivery in Stuttgart, Germany
I have a wave of new questions to post and I know that the advice of other moms here can help me through this time. I am 13 weeks pregnant with our first child and am a PLANNER. Having never done this in the states, I am a little lost about what needs to be done prior to delivering this bundle - especially here, where the hospital system is different. Do I do pre-admission at our desired hospital? Should I schedule a tour? Which hospital is good? How much say do I get in the delivery method and what I want? Who delivers? Do they speak English well? I have lots of questions and would like a basic 'to-do' list from a mom who's given birth over here. I just need some guidelines for what I need to be doing and preparing for this baby. I know the women here are so supportive and I know you will give me TONS of advice about how to manage this event with style and grace. Thanks in advance!
D.S. answers from Stationed Overseas on July 30, 2008
Looks like they covered everything! I delivered in July 06 in BadNauheim had an awesome OB and delivery. My ob spoke perfect english but not so much in the hospital.
If you have any questions feel free to ask.
S.A. answers from Stationed Overseas on July 29, 2008
My best advice is no matter how hard you plan once it starts relax if your plan is not going the way you saw it in your head..No matter what remeber to breathe you have no idea how that saves you that moment..I have heard amazing things about water births if you can check into it I would.Write down any concerns and questions for the doc and try to keep a journal..it helps..Good luck S. A
R.J. answers from El Paso on July 29, 2008
Hey, I'm just like you as far as the planning things go so I'll try to help you out as much as I can. If I don't hit something specifically, you can always send me a message with another question.
Hubby and I took the mommy and daddy bootcamp class through ACS. It was a few weeks worth of classes and was really informative especially about having a baby in your community. Near the end, we did have a class on breathing and birthing positions but it wasn't in depth. Just the basics but it was still good.
Since you're 13 wks, if you haven't already been to your first pre-natal appt. get prepared. If you're recommended to a German doctor off post, just know they do things really different. Not in a bad way, just in a European way. They don't care about modesty as much as Americans do and so most of the time, they don't give you anything to cover up with i.e. a gown. It took me a couple of visits but I soon got used to having just my t-shirt and socks as the only things I wore during exams. I learned quickly to wear long shirts on those days. From my experience and those around me, you get an ultrasound every time you go in which is pretty cool. The first 6 or 7 months you go in 1x a month, the 8th month 2x a month, and the last month usually 1x a week until you deliver. Depending on how your pregnancy goes, this could all change.
My doctor spoke very good English and was very nice. Anytime I had questions or problems, he answered them. Even if I called in. The nurses/secretaries also spoke English well and helped out greatly. They mostly did the work like taking urine and blood samples, giving shots, or things like that. The doctor gave the examination and talked.
I took my husband to maybe half of my appts. After the second one, he wasn't so excited 'cause he expected more baby to be there every time, lol.
As far as the hospital goes, you'll have to get in touch with Tri-care at the clinic. They'll let you know which hospitals in your area are the ones Americans usually deliver at. The liaisons that work there give the tours so you'll set that up with them. Ours gave a tour once a week. They'll show you the ins and outs of the hospital, the delivery rooms, the maternity ward, all the important places. It's good to take hubby on that tour if he can make it. Mine didn't go, so as I was in labor, I had to give directions going through the hospital and trying not to make too much noise as we went up to the delivery ward, lol. Craziness! Now our liaison told us we didn't have to pre-register because there was no need but when I went in to deliver, the hospital made my husband go down and do it then. It only took about 20 min but that didn't make me a very happy camper at all. I highly recommend doing it before hand.
Since the same doctor that does all of your appts will not be the same one that delivers you, I was a bit worried because it wasn't like I could talk a birth plan with anyone. For most German hospitals, mid-wives and nurses are the ones that are with you during labor. The doctor only came in when my son was almost out. The liaison gave me the recommendation of
who she thought the best mid-wife was there and I was lucky enough to get her when I went in that day. They spoke very good English and were very helpful.
There were several types of delivery rooms at the hospital I delivered in. I was in the one with a jacuzzi but my L&D went so fast, I didn't have time for that. Not sure what you're birth plan or how natural you want to go, but I've been told German women see it as a rite of passage to have their babies with little to no medicine if at all possible. My mid-wife asked me when I first went in what I wanted to do as far as pain medication went and I told her let's try something light before we get to the heavy duty stuff. My plan was to only ask for what I needed and near the end, I NEEDED it! However, my mid-wife just kept telling me that I was doing okay and to keep pushing, lol. She said she gave me something through my IV but if she indeed did, it didn't help one bit. My hubby said the bag only said oxygenated water. From the time I hit the delivery room until I delivered was only 2 and a half hours but it was long enough. I transitioned so fast I really didn't have time for any strong pain medicine or an epidural. Which I know they do give because other friends of mine have gotten them. I attribute my fast delivery to working out and being active all during my pregnancy.
The stay in the hospital was nice. They keep you in there alot longer than in the states. I delivered early Thursday evening and they released us Sunday afternoon. The accomodations were nice. I shared a room with an Italian lady that didn't speak a lick of English but she was nice! We just smiled and gestured. You can sometimes request a private room depending on how full they are. Check with Tri-care because sometimes they make you pay extra for that. You get 3 meals a day but these are typical German meals. I usually ate breakfast but I would have hubby bring me the other two. I wasn't to keen on what they were serving 'cause it just different and I am picky.
They let the baby stay with you most of the time unless they need to check their vitals or take blood. Anytime you want to put the baby in the nursery so you can rest, walk around, shower, eat, etc. you can. They'll bring them to you when they're ready to eat.
Like another poster said, they don't really bathe the babies so I had hubby bring me baby soap and a washcloth and I wiped him down the 2nd day to get all the residue off. Make sure to also bring all of your tolietries. You'll have a toilet and sink in your room but usually somewhere in the hallway you'll have showers you can use. Oh yeah, they didn't give me a gown to deliver in so I ended up wearing my own big t-shirt which was fine 'cause please believe, that will be the last thing you're worried about. I packed a couple pair of comfortable jogging pants, t-shirts and slippers to wear around the hospital. They do give you all the disposable underwear and heavy duty pads you can ask for so you don't have to worry about that.
Overall my whole experience was wonderful. I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. I'm a roll with the punches kinda girl so I was up for the adventure and unexpected. I'm pregnant now but not sure we'll still be in Germany for this baby to be born. I would say my best way to combat any of the unknowns was to read. I spent countless hours on the internet and bought a couple of baby books that I really liked. They were 2 I had never heard of but they did wonders for me. I pretty much knew everything about everything there is to know about being pregnant and having a baby and being informed really helped me through the whole process especially being overseas and not near any family.
E.S. answers from Stationed Overseas on August 02, 2008
read your two posts. I am from Stuttgart married to an American. I had my son in Sindelfingen but they don't do deliveries anymore. I can help you with some questions you might have just because I grew up in Stuttgart and we live here now again since last summer. In order to help you more with your two questions you have to tell me your insurance issue--I know contractors are a bit different than military active duty and then we'll go from there to get you all the answers you need. Just post back to me if you'd like my help. I live in Echterdingen--only about 10 min from you.
P.S. I had our 8 year old son in SC so I even know the difference between two different countries when it comes to deliveries and drs.
J.B. answers from Stationed Overseas on July 29, 2008
I just had my baby May 4th. But I had her in the Netherlands. What happend with me is my Dr. scheduled me a tour of the hospital and I had her @ the hospital he worked @. As in what to bring your going to need to bring a shirt like a long one and one u can get blood on. I had my daughter by c section so I didnt need it but I brought it. They dont give you gowns here like they do in the states youll also need a towel, all ur bathing stuff clothes for the baby and maybe some baby soap. I heard in Germany they dont wash your baby right away so you can bring those disposable washcloths. I mean Im sure they wipe them but as for a bath I dunno. I know my German friend had her baby and her hubby told me that they put them in this bath but its deep and they just hold there head above water its weird LOL But you will need the car seat of course and diaper bag all that good stuff. I dont know if you need like info about at home or what but Ill tell ya some things i forgot to get that I needed LOL I forgot to order a bassinett and our PX sux really bad here and they dont have any so we had to go with a pack and play but it also had a changing table on it so it worked out and I still use it.I dunno if your going to breast or bottle feed but for breast feeding I have no clue but if you bottle feed youll need 4 oz bottles and 8 or 9 oz ones also. I found a microwave bottle ____@____.com its awesome! It doesnt take for ever only 5 mins in the microwave. But I cant think of anything else so if I rambled a little bit Im sorry LOL I hope I helped a little bit :) Congrats on ur baby!! and Good Luck :)
M.B. answers from Stationed Overseas on July 29, 2008
Ok, it's been a little while (my daughter is 6) but I did have her in Germany (Schweinfurt) I did have german health insurance at the time though. I would contact the PCM and see when you will be seeing a OB-GYN or if you will be seeing a german OB. IF you do see a german OB ask him anything that comes to mind, what hospital he usually delivers, what options of delivery they have (usually nowadays they even offer water-birth) and if there are midwives there that speak english. My husband was very surprised how efficient they were while I was giving birth (I had a tear inside my uterus and had to be knocked out to be stiched up after I gave birth, so my husband was able to spend the first 2 hours of our daughters life with her - which was great for him as he deployed 2 weeks later!) you should be able to take a tour of the labor and delivery ward and see what is going on.
Also look for lamaze classes from the us side (I am assuming you don't speak a lot of german!?)
You usually get to decide how you will deliver, unless you are in dire emergency and they have to do a c-section. Not sure if you can schedule a c-section for other then medical reasons (if that is what you want!)
When I was having contractions, my husband just got me in the car and drove mew to the hospital, yes I did take a tour before but that was with the german lamaze group, no paperwork filled out at all then. Not quite sure how that will work with the US insurance. Ask your insurance company, they should know the paperwork part....
AS what do bring to the hospital, enough undies for about a week (usually you will stay in a german hospital for about 5-7 days for normal (vaginal) birth, longer for c-section or complications. I would definitly recommend tostay all those days, just to get used to the mom thing! THey usually also have a lactation specialist (with me it was out nighttime nurse who helped me out so much!) Make sure to let them know for the beginning if you plan to nurse or bottle feed.
In our hospital I didn't need any baby clothes until the day we left. They also cleaned her, and on day 2 or 3 they showed me how to give her a bath with the umbiblical cord stub attached. They showed me how to change diapers, how to dress her, etc. If you plan to nurse, make sure to bring some wide tops (dont recommend the "nursing tops", didn't work for me at all! or a button up PJ top. get some nursing bras shortly before the birth or have hubby get some once your milk came in, cuz them girls will get even bigger then what they are during pregnancy! (before birth I was a 38 C after birth I was a 42 DD) have your toiletries with you, maybe some pads (the softer the better, they might also have some in the hospital, ours did and they were softer than any I ever found!) Also remember to have some Euros so you can get yourself some munchies at the kiosk or something to drink! REmember that in German hospitals lunch is the main food of the day, breakfast is usually bread, brotchen and jam, cheese, meats, with coffee (not recommended if you nurse) and teas, and dinner is usually a small platter with cheese/meat/bread/etc
WEll I hope I was of some help, you can contact me privately if you want to, for any questions that might arise!
my private email is ____@____.com
Take care and enjoy your pregnancy!
G.L. answers from Stationed Overseas on July 28, 2008
For a light-hearted, but seriously informing read about pregnancy ... buy yourself a copy of "The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy". It will be of no help for your "local" planning ... but an enormous help overall!
Congratulations. And good luck!