Having a baby in a German hospital

Yep, that means what you think it does! We have a new addition around these parts.

Isn’t he cute?

But this post isn’t really about him, but rather my experience in the German hospital where he was born.

The hospital where I delivered

The Delivery

I had a scheduled c-section, so I knew ahead of time when I would deliver. My husband and I showed up to Labor & Delivery (Krießal in German) at 7am on May 30th. They had given me beforehand these giant super tight thigh-high stockings to wear in, so I already had them on. I had a little bit of prep, then they started the surgery. The little guy was born at 8:23am, weighing 9 pounds, 3 ounces.

Things I liked:

  • the nurses, midwife, doctor, and anesthesiologist were super nice, and spoke great English
  • they put him on my chest almost immediately after delivery, and he got to stay there for several hours — he didn’t even get weighed or the APGAR test until he was a few hours old. In the states, they took the baby after delivery and I didn’t get to see them for a while.
  • they were very pro-breastfeeding
  • they let me eat immediately after the surgery, and my midwife even went and fetched me a tray of food from the cafeteria. I have a problem with nausea if I’m too hungry, so it was nice to not be on a stupid liquid diet for 12 hours.

Things I didn’t like: 

  • the hospital, like most of Europe, had no AC. And it was HOT. I don’t mind so much not having AC at home, because I can open windows and get a nice breeze. In the hospital, though, the rooms were stifling. Thankfully, a friend let me borrow a small fan and that made a huge difference. (Thanks Jennifer!)
  • those dumb stockings were so hot and itchy and they wouldn’t let me take them off the whole time I was in the hospital. They said they were to prevent embolism, but if it’s such a huge concern, then why don’t hospitals in the states do it too? I don’t get it.

The Recovery

A few hours after delivery, they moved me from L&D to another wing of the hospital where the mother/baby unit was located. I ended up staying 2 nights, but they were pushing me to stay the normal 4-6 days. However, I stood my ground and said I really wanted to leave, so they let me. Our insurance doesn’t cover the extra cost of getting a private room (I would have had a roommate, without so much as a privacy curtain). If you don’t have a private room, the father isn’t allowed to stay overnight either. So we decided to pay out of pocket for a private room. At this hospital it wasn’t that bad, €45 (about $60) per night, and that included meals for the father as well. I’ve heard that the other hospital in town charges over €400 per night, so that would have been inconceivable.

Things I liked:

  • again, the nurses were super nice and spoke fantastic English
  • they pretty much left me alone to care for my baby. Maybe that was because he’s my fourth one, but it was nice to not have them breathing down my neck about how to do things, as was the case when I had #3 in the states.
  • they weren’t constantly taking my pulse/blood pressure/ temperature like in the states. They actually left me alone all night, only coming in if I called for them.
  • if the little guy was sleeping and they needed to do something to him, they would request that I call them the next time he woke up instead of waking him up.
  • they allowed co-sleeping. In the states, whenever the nurses would catch me doing it, they’d insist that I put the baby back in the bassinet. But here, it was a-okay!
  • my room had a refrigerator, score!

Things I didn’t like: 

  • they only gave me ibuprofen. After a c-section. Seriously?
  • I was SOOOOOO bored. No internet, and only German tv channels. Thankfully, I had my ipod and I read a few Kindle books to keep from staring at the wall all day.
  • the food was awful. Breakfast and dinner consisted of a roll, a slice of meat and cheese, and a piece of fruit. I could have eaten 4 of those “meals” and still been hungry. Lunch was an actual meal, but still far from good. I ate it anyway because I was so hungry. My husband wants me to put a disclaimer here that he actually liked it, I’m just a picky eater.

Overall, I’m just glad the whole thing is over. Hospital stays are never fun, and it’s even scarier in a foreign country where things are different that what you are used to. But now we’re home!

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