Childbirth––In Your Life and Around the World

The personal birthing experience that I am going to tell about is the birth of my daughter. I love my daughter with all my heart but my pregnancy with her was not a pleasant experience. After my pregnancies with the boys I was not worried about being pregnant again. I never got sick with the boys and did not gain an excessive amount of weight. I have been told the stories or old wives tales that girls make you sicker than boys. Well, my daughter made up for the boys not making me sick. Roughly about two weeks after I found out I was pregnant I was in the emergency room. From this point on for the next nine months I was in and out of the hospital with hyperemesis gravidarum. When you have this condition you are told to avoid spicy foods but the only thing that I was able to hold down at times was pepperoni. Of course this is something that my daughter loves. I finally started to gain weight in the last month of my pregnancy. Despite all of my misery she had been healthy the entire time. All the test and image studies showed that she was continuing to develop and her weight was good. I was scared and did everything that the doctor told me to. This is the only pregnancy that I followed the doctor’s orders with no hesitation or variation.

During this entire time my employer was very understanding and allowed me to work when I was able to. Which was not very often and I worked third shift by myself. One night in January I was helping to train a new staff member and I received a phone call from a stranger that my husband had been in a car accident. Of course it was snowing and the route he takes is all downhill. He hit a patch of ice and slide into a telephone pole. My boss happened to be a friend and stopped by to check on me. He took me to the hospital. When we got there the staff already familiar with who I was became more worried about me than him. I was starting to have contractions brought on by the stress. My daughter was not due until April. I got scared and started to panic which of course did not help me or my husband. In the end we both left the hospital that night and I was not allowed to work for the rest of my pregnancy.

After a few more trips to the hospital because of dehydration, my due date came and went. She was due on Good Friday (so was her brother). We joked about her coming on a day that was inconvenient for everyone and this is exactly what she did. My dad said she would decide to grant us with her presence on Wednesday because he had three trucks coming in to unload, my sister was student teaching that day, my husband had inventory…I think you get the point. Well, on Wednesday April 18, 2001 my daughter decided it was time to join us. That morning I woke up not feeling well and had lost my mucous plug. I called the doctor and he said not to worry it could still be hours or days before I delivered especially since I was not having contractions. My sister was attending Cleveland State, so I called and asked if she could arrange to spend the day with me. My husband also decided to call it an early day (morning). About 11a.m. I was getting hungry and craving Taco Bell. I finally convinced my husband to go get me some, which was about 10 minutes away. My sister and I were sitting on the couch talking and I had to use the bathroom. I started to walk down the hall and had a contraction so strong it made me drop to my knees. My son was following me and went and got my sister who helped me back to the couch. I sat down and had another contraction, looked at my sister and told her they were too strong. I called the doctor’s office and they said they would alert the doctor and when my contractions were 5 minutes apart to come to the hospital. I hung up told my sister what they said and she told me she was not delivering my baby. I stopped laughing and informed her that my water had just broken and then I had another really strong contraction; it was 11:40am. After that contraction she called 911, the dispatcher had her check for the baby’s head and was telling me not to push, help was on the way. I did not care what the lady on the phone was saying I had to push. My daughter was born in my living room at 12:05pm. I do not remember when my husband came in. He says he walked in behind the paramedics just in time to see her born. My older two boys said that they went to their rooms. My youngest son now knows that babies do not come out of your belly button. He was in my sister’s arms watching his sister born.

We sat in the ambulance in front of my house for what seemed like the longest time. My daughter’s heart rate dropped and they had to stabilize her before transporting us. Once we arrived at the hospital they rushed her in and I did not see her for a couple of hours. Needless to say after a long, miserable pregnancy she was healthy. They said the trauma of being born at home and taken out into the cold air caused her heart rate to drop. We were all surprised that after being so sick and gaining the bare minimum weight she was my biggest baby, weighing 8lbs 3ozs.

I chose to look at how giving birth in Germany differs from in the United States. I was interested because my son was born in Landsthul, Germany in 1995 in a military hospital.  After researching the differences I am glad that at that point in my life I had the benefit of the military hospital, I was 18 years old. In Germany, mothers do not participate in their medical care decisions as much as Americans do. Much of the information mothers receive is from the Apotheke (pharmacy) and not from their doctor. Many children are delivered by a Hebamme (midwife). There is very little privacy when going for your examinations. You are not given gowns to change into and usually there is no changing room and the doctor may not even leave the room. Hospital stays are also a lot longer than those in the United States. For a vaginal delivery the average stay is 7 days and for a Caesarean Section you could stay up to 14 days. This is a lot longer than the average stay in the United States. One other major difference is that many hospitals do not have a full pediatric hospital so if there is a problem or the baby is premature they will be transported to the closest Kinderklinik. You will not be with your baby during this time because you will remain where you gave birth.

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