On the night of March 19, I started feeling what felt like period cramps. Vivien’s due date was March 23, so I figure things may be getting set into motion. Chris and I had a friend’s farewell dinner we had planned on going to, and decided to just see through with the plans, as the pain was only slight discomfort at this point. The “cramps” got progressively worse through dinner, but I didn’t want to say anything because I didn’t want to take any attention off of our friend, who was deploying within the next couple of days. I figured I was in the beginning stages of labor even though my water hadn’t broke yet.
When I went home, I went to the bathroom and there was something left in the toilet. Chris googled “mucus plug”. FYI, don’t ever do that.
Now on my to do list was to call my grandmother, which my mother told me earlier in the day to do. I told her what was going on, and she told me that once you lose “the button” as she called it, the baby was going to come soon.
I told Chris to go to bed, I would wait for my contractions to get closer together and I would wake him up to take me to the hospital when I felt ready. I labored the whole night while watching Season 2 of the HBO show Girls. The contractions were intense, but never got really close together and consistent. I did have to stand up and bend over, holding the arms of the new recliner we had purchased as my nursing station for Vivi. I also sat on the pilates ball some. My main concern (which now looking back was pretty silly) was that I made it until 8am so that Chris could get the dogs to the kennel so that we wouldn’t have to worry about them after we checked into the hospital.
Did I mention that at this point I still had not decided whether or not I wanted to have the baby at the American Military Hospital in Landstuhl, or the German hospital in our town of Idar-Oberstein? We were prepped to do either. I was really hoping for a natural birth, which I felt the Germans supported and catered to more by even offering water births as an option, but I was scared about the language barrier. I had been going to my baby appointments at the American Hospital in Landstuhl, and they were perfectly fine, but I did have a different doctor every single visit, so I knew I didn’t necessarily have any sort of relationship with any specific doctor, but it would be familiar, and I knew everyone could speak English.
About 7am rolled around and contractions were super intense, I told Chris to get the dogs to the kennel and then we could go. He dropped the dogs off and came home. I took a bath to relieve some of the pain and Chris came into the bathroom. I was balling my eyes out because I still didn’t know which hospital I wanted to go to. BTW, nothing may be more humiliating then sitting in a tub with boobs, stacked on top of belly, on top of THIGHS, under fluorescent lights balling my eyes out in front of my husband. I gained sixty pounds when I was pregnant with V, and it pretty much looked like Freddy Krueger slashed my ass with my giant stretch marks.
I don’t remember how I made up my mind, but I knew I needed to make a decision. I had enough faith in what Chris called his “ook ook caveman German”.
“Ok, lets go to the German hospital.”
I checked in around 9am.
I kid you not, a nurse named Helga with hands like a lumberjack checked my dilation.
“You are a one, Miss LaCour.”
WTF!!!! A one? A mutha effin’ one?? I was in so much pain already. I asked the doctor if I should just go back home. She said that it seemed that I was in a lot of pain, so that I should stick around, and they would draw me a bath to try to relax in.
It took a while to get our room organized. In Germany, you can get a room with an extra bed, so that your spouse can stay in the room with you. You also stay in the hospital a minimum of three days after you have the baby. We went to the room, which only had one bed. Chris had to go back and get our paperwork organized to get the other room with two beds. In the mean time, I just hung out. When I had contractions it felt best for me to stand up and bend my body forward.
Did I mention there was no “weigh-in”, or having to put a hospital ID bracelet or gown on or anything like that?? I was walking around in my PJs and Uggs, and Chris was still walking around in his regular old clothes holding my Gatorade. They urged me to eat, while I waited for Chris but I couldn’t. I am mentioning these facts because I have had women stationed in Germany contact me asking about my experience, and I am assuming that these are some of the differences between the two hospitals. I’m not saying either is necessarily better than the other, just detailing my experience for others.
Eventually we got our other room. Then they put me in the bath.
Ladies, this is why I have no shame. Second time in the day for the husband assisted bath under fluorescent lights. I mean, I literally felt like a walrus!! Contractions were getting more and more intense. There was some blood, and a nurse checked me and wanted me to get out of the bath because Vivi’s head was positioned too far up on the cervix or something like that.
After I got out of the bath, I told Chris, “I don’t care what I told you, I think I want an epidural. This is just too intense.”
The nurse checked my dilation. Chris told her my feelings about the epidural.
The doctor responded. “Oooh, no, Miss LaCour. Wivien is coming…”
I missed the boat for the epidural. The universe has a way of handing us exactly what we want, lol. Also in German they pronounce their “V’s” like “W” sounds.
They pulled in one random nurse that knew a little bit of English. “Wivien is goot,” she said soothingly over and over as she held my hand.
Here is where everything gets pretty hazy. I didn’t know how much time passed, or what other people were doing in the room. I went to this primal place where all I was in tune with was birthing my baby.
Towards the end of the labor, the doc told me that they had to give me some Pitocin to help get Vivi down. I remember this being the most painful part of the labor, however, it is so true what they say, you don’t remember the pain AT ALL. However, I do remember telling Chris I needed to bite something, and he being the loving husband that he is, told me just to bite him!!! I didn’t, or it most definitely been a Mike Tyson vs Evander Holyfield situation, and I would have left the hospital with a baby and a husband with one ear.
My water broke three pushes before she came out!!!
They asked if I wanted to feel the head as she was coming out, and I will be honest and admit I didn’t want to because that freaked me out.
Before I knew it, my baby girl was on my chest. Time stood still for a moment. She still had not even let out her first cry. I watched her open her eyes for the first time. It may be the most peaceful, miraculous moment I have ever witnessed or been a part of. There are no words for the feeling that I felt in that moment.
The only way I can even try to explain it is that, to me, having a baby is truly witnessing a miracle take place. Whatever doubts you may have are gone, and you truly feel one step closer to God.
Vivi let out a cry a few moments after she opened her little eyes.
Later on Chris told me I only pushed for around ten minutes.
The nurse asked us if we wanted “Wivien’s” placenta, that sometimes people plant it with an “affel” (apple) tree. What?? No thanks.
The nurses took Vivi and did the tests and weighed her and brought her back to me bundled up like a little Eskimo. Right after that, the nurse snapped the pic at the top of the post which is the very first picture we have of her.
I have enjoyed reminiscing and writing this post. I hope you enjoy it too. If new mamas or mamas to be have any questions, feel free to private message me. I kept this post pretty PG. Love and light……