Tuesday, 25 April 2017

March - the month we've been waiting for

Oh, March! The month we've been waiting for for the last 9 months! 

The month was basically spent waiting for baby to arrive... and up until her due date I don't really know what we did because my SD card crashed and without photos I can't remember...
She was due on the 12th of March. Only 4% of babies arrive on their due-dates, so we were pretty sure that was the date she wasn't coming. Still, the night before, we went out for dinner together at a restaurant with a view of Marburg's cathedral, and then wandered through the city.

Pregnancy in Germany is really well monitored, and once I reached my due date I had check-ups scheduled for every second day for the next ten days. This meant that, since my due date was on a Sunday and doctors practices are closed, I needed to go to the hospital for a check-up. Everything looked good so afterwards we went for coffee at Spiegelslust Turm since it is so close by, and then walked into the city.

The check-ups were appreciated, but also tedious, especially when the baby would move around and I'd have to constantly squirm the CTG thingy around to keep her heart monitored. When I needed them at the hospital then they were even more tedious because I couldn't make an appointment. I would have to phone and ask if the next hour would be ok, and if not, keep calling until it was quiet enough for me to go in. One Saturday I kept calling labour & delivery, and they kept saying to wait an hour. Since bus connections from home to the hospital are so poor on weekends, we walked around the city and ended up waiting in the chemistry lab and Malcolm could do work to kill time until we could finally go (the chemistry dept is across the road from the hospital). It was a long day and we had a rather late night because the bus connection was so bad.

Once the due-date came & went, I mostly spent my days google-searching induction methods, reading birth stories... scaring myself that something awful had happened, and going for walks. Lots and lots of walks.

I also tried some less tried-and-tested methods of induction. Like baking cookies with pink sprinkles and whispering to my baby how good it is out here. I also baked cupcakes and invited friends over for tea, hoping that by celebrating her birthday she'd take the hint. We played motivating songs (the final countdown, gotta get out of this place, I want to break free...), but nothing worked.

At 10 days over-due I had an appointment for induction. 
I spent the day before the scheduled induction bursting into tears at random moments, until I decided that it just didn't feel right and called the hospital to cancel. They said I should come in anyway for a check-up the next morning. 
So bright and early we were there. They checked on the baby, and she was doing fine. Amniotic fluid was getting lower, but that's to be expected and it wasn't dangerously so. The doctor was obliged by hospital policy to tell me the risks and advise me to begin induction that day. When I said I don't want to (because there was no medical need to, and, to me, the risks of complications due to induction weren't yet worth it), she called another doctor. The next doctor repeated the information - that I was putting our baby's life at risk and that I would be taking a chance that the placenta ruptures and the baby dies. I felt terrible. I was terrified. I felt bullied, sitting on the bed under so much pressure. But a sympathetic midwife and Malcolm both supported me in waiting a couple days. It was so stressful and one of the scariest, most intimidating moments I've experienced. I know that they were doing their jobs and telling me what they needed to, but those days over-due were some of the most stressful and emotionally draining.
We left the hospital, knowing that the next day I would have to go back and hear the same thing again. This time it was some really important doctor who we needed to see in his fancy office - it felt like we'd been sent to the principal's office - who again warned us of the risks, even though we'd made it clear that we were prepared for induction but only the following day.
Feeling like naughty kids, we left the hospital again and went into the city for lunch and a stroll along the river to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Then it was time to go home and pack my bags for the hospital the next day.

On the 24th, a beautiful Spring day, we were up early, excited and nervous to get to the hospital.

 We were prepared for induction to take up to 3 days, plus a 3 night stay in hospital once the baby was there. We prayed that it wouldn't take long, and God certainly answered our prayer! 

Our sweet little Enid Elise was born that evening after 4 hours of labour. 
It was an incredible experience with such a supportive and encouraging midwife and student! I was able to relax and trust them, knowing that they knew what was best for me and Enid, and they had great suggestions and advice. Even when the room became quite full with doctors that needed to be called, it was concerning, but I knew we were in good hands. Malcolm was the very best, holding my hands through every contraction (except one, where he'd gone to get a camera because we'd left everything in a different room) and reassuring me the whole way. 
As we left the delivery ward, Malcolm pushed the button to light up the heart in the hospital and it glowed for an hour for our little one. 

After 2 nights in hospital, we came home with our teeny tiny baby. It felt unreal, but so good to be home. 

Recovery has been quick and having a midwife come daily in that first week was an enormous help! We're also sooo thankful for friends who brought us dinners or just came to see us and share our excitement and tell us how beautiful our baby is.
Enid is the sweetest baby and we're so glad we get to be her parents!

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