Friday, September 14, 2007

Baby Becoming a Big Boy

Look at all those teeth!!!

Amazingly, a lot was accomplished again today. Gerard worked a few hours in the morning before we went to our Neufahrn house to do a walk-through of the property. There are still quite a few things that need to be fixed, but I'm sure they'll be done before we decide to officially move in. Besides, we still won't have our furniture for a while. In fact, the landlord is going to let us borrow an old table and chairs until our furniture arrives. We also met another tenant who lives on the property. His name is Marcus and his wife's name is Stefanie. They are also expecting (their first child- a girl) in two weeks. Maybe we'll be able to make some connections with this couple and have another family close enough to hang out with now and then.

After lunch Gerard returned to work for a few hours and Gerrit took a nap while I called on some midwives. I needed to set up an hebamme (midwife) to handle my post-natal. Here, your insurance will pay for up to ten home visits from a midwife. The midwife will check on you and the baby and answer any questions you have. Apparently, if there are any post-natal complications, the insurance will extend hebamme visits for up to eight weeks. I think this is super cool, and very different than anything you'd find in the U.S. In the States, I feel like they really just dump you out of the hospital and you're on your own after a few days. It appears that care is much more supportive of new mothers here.

I found an hebamme right in Neufahrn where we will live, and as luck would have it she speaks English. Her name is Regina. She is married to an American and has one son, and one on the way (due December). She said she was planning to stop working in October, but agreed to do my post-natal care if at all possible before her baby is born. She is German and from talking to her, she reminds me a lot of Stefanie Wachter. Regina is fairly direct in her approach and not afraid to express her opinions, and she definitely has them. I appreciate this approach because as I told her, I am not a calm patient. I ask a lot of questions and do much better when people answer me honestly and directly, and let me know what they are going to do before doing it. I have some friends back in the States who had babies and said they didn't want to know anything about what was going on other than if it would hurt. I am exactly the opposite in this regard. Tell me everything. Even if I can't change it, I will have some idea what to expect. Believe it or not, that approach puts me more at ease. Anyhow, I think I'll like this gal.

I also asked Regina about any pre-birth classes I might be able to take. Even though I have had a baby before and most second-timers don't repeat classes, I thought I'd feel better if I had the chance to take some classes here. I can either take classes at a location (although we're getting close to delivery) or hire a mid-wife to come to my home and do one-on-one sessions. This, you normally have to pay for, but the midwife told me that if my gynecologist writes a prescription for a pre-birth class due to language problems, the insurance will cover it. I see the gynecologist again on Monday so I will ask her.

This evening we finally made it to the hospital to view the Labor and Delivery ward, as well as the ICU unit. The hospital I've chosen is more of a birthing clinic, really (although the hospital now also handles some plastic surgery for men and women). The difference with this birthing clinic, though, is that although their focus is natural vaginal deliveries with midwives, they also have doctors who can also handle c-sections, epidurals, and some critical care for the babies. That was important to me. Unlike regular hospitals, the clinic is very small as it only really focuses on gynecology and obstetrics. There are only five labor and delivery rooms. At this particular clinic, it looks like many of the midwives speak at least a bit of English, so I'm hoping all goes smoothly.
Waiting for our tour at the clinic

Everything we get accomplished makes me feel a bit less stressed. Obviously, I still have a long way to go with this, but at least at this point, things seem to be headed in the right direction. My next tasks will be to find someone to take care of Gerrit during the labor and delivery, settle the documentation for the baby's citizenship, purchase a few things needed immediately for our house rental, and find school/nursery/mommy-and-me programs for Gerrit and/or Gerrit and me. I'd like to begin language classes at some point, but I'm not sure if this will happen before the baby arrives. We're taking baby steps toward my becoming more comfortable, but at least we're making progress.Outside the clinic

I contacted a partial day English-speaking preschool in Garching. They seem pretty flexible in their scheduling, so I'm thinking of sending Gerrit there one or two days a week sometimes. I mentioned that I'm a teacher and asked if I could help out a bit before the baby was born to help Gerrit adjust. Although I was expecting a bit of reservation about this, she immediately jumped on the idea and said she would greatly appreciate any and all help I could provide, and would even allow Gerrit to attend those sessions free of charge as a gesture of thanks. When I told Gerard about this his response was, "Wow, she must be really desperate." No, not that my expertise might be valuable to her, but she is desperate. Yes, another Gerard comment that I'm sure was not meant to be an insult but somehow came out that way. :-) He seems to have a knack for saying things that are intended as compliments but come out sounding really bad... like the time I tried to get him to watch "The Bachelor" with me and tried to entice him by telling him there were 25 really hot women on the show. He looked at me and said, "But I don't want to look at hot women, I just want to look at you." Yes, yes, I know what he meant, but you see how it might be interpreted differently. :-)


At September 14, 2007 at 3:05 PM , Blogger Anastasia L said...

He's been spending too much time with David - foot-in-mouth disease in contagious.

The helping out at preschool idea sounds great - good luck!

At September 14, 2007 at 3:06 PM , Blogger Gerard van Belle said...

Yeah, yeah, I was impressed with how quickly Steph's obvious talents and charm won over Leonie (the day care gal), not that she was DESPERATE to take any stray cat off the street to watch over the kids. Leonie had mentioned that someone earlier hadn't worked out - "You know, she was lacking in, say, common sense," she said. So clearly Steph was a step in the right direction! :P

At September 14, 2007 at 5:14 PM , Blogger jeri said...

Hi Steph, My name is Jeri and my husband and I live in the same apt complex as your dad. He gave me your blog to read, and I am facinated with your experiences. I don't think I would have had your courage. Sounds like things are progressing well. Gerrit is a beautiful little boy. I am an RN and I am especially interested in your medical experiences, and how things are different in Germany. Your Dad and Fox come over about every night and I try to find something for them to snack on. He has been so nice to us and has helped us with a lot of things. We call him "our son". He is doing well with his classes and think he is getting the army stuff straighted out. Take care. Jeri and Larry Kelley

At September 15, 2007 at 12:20 AM , Blogger vicki suraci said...

Wow, It sounds like lots of progress. This whole baby birthing thing may just turn out better than doing in the old American way! Can't way to see you guys. Gerrit already looks older (what is it, 12 days already?) mom

At September 15, 2007 at 9:47 PM , Blogger wendi said...

gerrit looks adorable! glad to hear you found somewhere for him to go to school :)


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