This week we had an appointment at the hospital where I'd like to give birth. You don't have to register, they would accept you if you were to just show up but it's nice if you can go there beforehand. We met one of the midwives who filled out a form with medical history, information about the pregnancy and my birth plan wishes. I said I'd like low intervention, hopefully even a water birth, delayed cord clamping and skin to skin bonding. They seemed really open to my ideas. Whether I'll be able to have a water birth will depend on if the room with the birthing pool is available at the time. We also requested a family room to stay in after (it costs 75€ extra per night) and that would also depend on availability.
The midwife answered my questions, was really friendly and left us both with a good impression of the place. Afterwards we were able to get a tour of the birthing suites, apart from one room which was in use. We could hear a newborn baby crying as we went past and it made me feel quite emotional! And a little overwhelmed, like oh my gosh, do we know what we are in for?! I hope we can handle everything. Seeing the birthing rooms also made it all feel very real and I did feel a bit nervous to be honest!
This week I met up with the girls from my birth preparation course for lunch and there were six of this there this time. It was really nice. I felt a little shy at times about speaking German, I still get that way with new people sometimes even though I've lived here over seven years now however at one stage they commented that my German is really good and they love my accent which made me feel more confident.
It's been a busy week between one thing and another! I met up with several friends, organized the things in the baby room, did some housework and relaxed when I had time. Next week my Dad is visiting which is great. Once I get to 38 weeks I intend to not plan as many social things as pretty much anytime between week 38 and week 42 I could go into labour and I'd like to start winding down a little and resting before the baby comes!
I also had my baby shower this week. It was great! I definitely felt loved and spoilt. Two american friends of mine here threw it for me and did a lovely job. There were about ten of us there altogether and everyone got on really well. There were some onesies, bibs and nappies that people could decorate and write messages on. It was such a lovely afternoon. I was also overwhelmed by all the lovely presents we got and so many people wrote us lovely messages in their cards about how happy they are for us and how they can't wait to meet our little one.
Early this week I went to Schwangerschaftsgymnastik "pregnancy gymnastics". That was run by the centre where my "Hebamme" (midwife/doula) works. I would probably describe it as a mixture between gentle aerobics and yoga. At the beginning we had to introduce ourselves and say where we lived and which month our babies are due. It still feels a little strange for me at times to be part of the mum "club" now after it always seemed so elusive for years. Everyone was friendly. We practiced some breathing exercises in the class to help for birth.
They also offer a meditation class at the centre which I might try out next week. They have acupuncture too but don't think I'll do that as I didn't like it in the past! Once the babies are born they also offer various classes. There's a thing called Rückbildung which is an exercise class to help your body recover. You are meant to start it around 6-8 weeks after birth and the German health insurance covers it.
They also offer classes with babies/kids such as music and dance and babywearing. There's a nursing group too who go to cafes together once a week. So lots of options for getting out of the house with the baby during parental leave.
This week my Dad came to visit for a few days which was lovely! I was feeling pretty good and we went out for long walks two of the days and also to some nice restaurants while hubby was at work. I really enjoyed spending some quality time together before it'll all be about the baby. In around a month he will be back with my sister to visit us and please God, the baby will have arrived safely. It was a bit emotional saying our goodbyes. It still feels surreal to me a lot of the time that I might actually get a real baby soon! Not sure when that will actually sink in.
I had another doctor's appointment and this time I paid extra for an ultrasound. I wanted one for peace of mind mainly! Everything looks good thankfully. The baby is still positioned head down. I'll go back to the doctor at the end of week 38 and then I've an appointment on my actual due date. The doctor's assistant said if I don't show up they'll assume I've given birth. It's really mad how little time there is left. I would like another week or two to feel more ready ideally but otherwise I guess I'm as ready as I'll ever be!
My Dad told me that my Mum had very short labours for all three kids. Like only around 4-5 hours!! For my birth she woke him up around 5am after timing the contractions for awhile to be sure it was real and then they went to the hospital and I was there by around 9am. So a lot faster than I realised! It's a good thing if I take after her in that way and don't have long labours but it's something to be aware of. At the birth preparation course we had been told first time mothers labour an average of 12 hours and to spend the first 2-3 hours at home but in my case it sounds like I shouldn't hang around too much if things are moving quickly! It's something to be aware of. Of course I would time the contractions too.
One of the evenings while my Dad was here I did have some cramps for awhile. They probably lasted around half an hour or so. They were uncomfortable but not so bad. Practice contractions I think! Apart from that no other indications of when the birth might be.
Happy Valentine's Day by the way!