Starting year 3 of being a geographical gypsy. From San Francisco to Amsterdam and back. Where next? Only the wind knows.....
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
You know a neighbor had a baby when....
There's a giant stork hanging over the door. Or a stork is attached to a window. Or there are pink or blue balloons decorating the outside of the home.
One of our friends here just recently had a baby here. It was her first, and since she's also American, I found it interesting to learn about the process here.
First off, most women have their children at home - so you're assigned a midwife. A doctor is only consulted if the midwife feels it's necessary. If you want to deliver at a hospital, you can choose that option, but it's less common. In addition, only certain hospitals have epidurals available on a given day, so you might have to go to a hospital that's farther away if you go into labor outside of normal operating hours and you are determined to deliver with pain medication.
At the hospital you don't deliver your baby in a bed in stirrups. You are buck naked in a room with a "birthing stool" that's low to the floor. After the baby is born, you are given juice and sugars to get your strength up and then you go home a few hours later.
That's when the kramzorg comes in. A kramzorg is someone who comes to your house for 8 hours a day to cook, clean or run errands for you. They also help you figure out how to care for your new baby - something especially useful for first time moms. They come for a week or so and are fully paid for by the government. What a great perk!