My story of my second birth in a Dutch Hospital.

It is approximately 22:30 hours and I am shifting and turning and nursing painful cramps. I am 9 months pregnant. It is the 7th of July 2014. Is it labour pains already!? His due date (uitgerekend) is 16th July but the planned c-section (keizersnede) is on the 9th of July. Well, this time I will not take it lightly as with my first pregnancy. My husband calls the hospital and describes my situation. We are advised to go for a check-up and invariably admission.

It is very busy in the operating theatres today. It seems every woman needs a c-section. I am told to wait until one opens up because as much as I am in excruciating pain and I need to have a c-section (medical reasons) it is not an emergency yet. I was wheeled to the best hospital room I have ever had the pleasure of being a guest. Maternity room number 5 is like a five-star hotel room. It is spacious with sitting room, kitchenette, double bed, an extra bed for a partner who may sleep over, overhead large screen television, stylish bathroom, snow white towels and all the luxuries you would expect in a renowned hotel suite. It is so clean that one could eat off the floor. Anyway, let me get to the relevant points.

Read pros and cons to giving birth in the Netherlands.

The doctor says I cannot eat or drink anything before the operation. At the mention of that, I become hungry and thirsty of all a sudden. I guess it is true what they say, that which is forbidden is tempting and sweet, think Eve in the Garden of Eden. My husband is holding my hand. We switch on the television and attempt to watch the highlights of the world cup teams Brazil and Germany because they would be playing the next day. I know this because I like the handsome Brazilian team and I have a heavy crush on one of them. I am however weak and unconcerned. We spend the whole night and early morning talking.  It is 09:00 hours, about 10 hours have passed and my poor husband is also not eating or drinking anything to support me.  I urge him to at least have some water and he leaves the room. I ask the attending new nurse if I can at least have a cookie. I slyly try to ignore the Doctor’s order hoping she is unaware that I should not eat anything. She knows. So there I am hungry, thirsty, tired and in limbo.

At around 09:45 hours, an Obstetrician comes to introduce himself and informs me that he will be attending to my c-section operation. He is calm and professional. I am glad and relieved because I had previously been assigned a rough and gruff looking butcher of a doctor. He looked more like an unkempt construction worker. He reminded me of the wolf in that Three Little Pigs story. I had not had a good feeling about him.

Seventeen hours since I had been hospitalised passed. Now I understand why castaways eat insects, rats, leaves, drink salty unhealthy water or anything they come across out of hunger. “It’s time!” someone announces. Hunger and thirst leave me but weakness does not. I am wheeled to the operating theatre room. Everything goes quickly. My husband is also in the room. An extremely kind, calm and collected male maternity nurse holds my hand and gently talks and soothes me throughout the entire process. I needed that. I was extremely weak, unfocused and could not really make sense of anything. I don’t think I even knew what my name was at that moment.

My baby boy is born! They lift him up and he cries. He must be hungry too. That was all the confirmation I needed that he was okay. I pass out. Everything is black. It is an emergency and is quite serious. Code red. My husband later told me that they were flashing lights and an alarm going on. That they had pushed him out of the theatre room and someone had grabbed the resuscitators. He describes it as one of the best and worst moments of his life. On one hand, you gain a beautiful baby boy and on the other, you lose your wife. The last thing he remembers seeing is the medical officials jumping to attention and trying to resuscitate me.

An hour passes by and I wake up in a completely different room. My first words were, “where is the baby? Everything is fine, I am reassured. I am given a sugary ice lolly so I get some energy and a little liquid. I am a bit nauseous but well. My husband and a healthy baby boy of 3,045 kilogrammes come to me and I am extremely happy and comforted. What a journey! It is worth it. That night I heard that Germany beat Brazil 7-1 in the semi-finals. Yes, my team had lost but I was a winner.

First published on Foreignpointers.