Being pregnant abroad – Delivery and my bundle of joy

delivery card

Delivering a baby. Every person is different, which means every delivery is different. Which means NO ONE can tell you what is about to happen to you. I read stories and even checked videos and read all the articles you can find. How does this work in Macedonia? And then the doctor tells you: ah you might be delivering a but earlier (between 37/38 weeks). And the only thing that went through my head: How the F*ck am I going to do this? I was scared and yet so curious to meet our little boy.

It would be the state hospital and we knew the gynaecologist and the nurses. Everything was planned in my head. And then for the check-up of 36 weeks the doctor tells me that I need to come back at 38 weeks and if the baby doesn’t come out by itself, I should be induced. By that time, I was still a bit scared. But hey, he needs come out one way or another so better to relax and let it happen. That was easier said than done, but I tried to relax.

It was happening!

20th of January, I was cleaning the apartment. Washing the windows and cleaning the kitchen, cabinets inside and out. I had to sit down a couple of times because my belly was getting hard all the time. Did I see this as a sign? No of course I didn’t… sigh. When we went to bed it was still all okay and I was just tired and wanted to sleep. But the little one decided it was time. I was huffing and puffing my contractions away that my hubby woke up asking if I was okay. I was completely fine, I just wanted to sleep! But the contractions came regular every 10 minutes.

Around 4 o’clock in the morning my water broke. Yet I still wanted to sleep but my hubby insisted to go to the hospital (good call). Once we arrived there it was deserted (gave me a little panic attack) and after the doctors were called, they checked me and when the gynaecologist came to see me the only thing she told me in English was: DON’T PUSH! And from that moment it went fast. They rushed me upstairs to the delivery room, because apparently I was already on 9 cm.

Yay my little baby

I’m not against pain medication, I always said: if I need it, I want it. Well guess what, at 9 cm dealation you are not allowed to get pain medication. Trust me, I remember requesting it a lot. It was so intense I can still get emotional thinking about it. But at 6.25 our son Oliver was born. It was a fast delivery but all went well and he was perfect! My hubby was there with me during the delivery. Something which is not common at all in Macedonia. But I’m happy he stood next to me and was there for me.

It is mandatory that both mother and baby stay at least 1 night in the hospital. Although the care was fine and I had packed everything that I wanted, I just wanted to go home. The next day I told them I need to go home. I pushed them to do the tests and all that was necessary in order for us to go home. And thank god around 2 o’clock we got the green light and in 10 minutes we were safe and sound in our own place.

The differences with the Netherlands

In the Netherlands you get a certain after care. The nurse comes to your place and takes care of you and the baby and explains you everything you need to know. Here this is not the case. A nurse came to check up on us 1 time and that was it. I’m so thankful that my dad came 2 days after I gave birth and took care of us. Also because I was barely able to walk for 2 weeks and I was very, very emotional. Looking back at the whole delivery and after math a couple of differences stand out.

Right after the delivery in the Netherlands they ask the husband if he wants to cut the umbilical cord, here they just cut it themselves. In the Netherlands they ask you what you want to do with the placenta, here they do not. Not that I wanted to do anything with the placenta, but still. In the Netherlands I get the feeling it is 50/50 that women either choose to breastfeed or feed by bottle. Here they all assume you just breastfeed the baby. Now I had made up my mind to try to breastfeed and if it doesn’t go well I would just switch. Till this day I’m happily breastfeeding and all goes very well!

The aftercare I missed as well, because many questions pop up when you have a little one you need to take care of 24/7. How to bathe him, when to bathe him, why he is making that sound, is this normal, is that normal? First weeks I felt sometimes insecure, but we quickly got used to it and Oliver was actually a pretty easy baby as it turned out.

Having a baby in Macedonia

One of the things I am still so happy about is the 40-day rule in Macedonia. Visitations come after the first 40 days of his life have passed. So we had a very nice and quiet first 40 days. In the Netherlands basically the visitations start as soon as people receive the birth card, unless they organised it differently.

The other thing which I absolutely love is the 9 months maternity leave which you get paid by the state. In the Netherlands you get just 16 weeks, 4 weeks before due date and 12 weeks after in general. Many people are shocked when I tell them that you get 16 weeks of maternity leave in the Netherlands. One doctor even said: wow I thought you came from civilised country. So as I am writing again for my blog, I am enjoying my 9 month long maternity leave with my little bundle of joy Oliver!

Curious how it started? Check my first blog post about my pregnancy here!

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