Anticipating Birth

At 38 weeks and 3 days (5 hours and 23 minutes… no, not really) pregnant, I can’t help but think about what lies ahead. I have always had a bit of a fear around birth and so I have been reading about birth for months, or more accurately, 34 weeks and 3 days. As someone who has always worked with parents and children, I have heard my share of birth horror stories, and so when my good friend gave birth earlier this year and described it as “awesome”, I definitely wanted to hear more. On her advice, I’ve been reading only positive birth stories, as well as some informative (but not at all scary) books written by some well-known midwives and birth educators.

My preference for a natural birth had me a little bit scared in France, where our local hospital has an 89% epidural rate. But we decided instead to birth in Germany near my husband’s family and so we drove the 8 hours to a small city in Bavaria to wait it out. To be completely honest, I was surprised by just how natural natural birth is here! We took a tour of the hospital delivery rooms and they looked like gymnastics studios, with giant exercise balls, birthing stools, and ropes hanging from the ceiling! We also learned that all of the hospital midwives are certified in homeopathy, aromatherapy and acupuncture.

I have read all about what to do ahead of time: pack a hospital bag, buy supplies, wash the baby’s clothes, write a birth plan, but haven’t quite started on any of that yet. Instead, we had a lesson on birth from our midwife (how exactly does one use a birthing stool??), and sat through an entire 3-hour class on newborn care in German, nervously laughing with 5 other expectant couples fumbling to put cloth diapers around plastic baby dolls. Now we are just waiting and walking, walking and waiting. And drinking litres of raspberry leaf tea. Apparently it tones the uterus, and I have no idea what that means, but according to Wikipedia it can cause labour to start or be easier or something, so I’m all over it.

I would love to hear about what you did to prepare for the birth of your child, or the interesting ways you spent your time waiting! I am also curious if anyone has a story about crazy birthing equipment?!

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Baby-wearing

Another thing that I saw a lot of in Germany is baby-wearing. Two of the world’s most popular woven baby wraps (Didymos and Storchenwiege) are made in Germany and it seemed like everywhere I went I saw people wearing them! They are made from beautiful fabrics and come with instructions on a variety of wrap styles. I ended up buying the Storchenwiege Inka (pictured above) and I can’t help but practice wrapping almost every day! I’m very excited to try it out for real, but I do have some apprehensions about its’ practicality.

Did any of you carry your babies in a wrap or sling? Did it meet your expectations? Would you use it again? What are some pros or cons that you experienced?