02 March 2012

Sacred heart

Hello March! I'm so glad you're here. I thought February would never end, even though it was a good month, what with birthday celebrations and "it's a boy!" excitement and a trip to Barcelona. But March brings us one step closer to spring, one step closer to a baby, one step closer to an actual street instead of a mud pit and the construction equipment hulking over our front windows.

Right now we have friends in town, and Gabriel as usual is beside himself with glee, forcing them to color and read and hide'n'seek to his heart's content and crying bitter tears when he has to go to bed. He is really going to dig having a little brother to play with, in about a year when they can actually, you know, play.

They graciously watched Gabriel while we took our tour at Heilig Hartziekenhuis (Sacred Heart Hospital) last night. ("Hi! Welcome to Belgium! Can you babysit?") We came home laden with piles of coupons and free samples, but without much of a sense of what will actually go down in the hospital at all.

First of all, everything was in rapid-fire Dutch. I asked for translations, but only my specific questions in English were met with replies in English, and I didn't know what to ask most of the time because I had no idea what had been said (and my questions weren't necessarily related to the specific labor or recovery room or monitor that was being presented at the moment). We gleaned a few details only thanks to some other couples translating for us. At the end of the tour we gathered in a conference room and had a powerpoint presentation in a question/answer format, but the nurse would put the question up, then discuss and talk through the answer, only flashing it momentarily before clicking through to the next question. This was...NOT helpful for those of us who might glean more from written Dutch than spoken.

Secondly, there was a large crowd, so it wasn't easy to pull the nurse aside for questions. Third, so much of what was presented was practical info: here are the different kinds of rooms (only the "luxury" room allows M. to spend the night, which seems to be the only way in which it is "luxurious," save a few more inches of space than the tiny regular rooms), here's the number you call to get the maternity ward, these are visiting hours, this is a baby bassinet, this is what you should pack (everything, really! they don't even supply hospital gowns!)...and what I really wanted to know had more to do with labor scenarios and birth plans. Argh.

Still, we got to see the place and get the lay of the land and find out where to go when I'm in labor. I was most surprised to discover that while some rooms have dual functionality, in most cases you labor in one room and then move to another for pushing/delivery (and then, of course, yet another for recovery). I don't much like the sound of waddling across the hall (or maybe getting pushed in a wheelchair?) when it comes time to get the baby out. I remember barely being able to climb onto the bed last time when we were at that point. Ah well! These are minor things if all goes well. I was glad to see, at least, tubs and showers and birthing balls for labor, and a quiet, gentle atmosphere.

Best of all, I saw a tiny itty bitty newborn being wheeled down the hall in her wee bassinet, and that moment made everything beautiful and real in a way that a herd of shuffling pregnant ladies and their husbands nosing around empty rooms couldn't. We'll have a brand new baby boy when all is said and done, and that... that is what matters. That's the sacred heart.

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