My first husband was in the Army, stationed in Germany. I went over to live with him six weeks before Seth was born. Before I left Georgia, my mother told me she just knew I was going to have my baby in a snowstorm on the side of the road. She didn’t want me to go so far away to give birth to her first grandchild. After I got there, I was sooooo homesick. I missed my mother so much. Back then, cell phones and Skype weren’t even thought of, and long distance phone calls were very expensive, about $3.00 a minute. I couldn’t call Mama every day “just to talk”. My only means of communication with her were handwritten letter.
About a week before Seth was born, I called my mother just because I wanted to hear her voice. The conversation went like this:
Me: “hi, Mama.”
Mama: “Did you have the baby yet?”
Mama: “Well, don’t call me again until you do.” CLICK!
The next weekend, my husband took the points and plugs out of our old Volkswagen Beetle. It got dark before he could finish what he was doing, so he came inside the house and said he would finish the job in the morning. About three o’clock that next morning, I got up to go to the bathroom, and my water broke.
I woke my husband up and told him he needed to go out the car back together. He said “I’ll do it in the morning. ” That’s when I told him baby was on the way. He jumped up to go find a flashlight, but we didn’t have one that worked. So, he took a candle out to the driveway to try to get the car running. The wind was blowing, so it took him some time to get the parts back into the car. We finally left to drive the 80 miles to the hospital in Wuerzburg.
Everything was going smoothly until we were about 3 miles from the hospital. That is when the gas line broke and the car just stopped going. It had started to snow, and I was crying, telling him that my mother was right, that I WAS going to have this baby on the side of the road in a snowstorm! He got under the car, banged on stuff, and finally got that gas line reattached. We resumed our trip to the hospital.
We finally got to the hospital about 5:45 a.m. I was taken immediately into the delivery room. I was not prepared to have natural childbirth, mostly because I hadn’t even thought about it, but also because in the United States at that time, you were automatically put under anesthesia to birth a child. But in Germany, they did not give any med. So, my 10 lb. 8.5 oz. baby boy was born without any pain medication at all. After his head came out, he got “stuck” because his shoulders were wider than his head. The doctor who delivered him said he had just read about what to do in a situation like that about a week before. The doctor twisted my son around a bit and in just a few seconds, he was out! He was born at 6:59 a.m.
Because Seth was so large, and because he had a problem breathing, he was put into an incubator for three days. The only other baby in an incubator was a preemie, weighing in at 3 pounds. My son looked three months old next to that other baby.
After Seth was born, I was allowed to rest in the recovery room for about six hours. After that, I was given a towel and washcloth, and sheets and a pillowcase, and told to clean myself up and make up my bed. All the mothers in the maternity ward had to walk to a communal dining room for meals. It was quite a different experience from having babies in the United States.
Meet our guest author: Karen Eidson, the “FabGrandma”, and her husband, FabGrandpa, have lived full time in an RV since 2000. When you visit her on fabgrandma.com, you’ll find gorgeous photography of the national parks and forests that Karen and her husband do seasonal work for. Karen also shares her gluten free recipes, her many sewing and craft projects and detailed product reviews for everyone from baby boomers to fabgrandchildren.
*image source: fabgrandma.com