I never went into labor, so I can't tell the usual stories about how much labor contractions hurt etc. I did have contractions for many many weeks though, so I have a pretty good idea how the bigger ones must feel like. I spent many nights awake counting the contractions and hoping I wouldn't have the baby just yet. Well, I made it to 8 months and like my nurse said, I should be proud :) And I am proud of my lil man, who clearly is a fighter!
In the end he did show up very suddenly. My husband (then boyfriend) had gone home for the weekend, when I had to be taken to the hospital once again. I talked to husband and told him I'll be fine, little did I know haha. It turned out that I was not fine and I was told I was in such a huge risk of having a seizure (due to high blood pressure) that the baby was going to be born in 20 mins. I told them very adamantly that no he isn't, but for some reason they didn't listen to me ;) While they were preparing the O.R, I quickly called husband (who was 7 hrs drive away) and then called my roommate to come to the hospital, so someone would be there for me and take photos. At that time I was living with a couple of male roommates, all aged 21 :) They were the sweetest guys ever, who probably hadn't in their wildest dreams imagined that they'd be seeing a baby born at that point of their lives :) Anyways, one of my roommates did make it and was there with me the whole time, until my husband got there (about 4 hours after the baby was born, he drove fast!). I have to say I could not asked for a better roommate! He handled the surgery like a champ and took amazing photos too!
There's not a whole lot to tell about the c-section. I told them I wanted to see as much as I could and I didn't want any restraints, since I'm a very calm person (they sometimes put restraints during the surgery, so you won't move since you are not under full anesthesia). I got an epidural and then felt a little tugging and pulling and there was the cutest baby boy ever :) My roommate took photos of the surgery and then followed the nurses who took care of the baby, while I was taken to the recovery room. The c-section was not painful in any way and I was given plenty of painkillers to remove any pain I had afterwards. In fact, I declined the painkillers most of the time, since I didn't feel the need for them. The nurses thought I was a real trooper, but to be honest, it was not that painful. Within 12 hours of the surgery I was up and walking, albeit very slowly :) I never had any trouble recovering from the c-section and the only reminder of it is a small scar.
The hospital had excellent services, the nurses were very helpful and they always had time for me. If I needed them, they were always a phone call away. The hospital also had a lactation consultant who helped me to start breastfeeding the baby. She was a gem, I had all these silly questions and she answered them with patience :) The consultant was also just a phone call away and I think she was probably my favorite of all the staff members, she was so caring! The hospital also had excellent room service, so whenever I was hungry, I could just call and order. The menu had a variety of meals to choose from (appetizer, main course, dessert, non-alcoholic drinks) and as a vegetarian I was happy to notice they had several different vegetarian dishes as well. There was a separate night menu in case you got hungry in the middle of the night. Once a day the dessert cart came by and I could choose a piece of cake. They had super-yummy cheese- and chocolate cakes among others. So I was being well fed :)
When the baby was about a day old, a administrative person came to my room to fill in the baby's information, including his name. In the U.S the babies often have names before they're born and I was being very "secretive" according to my friends when I didn't tell them what I was going to name the baby as :) I did announce the name right after he was born though and I recall the nurses asking me the baby's name while I was still in the O.R! The babies are often officially named at the hospital, so they can have their birth certificates and social security numbers as soon as possible. You can wait to name your baby afterwards as well, but if I understood correctly the baby won't be able to get an insurance or social benefits until he or she is named. I think majority of parents name their baby officially at the hospital.
I was at the hospital for 3 days, which was the maximum time the insurance would pay, some insurances allow even less hospital time. I think some women leave the hospital the next day, since they have to pay certain percentage of their hospital bills themselves. Unfortunately my baby didn't weigh enough to be discharged at 3 days, so he had to stay there for a few more nights. The insurance did pay for one extra night for me to stay at the hospital as a "hotel guest" though, which meant that I could sleep in my room, but couldn't use the room service and the nurses would no longer attend to me. That was fine with me since I was feeling much better by then. After that I had to leave, so I went home for the nights and when I woke up I went straight to the hospital to be with my little man. He was discharged a few days later and has been fine ever since :)
After we got home, I had a nurse from the hospital come by and check up on him once and after that my nurse from the first time moms programs continued her visits, which was really nice since otherwise I was home alone with a newborn baby after a major surgery :) There are no paternity leaves in the U.S so husband had to go back to work right away. And maternity leave is pretty nonexistent as well.
We also continued seeing our primary care physician, who took care of everything. All in all having a baby in Nebraska was a pleasant experience. The quality of health care was excellent and health care professionals bedside manners were just from another planet compared to some of their Finnish counterparts I've met. A very stressful and complicated pregnancy turned into an easy birth and now I have a wonderful little man brightening my life :)
Is there anything else you'd like to know about having a baby in the U.S? Please feel free to leave me questions in the comments box, I'll try my best to answer :)
Pt I, Pt II, Pt III, Pt IV