This is going to be long and detailed, but it is my way of journaling about the experience. Consider yourself warned.
Baby at 5 months (Texas)
Baby at 6.5 months (Mexico)
Baby at 9 months (Germany)
After we arrived in Germany I set out to find a doctor. Thankfully, I was put in touch with a few American girls who gave me a great recommendation. I was able to make an appointment, but ended up having to wait 3 weeks. That put me about 4 weeks overdue for an appointment, and at 8 months pregnant I was worried. The little guy had been quieter/ had less movement in my stomach than the others. Thankfully, the Dr. that I found was American who had trained at Baylor and moved to Germany 10 years ago. I was comforted to know that she was at least familiar with the way I had birthed my last two children, and could read the records from the States.
When I left Texas the bambino was breech (his head was pointing towards my head instead of my toes), but my Dr. there was optimistic that he would get turned around before delivery. When I finally had my appointment in Germany a month later he was still turned the wrong way. As if our life wasn't complicated enough at that point, right? In the US this would mean an automatic C-section, but in Germany the Dr's are a little more holistic and willing to try to deliver a breach baby the "normal" way. I had two two options for hospitals, in case of an emergency C-section, one in Mainz and one in Frankfurt. We opted for University Hospital in Mainz because it was closer and we were more familiar with the area.
Side note: German OBs don't deliver your baby at the hospital. You visit them for pre-natal visits and then they refer you to a hospital for delivery. There, you are delivered with a random Dr or more commonly a midwife. You also have to have a pre-registration meeting at the hospital before they will admit you. When I tried to get an appointment at the beginning of August, the first available was on the 29th, just two weeks before my due date.
I was incredibly freaked out at the possibility of a vaginal breech delivery and didn't necessarily want a C-section either. That left me with only two options- Pray, and do everything in my power to flip the baby on my own. I tried doing back bends, placing ice on the belly while in a warm bath, head stands, and laying upside down from the edge of a couch- all while in a hotel. I must have looked like a beached whale. We would all laugh at my feeble attempts to do these exercises. I decided that an exercise ball would help support my back thus keeping me from falling over and looking like an idiot. It was pretty comical when housekeeping would show up and open the door while I was on the ball. I wish Andrew had taken a picture... At my 37 week appointment we did an ultrasound and he had flipped head down. I know I tried as hard as I could to get him to flip, but I attribute it mostly to prayers.
At this point we were still in a hotel. We switched in the middle of August (a month after getting to Germany) to the Army Hotel in Wiesbaden because it had a kitchenette in the room. After a month and a half of almost no home cooking it felt wonderful! We were ready to get moved in to a house, but we had trouble with the housing office. I will leave that story for another post, but suffice it to say that we thought it best to bring the baby home to a hotel instead of an empty house.
We were also having trouble getting our household shipments here. (I'm starting to feel slightly more assertive after this move) We had put all of our baby items in our "fast shipment" that must have gotten confused with the "slow boat to China" shipment. Finally at 38 weeks pregnant the baby stuff showed up. That left me with 3 days to spare before I went into labor.