If you have been following my blog for a little while, you know that last year I got pregnant with Baby Angel (we did kind of a fun announcement you can find on my YT channel here) and moved to Denmark. International moves are no joke. Utilizing a different healthcare system where I didn’t speak the language also presented different challenges AND benefits!
When we left Utah, I was about 24 weeks along. The Friday before we flew out I had a check up with my OBGYN to make sure that I was okay to fly and to do my glucose test (I had already had my regular ultrasound to check the baby’s gender and make sure he was growing normally, which he was) so I was all set. I wasn’t sure when I would be able to get check in Denmark so I wanted to do everything I could before I left.
Looking back, I am really happy that I did get all those important tests done before I left because I wasn’t able to see a doctor until mid-October! I went about 7 weeks with literally no idea how my baby was doing (other than the fact that I could feel him moving around in there). Denmark, and I am sure other European countries, doesn’t allow you to utilize the free healthcare until you have a permanent residence. We had a very difficult time finding housing when we arrived in Denmark, and even though we had our visas to be in Denmark we didn’t have our yellow cards or CPR numbers.
Once I finally got my yellow card, I went to the doctor, had my blood test, they measured my uterus and assigned me a hospital to go to for when I was in labor. The clinic where they drew my blood felt quite different than how it would happen in the States- I went up with a large room above a shopping center (of all places), they called my number, brought me behind a curtain next to a bunch of other patients, took my blood then sent me on my way. It definitely doesn’t feel as fancy or personal as it does in the States but they took care of me and did all the tests I needed which is the important part in my opinion. I had heard some rumors from girls here in Denmark that I would have a hard time getting the birth experience that I wanted. Danes are very much into natural births- they will try to avoid medication, C-sections and they use midwives only for normal births and have home birth options available if you want. They scared me and told me that it would basically be impossible for me to get an epidural! I was convinced that I would have to go full Viking style haha.
I started having contractions on Monday evening but unfortunately the contractions weren’t quite long enough or in quick enough succession to warrant the trip to the hospital (the hospitals will turn you away unless your contractions last 1 minute and you have 3 contractions per 10 minutes). I made it through the night and the contractions subsided quite a bit to where I was able to stay home the most of the day on Tuesday. On Tuesday evening around midnight my contractions were so intense and close enough together that we called a taxi and made our way to the hospital. Unfortunately, when the midwives check me I wasn’t dilated enough to be admitted (I wasn’t in “active labor”). The pain was so intense though that they gave me a morphine shot, found us an empty room to sleep in and let us stay in the hospital (unheard of!) The morphine made me pass out so I was able to sleep pretty soundly on Tuesday night until Wednesday morning. The midwives checked me again but I was still not considered in active labor so they sent me to go walk around the hospital and to get some food. A few minutes into walking around my contractions got extremely intense again and were VERY close together. At noon, I was finally admitted into my own room.
I informed the midwives that I wanted an epidural, they told me all of the risks and complications that could arise, got my consent and then sent for the anesthesiologist with no other questions asked. It was way easier than I expected it to be. After my epidural, I was able to nap, bounce on an exercise ball for a while, eat and chat- I was feeling fantastic haha. I won’t bore you with the details but several hours later (and several midwives later) I was finally ready to push. The midwife that helped me push was SO Danish. I wish I could explain it through the computer but she was just intense and didn’t put up with any of my attitude. She was the one that helped me all the way up until the final push and then switched places with someone else (shift change! There was no way that would happen in the US). I pulled Baby Angel out once his shoulders were out, and he came out perfectly healthy and ready to look at the world, eyes wide open! If you weren’t convinced that this birth day was meant to be then get this, L and I actually share the same birthday. He is the best birthday present ever 🙂
The midwife got me my tea and toast, complete with a Danish flag stuck in it 🙂 They gave us some time in the room (which was solo room BTW) for us to get cleaned up and relaxed again. The bed that I was in was portable, so when it was time to move to the maternity ward a guy came in with a little motorized thing and moved me over to a separate part of the hospital. The maternity ward was completely full, so we were relegated to the spare office haha. It was a little cramped but not too bad. They found Skylor a bed and brought it into the room as well which was nice. The nurses were great and got me set up with some pain meds and some things for Liam (like diapers and wipes). The next day the nurses helped me get set up with a breast pump because L was having a hard time latching. We stayed until Friday when L was able to latch and feed. I did feel a little bad staying that long because the maternity ward was so full that some people had to park their beds in the hallways!
Anyways, I would say that overall we had a great experience giving birth here in Denmark. Like I said before, there were some challenges but I didn’t really have any major problems so it was just fine. Can I tell you one of the perks of Denmark? Walking out of the hospital knowing that we didn’t have any hospital bills coming our way 😉
If you are having a baby in a different country and need some advice or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask!