I have had some serious writer’s block. I think that’s what they call it? I’ve been writing, but not sharing. How very selfish, I know. I haven’t written a full post since I got pregnant, a little because of all that goes with being pregnant and a little because of all the feels it brought. I have a lot of catching up to do, so where to start? No better than the present, and luckily I have a worthy subject. Welcome to the world, Holland Grace!
Because living abroad isn’t adventure enough, we decided to have a baby in a foreign country. We also waited to find out if the baby was a boy or girl. Holland Grace Tenney was born June 20th at 4:31 a.m. in Amsterdam, weighing in at exactly six pounds. She has an International Birth Certificate, and she is perfect.
The nine months leading up to her grand debut were an experience. After doing my due research on the matter, here are the more memorable insights. Some are fact, and some are more urban legends.
- The Netherlands has the highest percentage of home births in the western world.
- Should you choose a hospital birth without a medical indication, it will cost you €336.08.
- You may be put on bed rest, but you can still ride your bike.
- If you have your baby in the hospital, you will leave immediately following the birth.
- When you do leave the hospital, you will ride your bike home.
- Your kraamzorg will meet you at your doorstep on your arrival home and stay for over a week.
We hit three of the six! I plan to write another post detailing the medical system and experience here since I’ve gotten so many questions. But no, we did not have a home birth!
As some of you know, I’m a bit of a planner, and being so far from our family was making some arrangements very difficult! Max was five weeks early, and indications were that this little one would be as well. Luckily Max has my mom wrapped around his finger, so when we asked her to come half way around the world, a month before the due date, with a flexible leave date, during the busiest time of year on the farm, she said yes! She was a huge help, especially since Max got chicken pox as soon as she got here!
“Because living abroad isn’t adventure enough, we decided to have a baby in a foreign country.”
We were very grateful she was here the night Holland was born since all the action was the middle of the night! We called our doctor at the hospital when I was pretty sure the contractions were the real thing Monday evening, and they told me to take a shower and relax for awhile (right…). I’m not sure who was antsier, Grayson or me! We headed to the hospital around midnight and were promptly sent back home to relax some more and get some sleep. Within an hour, the contractions were coming hot and heavy, so we turned back around and got back to the hospital about 2:30 Tuesday morning. They could tell I was serious this time and took us to our room. Of course, it was too late for an epidural at this point, which they loved because they don’t like them here! Our Irish doctor, German midwife and Belgium nurse delivered our baby girl less than two short hours later at 4:31 in the morning.
We Facetimed all our family to tell them the good news, ate the traditional Dutch celebratory “beschuit met muisjes” and got in some newborn snuggles. Then a nurse came in and asked us if we were ready to go home, we said sure, and she said, “Fifteen minutes okay?” Alrighty then. We packed up our things, tucked Holland into her car seat, and off we went. We were back home before 9:00 a.m. Max hardly knew we left! Our two kraamzorg, Daniella and Maria, arrived by 10:00 a.m. Kraamzorg are standard procedure here for all new babies and mama’s, and it is incredible. I’ll share more later, but they came for eight straight full days, caring for Holland and me, cooking meals, doing laundry and deep cleaning. Auntie Kara, of course, couldn’t stay away, and after re-routed flights and lost luggage made it here on day four. We had a happy, full house to welcome Holland Grace.
Everyone has gone home now, and we are adjusting to life with two little ones + Penny. Holland is a sweet, happy baby who is already giving us some adorable smiles. I will never get enough of her little body snuggled on my chest as she coos in her sleep. She is going to be a tough little girl too, as I yell “Gentle!” to her big brother and giant dog daily. And most of all, my heart aches every time Max kisses her, or grabs her hand, or frantically tries to pick her up when he wants to hold her. Life is good.