You can’t go through the birthing process in a different country without noticing some things. My eyes were wide open as I nervously tried to figure out how to best help my wife and stay on the nurse’s and doctor’s good sides. Here are some of my observations:
- There aren't any doors to the delivery rooms - nothing to separate others from the sounds of labor. You can hear a lot. The most frequently said words in the delivery room are NE MOGU! (I Can’t!)
- My wife was in an altered state of being. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame her (I guess you could blame me). The number one reason I knew she was in another state of mind was the fact that she used her wet cloth meant for moistening her lips on her sweaty shoulders, forehead and hands before her mouth.
- Croatian men don’t participate much in this process. The hospital only allows them if they go through a class which I did (but I didn’t understand anything). I didn’t see any men in the birthing hall. I didn’t see any men in the halls where they keep the women after they gave birth. I did see a man drop off his pregnant wife at 3 am and go home. I’ll be honest, Croatian men: I don’t know how you could pass up that opportunity. At worst, wouldn’t you want to help her out during the most extreme pain of her life?
- Socialized medicine is not such a bad deal – at least not from my experience this past week. We didn’t pay a kuna (except for parking) for the delivery. Petra had 2 doctors and a few nurses in the room when she gave birth. They were very professional and kind to her. From what I could tell they had everything they would need in case of emergency. The room she’s staying in doesn’t have a TV or a whirlpool, and she does have to bring her own TP but it beats paying an arm and a leg to have a baby.
- We love our son. He looks more like a Kuzmič than a Bohall so far and I say that he looks kind of distinguished with his prominent nose. Petra says he looks like Kermit (the frog) so she calls him Kermy. He doesn’t seem offended yet, so I haven’t stopped her.
Unfortunately Petra has to stay in the hospital for a few more days. Enoh is having a hard time eating (I don’t know why – Croatian food is the best!) so they need to monitor his weight. Other than that this whole experience has been wonderful. We so appreciate those who have prayed for, supported and loved us as much as they have!