So one of the curious things about delivering here in Vienna is that everyone appears to be assigned a midwife. I’ll admit, I associated midwives with either Little House on the Prarie or granola, but from my observations thus far, basically the midwife here performs a lot of the same duties that an RN would in the US. I can’t confirm as I haven’t yet delivered here, and certainly never delivered in the US, but this is generally what I’ve cobbled together. About 6 weeks out, I was told by my doctor to contact her midwife teammate and that I would also need to check in with her periodically.
My doctor here has a half-American assisant, a medical student, who’s often my go-to for more mundane questions so that I don’t completely bore the doctor. So first I asked her, “what will I be doing with the midwife”, and I don’t think she was anymore sure than I was. She mumbled something about a tour of the hospital and the midwife being able to teach me some breathing techniques. I was a bit disappointed to find that our midwife did neither.
What she does love to do though is “heart kontrol”, which is where they monitor the heartbeat for half an hour, and I take a nap, and then they send me on my way (with nary a bill in sight weirdly – perhaps you just pay the baby-having package fee at the end?). The first time she met us, she astutely decided this was a better time to fill our the baby-having paperwork, rather then when I come back to the hospital under more considerably strained circumstances. My eyebrows constantly went up when after asking our names, address, etc, the questions turned to what level of education we had, were we married, how long, what religion were we, what kind of christian were we and what not. Just one of those charming outdated austria-isms.
Our midwife, while no granola bar, does though march to the beat of her own drum. In fact, she’s just off enough to have possibly been the one to suggest the cream cheese remedy, but I don’t dare ask lest I become another test case. I mean all of this in a kind way of course, as she’s quite nice, but perhaps not all that informative. We had another “kontrol” this Saturday, and she did her little exam routine, and then declared with a definitive nod, “Yes, I think you will have this baby sometime between now and Christmas.” Now, I realize that predicting baby arrivals is not an exact science, but…Um…I had BETTER have this baby sometime BEFORE Christmas. Else, I think my internal organs might get quashed into oblivion. So then we continue:
Me: “Yes, I hope so. I am due December 11th, do you think the baby might come before then?”
Midwife: “Hmmm….not directly.”
Me:”Hmmm…I don’t understand what you are saying. Will I have this child indirectly?”
Midwife: “Hmmm….yes, we will see everything soon.”
So, I’m not quite sure what to make of all of this helpful diagnosis but I’ve come to the conclusion that if getting my child out of womb is anything like getting me out of bed in the morning, we’re going to need to brace ourselves for a long battle on this one.