Sunday, March 11, 2012

emerson's birth in an italian hospital

Where to start? 
Well let’s start at the beginning of Thursday February 23 
at about 6:30 in the morning.  
I got out of bed like any normal day, 
fed the dogs 
then went to the bathroom. 
I still had some time before my NST
 (non-stress test) 
so I decided to climb back in bed. 
I was supposed to be on modified bed rest ya know. 
Once back in bed I had the strangest sensation, 
like I wet my pants. 
Now don’t get me wrong, 
throughout a pregnancy 
one may question the efficiency of their bladder 
but I had never wet myself! 
I got back up, went back to the bathroom, 
decided to shower 
and once I got out of the shower 
I realized there was no way I had this much urine in my body. 
I woke up the hubby and tried to remain calm, 
but once the words, “I think my water broke” came out of my mouth I immediately started to cry. 
This wasn’t supposed to happen not yet.
 I was only 33 weeks. 
He was calm and said, “Call the doctor” so I did.  
When the nurse came on the phone I told her, 
“I think my water broke because there is no way I have this much urine in my body.” 
She laughed and told me to come on in so away we went to Aviano AB Clinic.  By the time we got there I had soaked through 
1 pair of underwear, 
a pair of Ken’s boxers 
(don’t ask me, during my thought process I thought his boxers would provide more absorption than another pair of underwear), 
a pair of pants, 
and a towel.  
I begged Kenneth to walk behind me going into the clinic 
because I didn’t want anyone to think I wet my pants.  
The staff at Aviano Labor and Delivery was awesome and so caring, 
explaining to me that yes my water had broken and I was in labor.  
According to the monitor I was having pretty strong contractions 
a minute to two apart. 
I didn’t feel anything honestly. 
I was still in shock over how much water came out of my body. 
I was pooling at the foot of the bed, they had to bring in a mop! (TMI?)
 Since Aviano isn’t prepared to handle a premature baby 
I was informed that I was being transported to Pordenone.  
This is like hearing your 5 star resort that you had planned on staying at overbooked 
and now you were forced to stay in the hostel next door.
 So the ambulance came and off I went.  
Within in 5 ½ hours of my water breaking Emerson was here via emergency C-section (she was breech).  
So what’s the big deal about delivering at Pordenone? 
was Kenneth was not in the room with me when I delivered.  
He was not allowed in there.
 I tried to just breathe and stay strong throughout the surgery 
but honestly I just wanted my husband there. 
Imagine being strapped to a bed, can’t feel your legs, and everyone is talking in a language you really don’t understand.  
Then the second horror came, I
 wasn’t allowed to see her for 24 hours. 
Since she was in the NICU they couldn't bring her to me
and they didn't want me in a wheel chair
or walking
due to my C-Section.
Talk about being set up for postpartum depression! 
Rip the baby out of my belly, 
stick me in a 10x10 room without a TV 
(TV’s aren’t in the Pordenone hospital), 
and tell me I can’t see my premature child.  
Thankfully they bent the visiting hours so Kenneth could see more of her. 
 I will discuss visiting hours later.  
Then the hunger striked. 
I hadn’t eaten since the night before.  
Wonderful friends brought food, snacks, etc 
only for the Italian nurse to tell me “No mangi domani” 
(No eating until tomorrow).
 Oh goodness…. 
Can’t see my child, 
can’t eat, 
no source of entertainment….
 I was a hot mess.  
A calm hot mess but internally I was a mess.  
Kenneth brought up an overnight bag for me
 including a computer with movies and my ipad.  
However, he couldn’t stay the night 
so at 9pm prompt 
the nurse asked him to leave. 
Another horror: 
Pain control
Pain control in an Italian hospital consisted of IV drip of the equivalent to Motrin 
and the next day 
when the IV came out 
the equivalent to Tylenol.  
But when they finally told me I could walk the next day, 
I did,
 despite the pain.  
I do believe the lack of narcotics, 
and me having to face my pain, 
helped me recover faster.  
Either that or I have a higher tolerance of pain than I give myself credit for.
The next morning!
 Sweet Jesus I can eat!!! 
Imagine my thoughts when they brought me this for breakfast. 
A bowel of hot tea…..  
And for the next day and a half
I was on a liquid diet 
so chicken soup for lunch and dinner 
and tea for breakfast.  
I was about to die of starvation.  
Then they came and told me I could see my daughter 
but it was only 11:30 
so Kenneth couldn’t go see her.  
Remember I mentioned visiting hours… 
yes, Kenneth was only allowed to see her from 12-2 and 7-9.  
I didn’t want to see her by myself. 
I feared I wouldn’t recognize her (I had only seen pictures) 
and I wouldn’t be able to handle seeing her in a NICU. 
 I was very much blaming myself for her preterm delivery. 
  I felt cheated out of so many pregnancy events 
and feared for her health and well being. 
So I cried, and told the nurses I wouldn’t go without my husband
 and how dare they try to break up the family unit, 
why didn’t they respect the family unit, 
didn’t they understand the importance of a father in a child’s life, 
pretty much my syllabus from my Family Therapy class from grad school.  
Gotta love hormones.  
At noon, my husband and I went as a family to see our daughter. 
It was a great moment.  
We didn’t get to hold her until that evening 
but that day 
despite the rocky beginning 
was wonderful.
Three days later I was released.  
Leaving her there was so hard. 
Another pregnancy dream of going home baby in tote was shattered. 
But we came back every day twice to see her 
and when I felt comfortable driving 
I would go in the morning to bathe her 
so I saw her three times a day.   
These were good days. 
Our time was getting longer and longer in the NICU 
and we were getting more impatient to bring her home. 
She had been there 10 days 
when she was back at her birth weight 
and eating all the required feedings.  
They still were not showing any signs of discharging her.  
However, after we showed our ‘angry American” side, 
me more so than my husband, 
on day 15 she was discharged.  
We’ve had her home two days now,
 and looking back on my Italian delivery, 
I realize three things, 
1) they do care for their patients which ultimately is the most important things 
2) my italian grew by leaps and bounds the 15 days I was forced to use it
3) Americans are very spoiled by their hospitals
 (and I miss being spoiled!)


Pictures of an Italian hospital 
First there are no "birthing suites" 
typically there are three women to a room,
since I was American 
they put me in the "American" room
(the only private room)
my 10x10 room
and there wasn't a bathroom
just a sink and a locker

If I wanted to use the bathroom
I had to walk down the hall
to the community bathroom and shower
please don't ever accuse me 
of not emersing myself in Italian culture
this was pure immersion!  
and since my food was tea
 wonderful friends made sure we had real food
well snacks
when I was finally allowed to eat
I swear the Italian nurse wanted to take my food away!
she kept looking at it......
it's italian tradition to decorate the door with appropriate color bows, ribbon etc 
of the new baby
here is my decoration thanks to kenneth's aunt, uncle and cousin!
finally a look down my hallway

 and most importantly
our emerson
going home!!



  1. OMG I am so freaking glad they did not put you in our room. I can tell you reading your birth story there in Pordenone brought back some emotions from when I delivered there and Flo was my roommate. I am so sorry this was your first birthing experience I can tell you I was a bit mortified also going through it and even checked my self out 24 hours early. Congratulations and welcome to this world Ms. Emerson

  2. Congrats! She is beautiful! I had been thinking about you, since you hadn't posted in a while. I was happy to come back from vacation to see this post. Sending you all some SOONER love from Lackland AFB!