Saying Thank You

Daniel, 1 day old     Annika, 5 minutes old

      Daniel, 1 Day Old          Annika, 5 Minutes Old 

I'm sitting here writing a short thank you letter with a couple of photos to the hospital where we gave birth to Annika (and Daniel).    I can't say having kids the first time was scary but it was an event filled with uncertainty.  I read a lot and  talked to friends, but it was still impossible to know how I (I actually mean WE) was going to feel and what was going to happen.

Turns out our first delivery was kind of a disaster but  everything still turned out fine.  We were in good hands.  Actually not just good hands, I'm not exaggerating when I say that I'm confident I could not have gotten such professional, warm, personal, and loving care anywhere else.  Giving birth at our tiny private clinic, BB Stockholm, is  something I wish every pregnant couple could go though once in their lives.  I'm so incredibly grateful over the fantastic start they gave us, both with Daniel and Annika. 

I have no idea if people in general feel this way about the place where they gave birth. Did you send a thank you letter after you gave birth?   Did you feel in good hands?  Were you treated like family?  Was it overall a good experience?

Giving birth for the first time can be such a frightening experience.  I laughed when I read about Mitch McDad and his placenta story, it reminded me a little bit about our two pregnancies.  Our first delivery was a complete nightmare.  I was  right in the middle of it  and remember it clearly.   It took 38 hours and when Daniel finally came out he was blue.  They threw him on Sandra's stomach to get some immediate closeness, like they always do, but when they saw his condition a red emergency button was pushed and within 5 seconds the midwife was running out the door with my child.  She told one surprised father to follow her.  Quickly. 

Within one minute there must have been 10 doctors and nurses in the emergency room across the hall , working hard to make my son less blue.  It was a  surreal event for me.  I honestly didn't have a clue of what was going on for a couple of minutes.  Was my son dying, was he fine, what was the problem?  It was simply impossible to tell and I didn't want to be stupid and ask someone since it looked like they were busy saving my son's life.

My son had become very stressed by the long delivery, pooped in the stomach, and then swallowed some of that nasty stuff.  When he was delivered, with my wife sitting in my lap, he was literally covered in poop and not doing well.  Seeing a blue baby is not a good start, even a first time father can figure that out.    After a few minutes in the emergency room, it looked like things were calming down and people came over and congratulated me.  I didn't know what to say.   I still didn't know if there was something wrong with him. 

His head had this incredibly weird shape, like in the Coneheads movie, and on one side there was a massive blood filled bump.  It didn't look good.  I was told he had some trouble with his lungs, because of all the poop, and would remain at the NICU unit for a few extra days.  Sounded like great news to me.

Only about 10 minutes had passed after the birth of our son and my wife was still laying in the delivery room, totally exhausted and not really knowing what was going on. Nurses did update her but I'm not sure how much she registered.  She had held her son for a few seconds and then we were gone.   And it would get worse.  The placenta didn't come out and caused some problems inside.  No more details necessary.  My wife was rushed straight to the operating room and I didn't get to see her for another 4 hours.  There I was,  looking at my son  in the mini-compression-chamber and wondering how both my wife and son were doing. 

About six hours after the birth  of our son, my wife finally got to see her son for real.  She was laying in a hospital bed, all drugged up, but got to hold him for a few minutes before needing to rest.  It was another surreal experience for  both of us.  The people in the NICU unit were like all others fantastic.  There were a few other babies there but the reception felt very personal.  Our son was doing fine but would stay at the hospital for a few extra days.  And so would we.

I pushed my wife around in a wheel chair since she was hurting too much to walk and that was kind of funny.  I was pushing around my  rock-climbing, mountain-biking, tennis, running, gym, yoga, trekking, wife around in a wheel chair.  We both laughed about it since we were used to play two hours of tennis, hit the gym, run 10k, and  finish off with dinner and drinks for the rest of the night.  

We remained at the hospital for five days in our own private room while Daniel stayed in the NICU unit.  Every three hours we would go down there and breastfeed him, even know my wife's body was too beaten up to produce an ounce of milk. Poor Daniel, already with his father's fast metabolism, was sucking but there was no milk to be found.  After a few days Sandra starting to feel better and it felt like the worst was over.  She was getting better and our son was fine.  Me?  I'm a boring guy and was fine through all this chaos but have since reflected on what happened many times.  Usually with a bottle of wine and lots of tears.  Tears out of joy and gratefulness (is that a word?).

Private hospital usually means expensive, not so in Sweden.  Private or not, giving birth or receiving a medical attention costs the same.  Which is nothing (max. fee per years is $100). I did have to pay some money since we stayed in a private room together and I ate all meals there.  It came to a whopping $200 for the whole week.  I told them I would gladly have paid $20 000, thats how much this place meant to us.  Second time we got pregnant, the first thing we did was to reserve a spot at our favorite hospital.

After Daniel was born, I wrote them a letter and thanked everyone for taking such good care of us.  I know it's a hospitals job to take care of patients but it can be done very differently.  Will we be using them a third time?  No decision has been made about a third child but I know what hospital is my first choice.  They deserve a hundred thank you letters for making us feel at home during difficult times.

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6 Responses to “Saying Thank You”

  1. I am so glad you are doing this! Everyone needs to be told when they have done a good job, and often those who work in high stress environments get overlooked in the thank-you process. I had a wonderful nurse who helped us tremendously with the birth of our son. I told management her name when they asked in a post-hospital followup, but you have inspired me to write a letter to her directly. Now to find the time to do it.

  2. Two sides to this… OK, maybe three. First… wow, what a harrowing experience. I don’t know what else to say to capture all of that but “Wow”

    Second, Michelle is right in that even if it is their “job” it is nice to show appreciation, especially for a job well done.

    Third, it give me pause. The hospital that our daughter was born in, no longer accepts our our insurance carrier. So, if we decide to have another child at this point we would have to consider one of the lesser hospitals around or actually pay that $20K you said you would be willing to give for such good service. (and I fully understand that, FYI). It is just a choice that I think is an unfair one to have to make, and am certainly glad that others (including you of course) don’t have to make.

  3. What a great idea. I wish I had thought to write a letter after my kids were born. It’s been eight and ten years, though so I may be a little late…

    I gave birth at Cedars Sinai in West Hollywood which is sort of the celeb hospital here. Not my choice – my longtime OB was head of obstetrics at the time and delivered all her patients’ babies there.

    I have to say it was a nice living like the beautiful people for a couple of days – they really pamper you there. The rooms all have state of the art stereo systems (made my husband VERY happy) and the food is gourmet. Instead of ice chips while you’re going through labor they roll by with these little carts of Italian Ice. I’d like to book a stay there just to relax, but I’d have to have another baby to do it.

  4. Now they feel awesome, and that joy will be spread to the next family, just like yours. What a great thing you’ve done.

  5. [...] post by AdventureDad and plugin by Elliott Back [...]

  6. wheel chair tennis…

    i love this post, this is exactly what iam looking. thanks for posting this, take care….

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