Friday, January 27, 2017

Finding a Hospital: Part One

I told myself that I would start looking for a hospital and figuring out the logistics behind registering once we rang in 2017.  In hindsight, I wish I had started earlier because it turned out to be more difficult than expected, mainly because we don't speak German. Oh the joys of living abroad....

We started by asking my doctor for recommendations and his preferences.  We knew that many doctors in Europe do not deliver with their patients, but I wanted to get his thoughts on hospitals.  As it turns out, the week of my due date is his children's spring break, so he'll be out of town if Baby Maximus is timely.  The one hospital that he does deliver at isn't covered by our insurance, so we kind of ruled that out.

One of Mike's professors had twins within the past year and loved her delivery at a hospital, (St. Joseph's) that was less than 10 minutes from us.  This hospital kept coming up and has a great neonatal unit if we need that.  Unfortunately, it wasn't covered under our insurance.  We still wanted to look at it though because there is the option of switching our insurance plan so that we can go anywhere and just get reimbursed.

Our other option was to keep our insurance plan as it was and go to one of the hospitals that was covered.  Unfortunately, there are really only two hospitals that are covered in Berlin for giving birth, one of which is an hour away. The other, Krankenhaus Walfriede, is about 30 minutes away.  It doesn't have a neonatal unit and, if we needed that, he would go to the neonatal unit at St. Joseph's anyways, which would then be covered under our insurance.

We decided that we would go and look at both of these hospitals, time out the drive, and see which one we were most comfortable with and then decide what to do about our insurance.  Then Mike got sick. I called St Joseph's one day while we were in the depths of illness.   I just wanted to make sure we didn't need an appointment, especially since we needed an English speaker. The woman I spoke to said that we just needed to call ahead when we wanted to come.  Fast forward two weeks and we were ready to go tour. We called back to the hospital and couldn't get hold of anyone who spoke English.  After many tries, we finally decided to go to the hospital and see if we could figure this out in person.  We spoke to a very nice nun who told us the only way to make an appointment or go on a tour was to call.

Meanwhile, we were doing the same thing with Krankenhaus Walfriede and having even less luck.  Every time we called, we just got a recording.  We couldn't even get someone on the phone to ask for someone who spoke English.  Luckily, we had more success when we went to the hospital.  We were able to make an appointment to talk to someone.  It's not until I'm 30 weeks (two weeks from now!), but I think we're both relieved to just have an appointment.

At this point, I think we realized that we were not meant to deliver at St. Joseph's.  It seems like everything was pointing us to Krankenhaus Walfriede and that it just wasn't going to be worth it.  We are a little concerned about the distance because traffic on the highway can be HORRENDOUS and can add an extra 15-20 minutes.  Plus, if Mike happens to be in class when the time comes, that's an extra 30 minutes it takes for him to get home, but these are all things that I know many people deal with and overcome.  I just don't want to be the girl who gives birth in the car....

How far did you have to drive to the hospital?  Anything I should ask on my hospital tour?

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