Being pregnant is one thing, but having a baby overseas is another element to add on to the madness. Long before we moved to our new home in Slovenia, we knew that starting a family was always on the horizon. We had a plan; as soon as A was on his shore duty for the US Navy, that’s when we’d hope to start a family. And just a few months before moving, we were pregnant! From the beginning, we’ve always intended on having her in-country, but once we arrived and talked with the embassy, things quickly shifted when they said they don’t approve of delivering your child in-country. Tricare and the embassy wanted me to deliver at the closest military base, which was Aviano and a lovely 2.5-hour drive away. Not exactly ideal, but we stuck with it … for the time being.
After 2 months of appointments in Aviano, we quickly became less comfortable with the idea of driving there for the remainder of my appointments and stork nesting there. What’s stork nesting? Stork nesting is essentially when you lodge at the base around 38 weeks until you deliver the baby. And we’d be required to stay an extra 2 weeks until we had all of baby’s citizenship paperwork to cross the border back to our home. It was quickly becoming a much more stressful situation than we bargained for. AND, A’s command refused to cover any of our travel and lodging expenses, it was a battle, but in the end, it was a solid no. Keep in mind that stork nesting is a personal choice, regardless of who suggests it. We have an approved medical facility where we live, so we saw their point.
Now, I don’t usually stress out about things, but all of this was just becoming too much for the both of us. I haven’t been super emotional about things this pregnancy, but this was nearly a boiling point for me. We both felt comfortable with the idea of doing my prenatal care and delivering in Slovenia. We were mentally prepared for that from the beginning until a stick was thrown in our path and things got a little crazy.
After my last appointment in Aviano, we just about had enough of everything, so we called Tricare and discussed what we wanted to do and of course, it went against their medical advice. We knew they’d say that before calling, but they still remained somewhat civil about our decision and didn’t make us feel too bad about it. That day we switched from Prime to Standard and it was such a huge relief. During this time, we’ve been in contact with a previous Olmsted Scholar who did what we were trying to do. They had a positive experience with prenatal appointments and delivering their child in Slovenia, so in our minds, why can’t we?
With all the new decisions made, it was time to move forward with finding a new OB and somewhere to deliver our baby. We got a few suggestions that were highly recommended, made a few calls and an appointment was scheduled. Keep in mind I was about 25 weeks when this was all going on. We were fortunate that a doctor was willing to take us in so far into our pregnancy.
I was a bit nervous for this appointment because all doctors are different and you never know what you’re going to get, let alone in a completely different country. But fears aside, the appointment went well and we got a 3d ultrasound done as well. Technology is insane people, we got to see her face and it was the cutest thing ever! We got measurements done and she’s growing in the normal range and heartbeat is strong and steady at 152 bpm. The doc wanted me to get some bloodwork done so they can have it on their file, which was no issue at all. Our clinic didn’t have a lab, so we had to go to the blood fusion center to draw blood, so interesting how they do things here. Before we switched doctors, my next appointment I was supposed to do the test for gestational diabetes, but now I’m not sure how they do things in Slovenia. It wasn’t mentioned at all during my recent appointment, but we’ll see how my next appointment goes. We’re going to go over my blood work and discuss (hopefully) the delivery plans. All exciting stuff!
Now that you’re caught up on everything that has been going on, time to get a little deeper.
For a while, we were essentially being pulled into different directions and all parties were on different pages. We were being told so many different things, the do’s and don’ts. And after a while, we absolutely had it, we were done listening to everyone. We sat down and really talked about what option would work best for us or for me and the baby. All we want is a safe and healthy delivery for the both of us. Slovenia is not a third world country, being told that Slovenia is “unfit” to deliver babies just boggled our mind. I can’t even begin to tell you the amount of pregnant moms I’ve seen around this summer and so many little new babies. Everyone keeps saying it’s because I’m pregnant and that’s why I’m noticing it, but I don’t think that’s true one bit. Walk around where we live during the summer, you’ll see all of them!
Once we arrived and started going to appointments in Aviano, we quickly fell into going through the motions and doing what people were telling us to do. It almost felt like none of our decisions were our own and that’s not how it should be at all. It’s a mistake that we’ll never make again. We discussed everything over and delivering here was what we wanted to do. So we’re sticking firm to our decision and doing what is best for us! We’re 100% happy with that and it feels so good to have finally come to a decision. I feel good, it’s no longer this looming thing over our shoulders. It’s such a happy and monumental moment in our lives, we shouldn’t have this dark cloud of uncertainty. With not exactly getting full support from Tricare and the embassy, it was a little bit disheartening, but in the end, it shouldn’t matter. They’re not part of our family and that’s that. We took a stand and we’re sticking with it! Yes, ANYTHING can happen with pregnancy, but I refuse to sit hit and mull over every thing that could go wrong.
So my advice to all new moms to be is to always make the best decision for you and baby. You’re going to have unsupportive people, which is an unnecessary negativity that you don’t need during such a happy moment in your life. You got this mama bear!
Pregnancy overseas, everyone!