Everyone wants to know - what's it like to have a baby in a foreign country?
Really, not much different than having a baby in your own country.
For us, there were several helpful factors:
First, we were blessed to have learned a decent amount of Spanish before the birth, so for the most part we understood whatever people asked or told us. The influence of anesthesia was not helpful for my (Timbrel's) Spanish brain, I must admit, though.
Second, the hospital where Lillian was born is incredibly modern. Except for being noticeably smaller, it felt just like any hospital in the USA. Many staff members speak a decent amount of English, also.
Third, this was our fourth C-section experience, and our fourth time to walk into the wonderful world of caring for a newborn. We knew what to expect, what to do with this tiny bundle of sweetness, etc.
Fourth, some gracious family members came to stay with our other three kids while we were at the hospital. Some friends here in Costa Rica stayed with the younger two kids at our house while our oldest went with the family members to be the first ones to see the baby as she made her way to the nursery. No matter where you are in the world, life is easier with friends and family.
There were a few things that were different, some for the better! During our one night stay after the C-section (that's different!), we SLEPT. For some reason the nurses and other medical professionals don't have to do as many things to you or the baby during the night, so when the baby was asleep (which was most of the time), we were, too.
This hospital allowed us to check into the room where we would be sleeping that night before the C-section happened. It was great to be able to put all of our "stuff" away and not have to find someone to tote it around until two hours after the C-section when I am finally escorted from the recovery room to our actual room.
Not sure if it's Costa Rican custom, or just at this hospital, but our hospital had a lady from a local beauty salon that does the hair and make-up of all the new mommies before they go home - fun.
The biggest difference for Jimbo was walking into an operating room where the operation was already, um, in progress. He has never seen so much of the actual surgery. Fortunately he didn't pass out on us:).
All in all, we had the same difficulties that we normally have - my face itched like crazy for several hours afterwards, I couldn't get close to Micah for several days until the stitches felt safe, there's pain in the adjustment to nursing, and I was TIRED. (Ok, I'm still tired, and so is Jimbo - please keep praying for Micah to sleep well at night.) BUT, this has by far been our best C-section recovery and newborn experience. My body is doing amazingly well (especially after four session of physical therapy to help out my back, which mysteriously fell apart after the C-section), and we are enjoying this baby.
Life with four kids is definitely different than life with three - but that's no surprise. There have been plenty of stressful moments already, but this is an exciting time because it's a time for God to craft more mercy and grace into our parenting as the demands on us increase.
Pray for us, that we would choose to follow our Shepherd onto paths of Rest and Obedience instead of paths of frustration and control, especially in moments, or rather weeks, of fatigue. It is a time of molding, of being soft clay in the Potter's hands, and right now the wheel is flying.
Next week we have the privilege of welcoming my parents to their first outside-the-USA experience! Please stand with us in prayer that my mom will receive her passport before she needs to leave for the airport next Wednesday. On paper things do not look good (red tape...), but our God is the God Who placed the waters where they belong - putting a passport where it belongs is nothing for Him.
Maybe my next blog post will be about how complicated it is to get Lillian's US passport...