From Beer Crates to Bed Risers – Dutch Oddities
There are plenty of posts out there about having a baby in the Netherlands. (Cup of Jo has a wonderful series, Motherhood Around the World, that is worth checking out.) In honor of today being my due date, I just want to share with you some of the funny moments of preparing for this baby here in the Netherlands.
From the beginning everything has just been more laid back. I see a midwife because doctors are reserved mostly for high risk patients. This keeps healthcare costs down and reduces intervention rates. The midwife schedule is much less intense than what I was used to in the United States. I had two blood draws the entire pregnancy and no other testing. My appointments consist of taking my blood pressure, chatting with the midwife and checking on baby either with the Doppler or an in-office ultrasound. I’ve only been asked to step on the scale twice – one at my first visit and once at 37 weeks. Appointments are short but never rushed.
One of the strangest things we have had to do is raise the bed. Much of the birthing process is done in the home. Midwives come to the house when you go into labor and are accompanied by a nurse. Even if you choose to head to the hospital to give birth, assuming all goes well the nurse will return home with you a few hours after birth. This means that your bed needs to be an appropriate height for the nurse to work.
Dutch insurance companies provide the bed risers to their clients. We however, have American insurance. So under the guidance of some very wise Dutch and Expat friends, Jeff headed to the grocery store to pick up beer crates to raise the bed. These beer crates are how we return glass bottles to the store here. The kind folks at the grocery store were not at all surprised when I asked for six crates – it seemed a bit like they get lots of folks asking to take home beer crates. Each required a 1.50 Euro deposit.
Once the crates were home Jeff set to “raising the bed.” Due to the width of our stairs here our king bed is actually made up of two twins that are strapped together to form a king. This makes getting the beer crates under the bed quite a mess, particularly when only one party can do the heavy lifting.
Most people would have left the bed, but my engineer husband was not excited about how the bed legs sat on the crates. He could see the crates deforming under the weight of the bed and he probably feared that he’d lose his crate deposits if he returned the crates unusable.
He loaded up the boys and took them to the hardware store. We also didn’t bring any of the wood working tools here, so Jeff had the hardware store cut the planks of wood while we were there. With the wood on the crates and the bed on the wood we are now within regulations for appropriate bed height!
Jeff and I will spend the next few weeks sleeping on our beer crate bed. It feels like a thing college students would do, but I think we may actually be getting used to it!