Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Birth in Beijing

I have been trying to write this post for days. But I am either too exhausted to put something comprehensive together or busy with Jie-Jie & Mei-Mei to write. So here's a very quick summary, mainly because I think some people might be interested.

Initially I was going to write a blow-by-blow, then I thought about writing a comparison between my experience in Sydney and the one I have just had in Beijing, but I would be easily sidetracked and overwhelmed by the need to rant at various points. So 'The Good', 'The Bad' and 'The Ugly' it is.

The Good (in no order of preference):
- We didn't pay a single yuan.
- Great facilities
- Very quick and efficient service
- Everything went smoothly
- Lactation Consultant in hospital was awesome!
- Private Lactation Consultant is Aussie and she seriously rocks!
- We had a candle-lit dinner in my room (ok, it was actually 'chicken-cooker'/phototherapy bed lit, but was still quite lovely)
- The staff were very kind and fussed much over Mei-mei.
- At no point did I feel like I was being closed in my room and forgotten about
- Buzzer was actually answered. And very quickly!
- The staff spoke english and were very polite, No-one was rude or harsh.
- I made it very clear I wanted to breastfeed & this was supported and encouraged.
- No recovery unit meant I was back in my room immediately, skin to skin with Mei-mei and breastfeeding within half an hour of her birth. Brilliant!
- Dr Brooks (my obs) whipped people into line when they needed to be and made them back off when I needed people out of my face. He was very relaxed and realistic

The Bad:
(And here you have to understand I am an experienced nurse and will tend to be a bit critical)

- Basic Nursing Care was a little lax. I mean, they were surprised and a little freaked out that I got up and had a shower the next morning (they hadn't given me a post-op sponge, or provided anything for me to be able to clean myself up). Yucko.
- Over here, nursing staff are not so much the patient advocates that we are back home. This means I had to call the shots (ha! cracked a funny) when it came to my pain relief and keep tabs on when, what and how. Wasn't so bad for me because I'm trained to do this anyway, but not so hot if you don't know the go.
- Oh and it never hurts to introduce yourself to the patients in your care. This is the usually the very first thing they teach you in both nursing and medical school. It's not a toughie to get right.
- It was an expensive (and oh boy, do I mean expensive) hospital, I would have expected a lot better nursing care. They fussed over Mei-mei, but did not really see to my needs as well as they should have.
- My arms were tied down during the c-section! In Australia, to do this without consent constitutes abuse! This really upset Mr C and really upset me, once I realised what had happened (too late).
- I was sedated. Totally unnecessarily. Not happy.
- They didn't explain what they were doing to me and why. Again with the not happy.
- To get any information at all out of anybody, you are really pushing it uphill. This is a country where no-one wants to accept any responsibility, therefore to give information freely puts people at risk of getting it wrong. No-one ever gets anything wrong here. Neither can they admit it when they just don't know.
- There were an endless stream of people in my room from customer service and accounts to doctors I hadn't met, all rubbing their hands together gleefully. Glad we weren't paying!
- No, my window isn't open.
- No, my baby dosen't need to be fed every half a bloody hour, she is sucking on her fists because she is trying to settle. Please don't bother her.
- No, I do not want to formula feed my baby.
- No, my baby is not cold.
- No, my husband and daughter do not have swine flu.
- Yes, I am up and walking. What else am I supposed to do, lie here like an invalid?
- No, please don't manhandle my breasts and squeeze the life out of them. They are already quite painful enough without you causing further damage. I will put the baby on the breast myself, thankyou.
- I have done this before, being the mother of a three year old already. I am not completely clueless.
- They freak out here at anything slightly out of the normal parameters. Mei-mei had some jaundice and lost a little (acceptable) weight. They placed alot of stress on me, insisting that I supplement with formula, feed every hour etc. I get why, but really, it wasn't necessary. At least I had a good, clued in, culturally sensitive (Australian) Obstetrician and a decent lactation consultant who made it all good.

The Ugly:
- We won't talk about the ugly. You don't need to know anything except that my room was on the labour ward and it wasn't necessarily Mei-mei keeping me awake at night.


  1. I'm really glad you got the post-op care and support from the Ob and lactation consultant that you did! It sounds like they made quite a difference.
    I hear the recovery from c-section tends to be a little easier, second time round, too. Hope you're doing well, and pers is loving being a big sister.

  2. Hey Aphie,
    I actually recovered very quickly both first and second time around from my c-sections, though you are right, if anything the first time around was more difficult. I put that down to the big unknown factor. This time I knew what pain relief worked for me and a whole world more about how my body works.

    Have to say, the baby blues I had with Pers were no-where near as severe in that first few days with Melie, but I have cried oceans over the last couple of weeks, I seem to be better this week. I'm ok and I can tell that these are hormonal tears coupled with some homesickness, so at least I can keep it in check.

  3. Glad to hear it all went well.