I have been asked about the maternity situation here and why we are choosing to (hopefully) have the delivery in BJ. So here are some thoughts on the issue, to date.
1) Our second child, Meng Yuan was born by C-section, and our third, Lu Ming, was born as a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesearean), and we’d really really like to avoid another c-section if possible.
Here in our city there is limited experience with any second child due to the national one-child policy.
Additionally, C-section rates are quite high here (according to WHO, 26-63% of births are C-sections in urban areas).
VBACs are unheard of here. As I was told, “if I have one contraction here, they will cut.”
On the other hand, the hospital we are hoping to deliver at is well familiar with VBACS and has a roster of western-trained OBGYNs who do all the deliveries.
2) There are currently no (zero) hospitals in this city that allow the father of the baby to be present at the birth.
And I for one insist that the man who got me into this predicament in the first place be there for the grand drama (plus he needs to hold my hand and say Push in English)
I am pleased to say that I had the honor of working for several years with Dr. John Kennell, who several decades ago showed the many benefits in outcomes from fathers being present during the delivery and before/after (for more, see http://blog.case.edu/case-news/2006/05/19/two_emeritus_medical_school_professors_at_case_share_hovorka_prize_for_exceptional_achievements).
3) Squattie potties.
Although I am learning to adjust to many different ways of doing things in this new culture, I must confess that I have not acculturated to the point of appreciating sharing a squattie with one or several other ladies in the immediate post partum period. Plus I am ucertain of the status of shower availability. I understand that the cultural expectations for post partum women are quite different as well, and often a new mom will not be allowed to shower or wash her hair for the first 30 days after delivery. But more on post partum stuff in another post…
So, all of that being said, I will opt for the version that includes more of my western-accustomed amenities, at least since it is an option that I thankfully have available to me.
Even if the toilet is not made of gold, but just white porcelain.