Thursday, 7 April 2011

Hospital life

T was born in the early hours of Monday morning last week, and we stayed in the hospital until Friday. A stay of 4 or 5 days is the norm here, and people are usually quite shocked to hear how quickly you go home again in the UK. In fact, a lot of older people here still think a week is the usual length of time to stay in hospital, and consider 4 days to be rather short...

The new expanded Monkey family, 12 hours in

I had T (and K) at a small ob/gyn, not a general hospital. I had a private room (with washbasin, fridge, TV and DVD player) where I laboured before going to the delivery room. After T was born I rested in the delivery room for an hour or so before walking back to my room, where I spent most of the next few days.

Big brother cuddles

For the first day and night T stayed in the nursery and was brought to me when he wanted to feed. From the second day he was in my room with me, but the nurses and midwives often reminded me that I could leave him with them anytime if I needed a rest, or if I wanted to take a shower. Each morning the cleaning lady came in and cleaned the room, and brought me fresh pyjamas.

H, K and my parents came in to visit every afternoon, and several friends dropped by too. There weren't that many women in the hospital at the time I was there, so the staff always had time for a chat too if I had any concerns.

T was rather jaundiced and it was recommended that he have some UV light treatment. Usually that requires going back to the nursery and lying under a special lamp with a mask on to protect the eyes, but they just happened to have a new piece of equipment there on demonstration loan. This provided light from below and a naked T was fitted into the special cover-cum-pyjamas with just his head sticking out. This meant that he could stay in the room with me and didn't have to wear an eye mask.

His levels had improved by Friday and were even better again on Saturday when we went back to have them checked again. Tomorrow we'll be going back for a check-up again.

Now a big issue at hospitals is always the food, right? Before I went into hospital with K, I had heard that this clinic put a lot of emphasis on traditional, Japanese food. Now most of what I cook and eat at home is typical Japanese home cooking, but even so I was a bit worried that there was going to be a lot of oily fish, natto (fermented soybeans) and the like...

In fact, the food was fantastic, and so it was again this time! Here's what I had for dinner on the first night, along with a little 'congratulations' flower arrangement...

...and here's a typical lunch:

There was natto for breakfast one day, but H was there then, so he ate it :-)

Lots of people, Japanese and not, have asked me if I wouldn't have preferred to have given birth back in the UK. It's true that it would have been nice to at least have had the option of some pain-relief, and alternatives to the feet-in-the-stirrups delivery table, but overall I really liked the whole hospital experience here. Nice environment, lovely staff, delicious food... it was like a little holiday, with no cooking or housework to do. Oh, and did I mention the complementary aromatherapy foot massage?

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