So two weeks and two days ago my son was born! This for anyone is a daunting enough, but for this to be happening in China for me as a foreigner was next level!
So first off being a foreigner in China you usually attract a reasonable amount of attention from the locals, now imagine that multiplied by one thousand when they see you with your Chinese wife who’s about to give birth, ha! Needless to say most was harmless curiosity, but there was a few moments when I really had to bite my tongue.
Random lady staring really un subtly
Another major difference to a western country is the hospitals themselves, the delivery ward is a no go place for anyone but the person giving birth for a large majority of the time. We actually weren’t expecting to be in hospital quite so soon, but after a routine check surprised us with the news that my wife was already 1cm dilated and due to the fact my wife had gestational diabetes, we checked in to the hospital that afternoon. At first they kept my wife in the delivery ward, the rest of us waited outside for several hours. One thing that really blew my mind was the amount of things we needed to take into the hospital with us. Where as in England just one bag of things would suffice, here we needed to take in six large bags and even bought more things from the shops in the hospital as needed! Its times like this where you really appreciate the NHS, we had to take all the necessary utensils for washing both the baby and my wife, dressings and towels etc she would need during her stay. All things you take for granted because in England they are provided for you
Grandma winding him
The hospital itself was also quite impressive, about the size of a small city and with all the necessary amenities to sustain life such as restaurants and a 24 hour supermarket, that stocked among other things a range of beer and spirits just incase you fancied getting drunk! Ha!
Next commenced the waiting, eventually my wife requested that she be let out of the delivery ward and to be given a bed on the maternity ward to wait. This allowed her the freedom to walk around the hospital, which would help the baby come faster. We literally must have walked so far my legs ached for days! After be admitted on the Saturday afternoon, come Monday morning my wife was put on a drip to induce labour due to her gestational diabetes. From then on it all happened pretty fast, I was allowed to go through and be with her on the delivery ward (at a cost of around thirty pounds) and then had to leave when they took her to the delivery room to actually have the baby. Then a nervous two hour wait whilst the doctors and nurses did whatever they needed to be done. And finally I got to see my son for the first time!! Happy doesn’t even come close to how I felt and still feel now! The rest of the three days was kind of the same as anywhere in the world, then we finally got to come home.
Being at home differs from western countries because we have a nanny who lives with us for forty days to look after the baby and my wife, and to help us get up and running as parents. My wife will have forty days of rest and is unable to leave the house, after that we are on our own! Scary stuff! For me as a westerner at first I thought that the forty day nanny seems silly, but actually seeing it in practice I now get the its actually really helpful, especially as first time parents.