Today I met for “donuts” with one of ladies and her two toddlers from our church here.
In two minute segments, between kids squealing for more, trying to keep coffee out of their reach and otherwise keeping them from stealing each other’s toys or crawling under the table, we had the opportunity to discuss some information I saw on my maternity clinic’s website (she originally recommended it to me).
I had happened to come across a daily schedule at the hospital.
It starts with wake-up call at 7am. Now the thought of there being a wake-up at all blows my mind. I don’t recall ever sleeping in the hospital. Anyway, you’re supposed to feed your baby and take them to the nursery and then go have breakfast in the “lounge”- (cafeteria??). I’ve heard the food is good.
Then we collect the kids and guess what! It’s bath time for the babies! A nurse will show us the first day and then we give the babies a bath everyday. When I explained to my friend that in America, you typically don’t bathe the baby until after the umbilical cord is healed, her eyes widened and she spent a considerable time laughing– I think embarrassed for us Americans.
I hear that the moms’ shower area is kinda like a gym shower with stalls. Thankfully, it’s not typical onsen style (where you all shower in one room together, and then have a huge hot bath that you sit in- together)
The next noteworthy thing is that once during your hospital stay, you can get a massage.
Lights out is at 10 or 11. If you have to get up with the baby, then you can use a small lamp. And of course, the nurses make their rounds throughout the night.
On my to-bring list (besides the normal): my “inkan” (Japanese official stamp with my last name used for all important documents), a big bath towel that can get dirty to put on the bed (particularly for right after birth), and hair/makeup products (because… of course!).
Among the things the hospital provides:
-hair brush, tooth brush set, slippers, shampoo, conditioner, a blow dryer (which can be got at the nurse station), cloth diapers for the baby, and what Google translate told me was a “squeaky belt pelvis belt” which I’m guessing is the wrap for getting your body back to a human shape after the baby.
Each hospital is different- whether you wear your own clothes or not, whether your husband can be in the room when you give birth (including the OR), whether you stay in your own room during the day, whether children or people other than family can come visit you. Don’t take those things for granted! But it seems rather common among hospitals here that:
-husbands cannot stay overnight
-the most economical hospital room is the room you share with 2-3 others
-Visiting hours are divided in the morning and evenings
-Epidurals are uncommon
-Regular delivery warrants a 4 night stay in the hospital while a C-section delivery calls for 7 nights in the hospital.
Speaking of which, I got the list of fees (besides those standard stays and the room types that you can upgrade to). I was amused to find that:
-If your baby is born after hours (5-10pm, 6-8am), it’s an extra $150 charge.
-An extra $200 if baby is born on a weekend or holiday
-An extra $250 if baby is born between 10pm and 6am.
-A $100 fee if you’re late checking out
And other fees, but these made me smile.
Another interesting note: it’s cheaper to have a c-section than a regular delivery (despite the longer stay), AND it’s way cheaper than having a VBAC.
This concludes my research over the past two or three weeks. Next on my agenda is finding out the deadlines we will have after the baby’s birth to get birth-certificate type paperwork filed at the City Hall, getting visas and social security card/passport at the US embassy.