Having a Baby in a Chinese Hospital

My wife and I arrived home hours ago from the hospital with our firstborn, Caleb Steven Scott. At birth, he was 7.1 lbs. (3.22kg) and 20.1” (51cm). What an event! I never imagined in my life that my first child would be born in China, let alone another country. https://twitter.com/danielscott_5/status/519032561125691392 It all started Thursday night, 8pm Beijing time when my wife started to have contractions. They weren’t too bad or intense until the next afternoon. But when late morning came, we were informed by our ride that the highway (the best way to get there) was packed and would have traffic jams. My wife, Marta, wasn’t smiling anymore. Thus, our ride came to pick Marta, our doula (and her 5-month old), her friend and me up to go on to the hospital. It took over an hour to arrive there when a normal day would take forty-five minutes or less depending on who’s driving. 😉 When we reached the hospital at 11:30-11:45am, it took at least a half an hour for paperwork to be completed and for us to be given a place to stay the next three days—this was the normal amount of time that Chinese stay after the birth. The time was longer than normal since we forgot Marta’s medical history at our apartment. Now you’re thinking…what? Her medical history? Yep because Chinese hospitals don’t keep the records. You do, on paper. This brought one of our doula’s Chinese friends to the hospital to make a delivery. An amazing support team, and this is only the beginning!

Marta met with a nurse to check on certain things in her medical history.
This was our room in the Chinese hospital. Quite nice, except for the beds. Oh well…

In the room, the nurses got right to work on checking my wife’s health along with the baby’s heartbeat.

This was Caleb’s pulse when we arrived.

Marta was 1cm dilated. Did we come too early? Was this a mistake? Questions like these and others came to my mind at that time and the hours following since a couple hours later she was only 2cm. It’s gonna happen tomorrow. We’ve got some time. But wait, this is really happening! At times, I couldn’t contain my joy while I had to maintain my focus on coaching. Her water had broken. Sweet mother! This is definitely goin’ to happen the next 24 hours! Or else the health of the baby wouldn’t be too good. Time at this point seemed to go slower than normal. Marta was moved down to the “Labor Room” so that a team of 2-3 nurses could check the baby’s heartbeat more frequently. She started to feel more pain here so our doula and I rubbed her lower back every time like it was the end of the world. I maintained my focus, as the Bradley method instructs you to do.

Here’s one of the nurses checking Caleb’s heartbeat in the Labor Room. Their support was fantastic!

We moved back up to our hospital room, and time was still slow. I regained my strength at this time with what our doula’s friend brought for us, Whoppers from the Burger King across the road. Perfect! As a team of three, we stayed on track while the feelings were becoming more intense for Marta but each one was only 45 seconds or so. It felt like only a couple hours later that Marta turned out to be 7-8cm dilated. Time was speeding up, and the delivery was in sight!

I’m not a fan of selfies, but our doula suggested I do one. If only you could see my smile behind it.

Here is where my joy was allowed to be shown, as I could infer from my wife’s nonverbals. We went to the delivery room at 7:30pm on Friday, October 3, 2014. At 8:41, Caleb was born. I spare some details for the sake of privacy and respect while others are necessary, right? 😀

Caleb looking into his mother’s eyes.

During the time of our stay to the moment we left, the hospital took great care of us. They took out our trash twice a day. They checked on Marta and the baby (sometimes too often, haha). The nurses changed the sheets daily. We were given time and space for ourselves and for Caleb once he was born. The nurses never once looked at us differently or giggled about anything out of the baby norm. There were only two times when a nurse we hadn’t seen before came in with one of ours, and then walked out asking questions. Probably rookies to foreigners. Who knows. It didn’t bother us. The next steps were explained to us (though our Chinese friend informed us that nurses on two different floors spoke of two conflicting ideas). One may say, “They didn’t do the right things. They are uninformed in today’s methods. They did this or did that.” You are correct, to a degree. But in the end, we had foreign and Chinese friends stop by to check on us, bring food, translate, hold Caleb and pray over us as a new member had joined the family. Blessings just kept raining down on us. It helps to have a wife who knows so much Chinese, especially the medical lingo. My heart was heavily touched, and it didn’t help that I was finishing up Andrew Murray’s The Master’s Indwelling also. Not even the cold sores on my mouth can stand up to the joy I have looking to my right and seeing my wife take a nap with our little Caleb Steven Scott.