Saturday, 25 September 2010

Worlds Apart

One mother. One boy, one girl. One planned, one surprise. One natural, one induced.

Two lives, two births. Two hospitals, two countries...

Two very different experiences...

Worlds apart...

Every birth is a unique adventure. You never really know how it's going to turn out. As I went through my second pregnancy, I had to laugh at the marked differences between it and my first one. Lucas was born in a fancy hospital in Bangladesh, and Elena was born in a fancy hospital in Brazil. But there the similarities end. What follows are some of my reflections on pregnancy and delivery in these two countries...

I felt a little over-doctored here in Brazil. I saw my doctor every month from the time we found out we were expecting (which was quite early - about 6 weeks in), every two weeks from 32 weeks, and every week from 36 weeks, and twice in the last week. Considering I was almost at 42 weeks when Elena was finally born - I saw a lot of my doctor! With Lucas I managed to get by with a lot fewer appointments.

Every time I saw my doctor, I had an internal exam, and in Bangladesh I had to ask my doctor to do even one, and this in my last three weeks of pregnancy. She said many Bengali women are scared of the pain of even an internal exam and opt for scheduled c-sections (if they can afford it). Interestingly, in Brazil, scheduled c-sections are also very common. I was very determined to have natural births and made it very clear to my doctors.

I had 9 ultrasounds with Elena - all covered by our insurance (thank goodness!) and from the second one we had a guess as to our baby's gender - the doctor said with 80% certainty it was a girl. Each subsequent scan confirmed it. We pushed our doctors in Bangladesh to reveal Lucas' gender to no avail, and only found out when a friend of ours did the ultrasound herself. We had 4 ultrasounds for Lucas and got to see him in 4D, which we didn't get with Elena. 

Before Lucas was born, we went to tour the hospital - meaning we wandered down to the maternity ward after one of my check-ups and asked to get shown around. We saw the labor ward and the delivery rooms. I was pretty happy with what I saw, but didn't really have all my questions answered. Here in São Paulo, we had to call and set up an appointment, and we were part of a big group tour. We got to see the reception, recovery rooms and the hallways. Everything else we saw on a video, which may have answered my questions if I could've understood everything.

In Bangladesh, we rushed to the hospital after my water broke, asked for a wheelchair and made our way straight to the maternity ward. Later David had to go down and officially register me at the emergency desk. This time around we leisurely took a cab to the hospital and sat around in the reception for about an hour while the insurance was called, our information taken and all the official stuff taken care of.

Lucas was probably the only white baby in the hospital in Dhaka. To my recollection he didn't even have an ID tag. In fact, I don't think I had one either. Here I had two tags on my wrist, and Elena had one on each foot and one arm. When the nurses brought her to my room from the nursery, both our tags were scanned with a handheld device to confirm her identity as my daughter.

All in all, each experience was so special because of the wonderful outcome, my beautiful children. It is something I wouldn't change for the world.

Although it would be nice someday to have a kid in a hospital where I can understand everything in my own language! We'll leave the language issues for another post...   


  1. Do you have any posts about how you got from here to there? Obviously not HERE-here. But you have lived in so many foreign places. Have you ever told that story? It would probably making an interesting series. I'd read it.=) If you have already posted this kind of thing, leave me a link to look up.
    Anyway, thanks for linking your two births to Flash Back Friday. It was greg to read. They truly are all different.

    1. Thanks for suggesting that. I hadn't really thought about it, but I guess I kind of have an interesting story :)

  2. Wow, this is such an amazing contrast. I loved reading about the differences. What a cool thing to be able to tell your children someday. The story of how they each got their start in such a different way. Very interesting that you had no tags with your son and several with your daughter. Your babies are beautiful. I Loved the pics at the end. Great post. Thanks for linking up with FBF.

    1. Yeah, in Bangladesh I think Lucas was the only white (caucasian) baby in the hospital so it wasn't hard to match him to his mother :).

  3. Wow! I really enjoyed reading about your pregnancy experiences. Here in Costa Rica I feel they press toward over-doctoring too, though I didn't actually go as often as they'd scheduled me to. We opted for natural birth with a midwife, though in order to save major $ I went to sort-of monthly appts. with the free govt. clinic nearby. I can't imagine giving birth in a hospital where I don't understand what's going to happen. I'd be super anxious in that situation.


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