Overseas Birth Story

Posted by  | Wednesday, December 2, 2009  at 2:30 PM  
Here is another overseas birth story from Courtney. She and her husband have lived in Southeast Asia for the past few years. They are currently in Vancouver, but plan to return to SE Asia in February. Their son, Asher, is 14 months old and was born in Southeast Asia. You can see their family blog here. In addition, she has another blog where she wrote about her pregnancy. Thanks for sharing, Courtney!

My husband, Roger, and I had been living in Southeast Asia for about a year when we found out we were expecting our first child, we were super excited and immediately started figuring out what we needed to do to have a baby in another country. We decided to stay in the city we lived in to have the baby even though we had the option of going to a bigger city. Some of our co-workers had just had a baby at a hospital very close to our house and had a good experience, so we decided that we would deliver there also.

From the beginning I learned that healthcare was much different overseas. I had to be very proactive with my pre-natal care. If I wanted to have any tests or blood work done I had to ask for them. My monthly check up was basically just checking my weight, my blood pressure and having an ultrasound. I got to have an ultrasound each time I went to the doctor, I loved getting to see the baby every month. I also learned not to always trust my doctor. I started having a lot of Braxton-Hicks contractions around 25 weeks and when I mentioned them to my doctor he immediately wrote me a prescription for medicine. Before taking the medicine we did some research and found out it was some pretty serious medicine to stop pre-term labor. I checked with an American doctor and decided it was not what I needed to be taking. Later in my pregnancy I had a really bad cold and my doctor again wrote me a prescription, it turns out that medicine could not be taken while pregnant.

I also learned a lot about pregnancy in the country we were living in. Roger and I originally estimated the due date for our son to be September 15, but after our first visit to our doctor it was changed to September 9 because the doctor thought 09/09 would be a great date to have a baby. We learned that local people thought pineapple would cause me to have a miscarriage, that ice water would make me fat and that ginger tea would cure morning sickness. Near the end of my pregnancy we also learned that the local people did not understand a due date the way we did. When we told them my due date was September 9 they assumed he would be born that day. When that day came and went (and went and went and went, Asher was 11 days late) they started to panic. We received text messages all day long asking if "I had borned Roger's baby" and we even had several people offer to take us to new doctors to help the baby be born.

Overall I had a wonderful experience (you can read Asher's birth story here). I had a friend come into the delivery room with us to help us out, she took charge when the doctor wanted to do an unnecessary C Section and kept me going the whole time. We both spoke the language, but quickly forgot it in the midst of dealing with pain and were very glad we had someone there to translate for us. There were of course strange things happening the whole time. I text messaged with my doctor about when to go to the hospital, the doctor stopped by to check on me and to make me eat french fries while I was in labor and after Asher was born the nurse took one look at me and announced I was unfit to breastfeed. There were challenges in communicating in another language and across cultures, but thanks to our wonderful friends everything worked out perfectly.


KC said...

Did you ever find out why the nurse thought you were unfit to breastfeed? I am assuming you did not listen to her.

roger and courtney said...

She said my nipples weren't right. I did ignore her and it was very difficult to get him to nurse, but after a few days we got it figured out.

KC said...

Good for you for persevering! My son struggled to learn the suck/swallow/breathe rhythm and we worked at it for months. Everybody told me to give up, but I was determined! He is 13 months now and still nursing!

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