7 August 2011, by Tan Yi Lin
Musing of the Week No.1:
– Maternity pants with adjustable drawstring waistband = a good thing
– Maternity pants with waistband that goes under your belly = a good thing
– Maternity pants with adjustable drawstring waistband that goes under your belly = design flaw
Why? Because I can’t see anything below my belly, let alone tie/untie a piece of string hanging under it a few times a day (I pee a lot, no, very frequently, remember?)
As a result, I got momentarily trapped in my pants-prison because in my fumble to untie the drawstring, I had tied it into a dead knot instead. Not a funny situation to be stuck in, especially when you need to pee again. But that didn’t stop Dan from laughing first before coming to my assistance. But then, you can’t expect any empathy from guys here, especially since they can just whip It out and pee anytime, anywhere.
The growth in girth has been insane. I wish my money could grow exponentially like that. For all I know, a spider could have spun a web under the monstrous overhang of my belly and is chillaxing in its shady arbour, swinging on a gossamer hammock with a cold beer in hand.
Musing of the Week No.2:
Pregnant women and round tables don’t go well together.
The curve of the table and the curve of my belly CLASH. Which means that I have to sit further away from the edge of the table. Which means that I cannot reach my food 🙁 I feel like a T-Rex! Big body; short arms. And very hungry. Raawwwrrrrrr.
The solution to eating at round tables is to sit sideways, with the left side of my waist pressed against the edge of the table. Awkward. But better than going hungry.
As I draw nearer to my estimated due date (only 16 days more!), the questions I get asked most often (besides “You’re still here?”) are:
– Where will you be delivering?
– Are you going for a natural birth?
Since we were seeking IVF treatment at KKH, it made perfect sense to continue with KKH for see us through the pregnancy and birth. I like things fuss-free and was quite happy to accept my IVF specialist’s offer to continue seeing me as my obstetrician. No need for transfer of medical records to another hospital; no need to explain my medical history to another doctor.
Also, all medical treatment and services for women and children are literally housed under one roof at KKH: from fertility treatment, to gynaecology, to obstetrics, to neo-natal care and paediatrics. So whether it’s me or baby who requires medical attention, there’s most definitely a specialist at KKH whom we can approach for help easily, which is a reassuring thought.
Our choice of hospital also depended on less important, but nevertheless, influential factors such as location, distance from home (we stay in the eastern part of Singapore), ease of getting there (either by car or the free hospital shuttle service from Bugis and Novena MRT stations) and availability of parking lots.
Then there are the frivolous things we like about KKH: Breakfast at McDonald’s, waffles from Prima Deli, kaya toast from Wang Cafe, second hand books from EMF Bookstore and shopping at Mothercare…
How about cost? While KKH is a public or restructured hospital, most patients like myself are unsubsidised, so we pay private patient rates, which don’t differ greatly from what patients at private hospitals pay. Do note that when comparing hospital charges, it is important to look at the overall estimated bill size instead of just the cost of the maternity package, because the latter does not necessarily compare like for like. KKH offers a financial counselling service, where a staff from the Admissions Counter explains in details what is included in the cost of the maternity package, the cost of additional services (like doctor’s fees, pain relief drugs, newborn tests), estimated overall bill size, payment modes (e.g. Medisave, cash) and the payment schedule. For us, we can expect to pay about $4,000 for normal delivery and should I need to deliver by Cesarean, our insurance policy will cover the additional cost. So cost for us wasn’t a huge deciding factor, because assuming that you can afford to, you would want to go for the option within your financial means that you are most comfortable with, and not the cheapest bargain that you can get.
Despite having already made the decision to deliver at KKH, I still signed up the free tour of the maternity services at KKH, which is conducted every Friday afternoon. The hospital staff lead us in a group of 10 through a video presentation of the hospital services and gave us a folder stuffed with brochures, newsletters and instructions on what documents to bring for birth registration, which I thought was immensely useful.
After that, we were brought to the O&G 24hr Clinic, which sees patients who are less than 22 weeks pregnant for outpatient treatment, or patients who are in the throes of labour and are in too much pain to make it to the Delivery Suite on their own.
Next, we were introduced to the Delivery Suite and shown the admissions counter, triage area, waiting room for family members and finally, the actual rooms used for labour and delivery. I had expected the rooms to resemble the cold, sterile environment of an operating theatre and was slightly surprised to see that soft touches (such as pastel drapes and floral paintings) had been added to create a more relaxing and homely feel instead. The staff explained the purpose of the various machines in the room and added that the entire bed (with patient) could be whisked to the operating theatre in 7 minutes flat should an emergency C-section be required.
Next, we were brought to the Maternity ‘Class A’ Ward. All the rooms in the Class A wards had been renovated less than a year ago. My iPhone camera doesn’t do justice to the commendable renovation works, but believe me, the rooms look much nicer than some of the hotel rooms that I’ve stayed in, complete with soft lighting, a sofa bed for the husband and a large flat-screen TV. We were also shown the four-bedder B1 wards as a more economic alternative to the single-bedder A ward.
Renovated Class A ward – I like this place!
The Birth Plan
I get a little confused when people ask me whether I’m planning for a natural birth. I’m not sure if ‘natural’ means normal (vs Cesarean) or drug-free (vs use of pain relief drugs).
Basically, the plan is to deliver vaginally, with the aid of an epidural to reduce but not completely remove the pain of contractions altogether. But as with the best laid plans, anything could go awry and I’m not going to beat myself up if I end up having a planned or emergency C-section, or be so drugged that I can’t feel anything while pushing at all. To me, the best birth plan is the one that gets the baby out the fastest, with the least harm to both mother and baby.
In summary, the plan involves:
– Normal (i.e. vaginal) birth in whatever position the doctor or nurses want to put me in (I’m not hard up for the water birth, birthing ball or squatting options – not that KKH offers these anyway.)
– Episiotomy (I asked my doctor whether this was necessary because I read that perineal massage prior to delivery could reduce the need for a deliberate cut. Doctor said that Asian skin doesn’t stretch as much as Caucasian, so an episiotomy was still highly recommended to prevent tearing up, down, sideways or in all directions. Shudder.)
– The husband will stand at the head of the bed.
– The husband does not want to see the baby crowning, thank you very much.
– Nor does he want to have the dubious honour of ceremoniously cutting the umbilical cord. Because blood squirts.
– Once out, baby will be handed to mum for skin-on-skin contact, total breastfeeding and rooming in.
I think the doctors at KKH have delivered so many babies that they’re all pretty chill about their patients’ birth plans and aren’t in a hurry to discuss any details. I just need to ask the nurses to send in the anaesthetist when I check into the delivery suite and tell my doctor the rest when she visits me then. Cool. Fuss-free. I like.
With all that settled, there’s nothing left to do but wait.
Doo dee doo dee doo dee doo…..