Monday, May 14, 2012

Giving Birth in Uganda: Our Experience

What was it like to have a baby in Uganda? Let me share with you based on my experiences. Every woman is different as is every hospital. We were at a private hospital in the capital city of Kampala. Let me tell you what things were the same as having a baby via caesarian section in the states and what things were different.

Same: we checked in at the desk, had my weight and blood pressure checked
Different: they checked the baby's heart beat they used a Pinard stethoscope.

Same: I changed into a hospital gown and waited to be taken for surgery
Different: they call the operating room "the theater"

Same: Scott was allowed to come into the operating room and be with me
Different: the anesthesiologist gave me an iPod to listen to so I would not be bored

Same: the operating room was clean and they clean the incision area and put sheets over to keep the clean environment
Different: I got to watch them lay out and count their tools before and after the surgery (I am sure they did this in America too, but here I got to watch)

Same: the doctor did the operation and all went well, I got to see baby Josiah
Different: for us, our baby then had to stay in the nursery for several hours because he had trouble breathing and had to be on oxygen

Same: I had to wait in recovery after surgery for an hour
Different: again, the anesthesiologist gave me an iPod to listen to so I would not be bored

Same: they put me on a stretcher, called a "trolley" and brought me to my room
Different: we stopped and greeted many people on the way

Same: I got settled into my room
Different: my room has a real bed for Scott to sleep in and a mini fridge

Same: there was a TV in the room
Different: it only kind of worked, very fuzzy picture on the few channels

Same: I was served a "liquid only" diet
Different: black tea with lots of sugar was served along with water and juice

Same: food is provided for me
Different: the diet is all local African dishes

Same: Scott kept checking on Josiah in the nursery
Different: Scott was allowed INTO the nursery whenever he wanted, but for other visitors he had to beg the nurses to even move the curtain to see in the window

Same: I wore a hospital gown for the surgery
Different: I was then changed into a hospital dress

No, that is not my shirt, it is the
hospital supplied dress
Same: I had loud neighbors
Different: they don't speak English

Same: my bed could recline, go up and down
Different: it also came with a bug net

Same: my bed had sheets on it
Different: no towels, wash cloths or such is provided

Same: there was a toilet, sink and shower in my room
Different: there was no hot water

Same: the nurses bathed Josiah
Different: we were asked to provide the towel, washcloth and soap

Same: Josiah's bed is the same as we have had before, complete with drawers
Different: there are no supplies in said drawers, no diapers, blankets, anything. we had to bring our own

Same: we had to pay our bill at the end of our stay
Different: we had to pay for bottles of water as we used them, $.40 each

Same: the nurses work 12 hr shifts
Different: the head nurse could not leave right away because her replacement could not find her uniform

nurses station for the postpartum  ward
Same: if the baby was crying for 5 minutes or more, the nurse would come into our room to check on us
Different: the nurse then just keeps repeating, "sorry baby, don't cry baby" for as long as it takes for the baby to quiet down

Same: we kept the baby warm
Different: the nurses were not happy unless we had a hat, socks, clothes, two swaddle blankets and a quilt on him (yes, we are in Africa and the temperature was 70 F)

Same: we had to sign some papers on arrival stating we would be responsible to pay all the charges
Different: we had to pay in full, in cash, before we could leave

Same: we got a bill for our visit
Different: at discharge we were given an itemized list stating everything that had been used all the way down to the number of gloves and cotton balls used

Same: we had visitors come see us and the baby
Different: they were new friends, one I had never met before

new friends made through Jo Coppedge
Same: we had great doctors and nurses
Different: they were all African

this is the pediatrician who helped Josiah
Same: we are happy and excited to have a new life in our family
Different: we are now a family of FIVE :)