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 :)


Kelly Hallahan said...

i love everything about this post. most specifically- Josiah. And getting to be here for this baby (unlike the other two)!

pkgormong said...

yay cool! I love the post! so great! They listened to gwen's heartbeat with that thing here in Russia when I was pregnant...American must be behind in the times:)

Nathan said...

Awesome post Meg! I smiled the whole way through! I love the thoughtful ipod. Did it end up on the itemized list? :-)

The Waggoners said...

What a creative post, Meg! Loved it all! So fascinating and Josiah will really treasure it when he gets older!

Ana said...

My sister is about to leave the UK to go to Uganda and she is 6 months pregnant. Your blog has helped allay some of my fears. I hope she can go to the same hospital as you! How much did you have to pay for the hospital stay? Thanks

Meg Rambo said...

Ana, send me your email address. I would love to send you and your sister more details about the hospital.