Sunday, January 09, 2011

Am I being choosy on my birth plan just because I MOSTLY prefer UK than Malaysia?

Alhamdulillah shukur, Iskandar got a job offer from one of the Islamic Banks in Malaysia. We have never planned on going back to Malaysia for 'good' but we thought, if our rezeki is there, what's the harm right? Anyway, when you are married with 1 and 1/2 child(ren), decisions have to be made in every detailed aspects. We can't just say "let's go!" just because it suits us. How about our child's education in years to come? Everything in Malaysia needs money so.... without it, you cannot live as how you want to. No doubt 'they' don't start school in about 4 years time but that 4 years will flyby! But we'll worry about that li'l later.

What I'm 'worried' about now is my birth plan. You see, in the UK, they practise 'active birth'. What it means by active birth is that when you are about 5cm dilated, you are given the choice to either sit on a rocking chair, bounce on a gym ball, walk around the room or even be in a birthing pool. So basically, you don't just lie down on the bed and wait to be fully dilated. When I talk to my Malaysian friends about their birth experience, most or if not all of them will say that they will be on the bed when they are about 5cm dilated and just wait for the 10cm/fully dilated.

From my experience, being in an active birth will make the dilation and birth quicker. I was in the labour room for approximately 4 hours. I chose to be on a rocking chair as it was easier and more stable for me. The midwife did not allow me to lay on the bed until I was really ready to push. This was really good as it took my mind off pushing even though I was in real pain. I can't imagine myself lying on the bed just waiting for the moment to push, it would be so irritating and restless!!

The second worry I have is the cost. Of course there is government hospital and I am sure that I will give birth there rather than private. I prefer it to be that way. I know with private hospitals, the nurses will care for the baby whilst the mother get their rest and baby will only be given to the Mom during feeding time. I don't think I'd be able to cope with that because to me, as soon as I give birth, I expect my baby to be with me 24-7! Yes, I am very demanding like that. The thing is, if I have the nurses to look after my baby, it would be awkward for me when I finally have the baby to myself at home. I will have to adjust myself to waking up whenever the baby cries etc. Like in the UK, as soon as I gave birth, Khairaldin was next to me all.the.time. I even had to change his diapers when he was about 12 hours old. So yeah, he was under my supervision. Which also allowed me to breastfeed him whenever I felt like it, be it every half an hour or every hour. At least I know he was there next to me when I need to pick him up and feed. I'm not sure how it works with the government hospital in Malaysia but I hope it's the same as it is in the UK.

Finally, I'm not used to having visitors surround me after I've given birth. To me, once I give birth it's the time for Iskandar and I to cherish for a while and sink in the fact we just had a child. It is definitely lovely to have visitors around but! It'll be awkward when you need to excuse yourself to breastfeed or even since I'm wearing hijab for me to be stuck in hijabi attire for a long time! It's not easy to tell people that you need space especially when they are your relative and friends. When I gave birth to Khairaldin, there was only my younger brother and eldest brother (plus family) around. So it was easy for me to do what I needed to do.

There are lots of things parents need to consider after giving birth. It is not only because of the baby's health but also the mother's body is slowly changing (breastmilk filling up etc) and it becomes rather VERY uncomfortable. It's almost impossible to tell people not to visit for the first few weeks because we need getting used to our 'new' life. Even though this is going to be my second birth, Insha'Allah, I still feel the need to have some privacy so I can get used to breastfeeding my child. I know I breastfed Khairaldin for more than a year but not all babies are the same. I'm sure I'll come across difficulties like latching baby, engorged boobs etc. Even if it's not to do with breastfeeding, I don't like it when the baby cries and people expect you to 'shut it up' within minutes. I get paranoid easily and what may seem an easy task becomes rather complicated just because I'm under the spotlight. Alhamdulillah Khairaldin was an easy baby. He rarely cries or shouts even if he was hungry. Again, not all babies are the same so I have to prepare myself physically and mentally for the worse case scenario. You know the part when your baby cries and someone 'experienced' will take the baby and immediately soothe them? I despise that, unless they are my family or in laws. Sorry, but I really do! I'm not being big headed and want to do everything myself but to me, the parents should be given the chance to 'learn' how to care and love the baby. Every mistake and accomplishment done is a lesson to the parents.

Well, at the moment, I'm still keen on giving birth in the UK. I'm not being choosy because of the doctors or midwives etc. I'm not too bothered about how qualified the doctors are when choosing which hospital to give birth at because to me, it's down to me on how smooth the delivery will be. If I don't know how to push (or read certain Surah from the Quran), it could make things complicated. So most of the hardwork comes from me and my birth partner (Iskandar) rather than the doctors or midwives. The health professionals are there to assist but mostly it's down to our preparation.

Anyways, since most of my readers are Malaysian mommies, I was just wondering, what's your experience with the hospitals that you've been to? Was it the same as in the UK? Was it a government or private hospital? Please share your experience so I will have a taste of giving birth in Malaysia. Insha'Allah. Thank you in advance for your help. :)
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Alanna's mommy =) said...


I gave birth to Alanna in a private hospital..Kota Bharu Medical Centre.. As you were saying, the gynea and the nurses treated me like a princess..

I chose private hosp coz I could choose a female gynea and the service was a tip top.. I had witness some bad experience about giving birth in government hosp,and also experienced it myself, so it was not one of my option..

Giving birth in private hosp, your hubby can take care of you 24/7.. my hubby slept in the same room with me and Alanna.. about taking care of the baby, yes, they provide a nursery in private hosp, but as for me n my hubby, we requested to take care of Alanna ourselves and they had no prob with that..

When it comes to active birth, you cant find it in Malaysia.. I watched lots of active birth story through Astro when I was pregnant, but no chance to experience it here..too bad.. I am kinda interested with active birth, actually =)

Anyway, living in Malaysia is all about money..medical expenses, education n ect..

I think that's all for now.. but, if you have any other things that you wanna ask, be free to do so =)

Murni said...

Hi Iva,

If you feel more comfortable doing it in UK because of the options and the kind of environment you will be in, then you should do it and not be judged by it. But since you are still open, here's my 2 sen worth.

1. Hospital
I had a really good experience with my hospital eventhough it's a private hospital. Choosing the right hospital is really important. When I had Lucas, I was in DSH (Damansara Specialist Hospital). They pride themselves in being a baby hospital. So, there's no such thing as keeping the baby from his/her mother. And they ban formula (you are not allowed to even bring formula in the hospital with you) as they encourage breast feeding. So because of their breast feeding policy, the baby is housed with the mother. ONLY unless the mother is overtly exhausted or request for it, the midwife will take the baby (but only on her request).
cost wise, it's not that expensive (unless you end up doing a C-section).
However, they do not have the active birth thingy and since you are at the disposal of the doctors, he may end up asking you to induce because he schedule on other days are packed... But seriously, the decision is upto you. the doctors will never force. And, when the baby has to come, nothing can hold him back.

2. Relatives and Visitors
How my friend did it is that they only disclosed the fact that they have given birth only 1 week after the fact. And in their sms, they ask that we respect their request to be alone with the baby for the time being to adjust. you need to put your foot down. Don't care about what people thinks. I know how you feel. when I was in the hospital recovering (from the birth and the shock that I'm not a mother), there were non-stop visitors and I could not rest, even when the baby was sleeping. It made me extra tired and my milk flow became really slow.

that's all for now. Please do let me know if you want to discuss this further. i would be more than happy to give you a call or skype or msn, etc...

Take Care and have a happy pregnancy.

Kak Murni

himey said...

hi iva..this is fahimeh
i think what you have written is completely correct. Mostly about "shutting up the baby". It happens so very often, that when a baby cries, people will tell u to shut her up etc.. as though her crying is annoying them. Actually for me, from reading parental books i have understood that babies crying for thousands of reasons and we as mothers really need our time to get to know our baby's pattern and love them regardless. I think you should give birth in the UK because the government hospitals are not very well equipped now in msia and privates costs minimum RM 5K.

Aan Andes said...

salam iva, i was browsing n stumble upon ur blog. Attracted with the latest entry on pcos n faith. How true! Thanks for the reminder.

Anyway about private hospital, u can request ur baby to be with u all the time. I heard a lot of cons on gov hosp but i never experience one. If you have the time when u arrived msia, it's better for u to visit any hospital that u wish to deliver at. At least it will give u rough idea on what can u expect. And becareful on the breastfeeding issue, certain hospital couldn't care less and they will stuff your baby with bottle/pacifier on the very first moment to keep him quiet. U have to stress/notify them that u want to fully bf. And u can ask for a lot of thing actually, like want to hold ur baby right after delivered (not cleaned yet), husbnd to be by ur side, etc. That's for priv hospital. For gov hosp they are a bit strict sebab takde masa nak layan all the 'small' request. Too many patients to handle.

All the best!