Preparing for delivering a baby can be nerve-wracking. There is so much an expecting mother tries to prepare for, yet there is so much uncertainty. Now, preparing to deliver a baby in a foreign country can be even more unpredictable – You are not familiar with the norms and the norms you are expecting may be completely foreign to where you are.
Thankfully, I belong to a wonderful list-serve for expat women who live in Jordan. In the list-serve we bounce questions and ideas back and forth between the women, Here we learn from the knowledge and experiences of each other. When I made the decision to deliver my third baby in Jordan, I asked the ladies about their experiences in delivering their babies in Jordan. The responses were overwhelming! As you can imagine, any time you ask a group of women about their birthing experience, they will share their experience…when you ask a group of women about their experience delivering in a foreign country, their sharing is exponential! Here is my previous blog detailing the different experiences of other women who delivered in Jordan: http://bedtimestoriesfromjordan.blogspot.com/2011/05/having-baby-in-jordan.html
I made notes of all the responses and made special notes about the different norms and expectations. I thought a lot about these difference and put them in categories: What I Don’t Mind, What I Mind, What I Cannot Live With. I brought the list of “What I Cannot Live With” to my OB-GYN to discuss them with her. I knew I had chosen a progressive physician, who would honor my preferences. Alhumdillah, she did honor each of my requests. She wrote notes on the front of my chart and on my pre-admission notes of my preference to ensure that I received the care that I requested. Once I arrived to the hospital, all the staff were aware of my requests (as they were now Orders from my OB-GYN) and mostly they abided by them. As expected, there were differences that were experienced. Here are the experience of differences during my delivery in Amman:
- There are First Class, Second Class, and Third Class Rooms. First class is a private room, where as the others can have 2-4 other women sharing your pre and post delivery room (delivery always happens in the Operating Room/Theater.
- I was not required to sign a Consent for Surgery for my C-Section.
- Upon having a C-Section you have the choice of General Anesthesia and Spinal Anesthesia.
- The Operating Room/Theater was a room on its own; however, there was an open door between my OR Theater and two other OR Theaters! I could see movement and hear conversations of the C-Section going on next door. Not only strange, but an infection issue wouldn’t you think?!
- My insurance only covered 2 nights after my c-section (which is common stay after c-section).
- Babies are kept in the Nursery rather than in Mother’s room. I requested baby to ‘room in’ with me, and this was not only strange for the nursing staff, but one night the nurses refused to return my baby to me because as I was told, “All babies go to the nursery after 1000 pm”.
- No Education is provided to the patient and/or the family. I had to be proactive to ask questions, and most clinicians find it strange when you ask questions because it is not common practice.
- Registered Nurses have very poor clinical skills.
- You must pay the entire hospital bill prior to being discharged from the hospital.
Overall, my experience, although somewhat different, was good. The OB-GYN I had chosen was wonderful and the hospital staff were, although less clinically proficient, were extremely friendly. I am grateful that I did my research prior to deliverying in Amman – because most of that which was different, was as I learned and therefore expected. And, Alhumdillah, at the end of the day, I was blessed with a beautiful, healthy baby!!