July 20th, 2012
Recently we wrote about the differences of having a baby in China compared to America. We had our boy in 2007 in Shanghai, China. Any day now we’ll have our baby girl, we’re just patiently waiting. We thought we’d continue on talking about the differences as there are many.
6. I won’t have to ride a bike through downtown Shanghai to get to the hospital. Now don’t get me wrong. I really enjoyed riding my bike through downtown Shanghai with my father-in-law with food in tote, waiting for the green light and telling the bored taxi driver next to me waiting, “I’m going to be a father!” in Chinese (which brightened his day I hope.) But this time my transportation to the hospital to see Mx will be a bit different. It will be a 12 year old Ford Focus station wagon which we’re happy to have of course. Without this car I might have to go to see MX at the hospital in our boy’s mini bicycle!
7. my family near, half of MXs family near. When we had the boy back in 2007 we were in Shanghai. My mom and dad were far far far away. Communication was over SKYPE while I was at work before class. It was tough for my family because think about it: women who have already had babies only want to pass that information on no matter how unhelpful it will be. But communicating this over SKYPE to the husband and then transfer it to the wife is almost impossible. Much will be lost in transition. I can remember the common phrase from both sisters, my sister-in-law and my mother was “Oooooh, we wish we were there, well actually we wish you were here.” This time with our daughter my mother and father will be with us. MX’s father is already here to support us and to take care of the boy. My family is still all over the country and probably won’t come right away, plus MX is sensitive to having siblings come since she thinks it’s trouble for them. The reason they were all together on SKYPE 4 years ago was because our boy was born right before Christmas and they were all together for Christmas.
8. No bronzing feet, hands and penis sellers. At our hospital in America, I certainly hope we won’t be solicited for bronzing gifts as we were in Shanghai. In the desheveled state of half sleep half “Holy cow we just had a baby!” we came face to face with a woman selling bronzing gifts and other silly baby impression type gifts. She wasn’t exactly excited about her job and the objects ranged from a hand impression, to a foot impression that lit up and finally a penis impression that lit up and played music with his name! We regret not buying one of those and putting an impression of our sons organs on our mantlepiece! NOT!
9. no worry for circumcision. Instead of giving you a long and drawn out description of the travails of getting our son a circumcision in Shanghai, I’ll just simply say: that’s not something we have to worry about this time around. I can remember calling area hospitals in Shanghai and asking MX how to say circumcision in Chinese 割礼 gē lǐ and then repeating it to the befuddled woman on the other end. She giggled and got her manager who was just as befuddled and giggling as her co-worker. We finally found a guy (that sounds so bad, but he was a legitimate doctor from Hong Kong) who charged us the equivalent to what people in the states paid as reported by my sister.
10. hospital room. While in Shanghai having our boy in 2007 MX and I were in a community room. I slept there in a lawn chair generously provided by hospital staff. The only emergency exit nearby down the hall was blocked by a small end table with flowers on it. Our room was shared by numerous other people in different stages of recovery. I met a German guy whose Chinese wife had just given birth. I don’t remember much about him or what he even said due to a lack of sleep. My father-in-law and mother-in-law were in and out. The nurses were coming in and out with milk formula (we think conspiring with the formula makers to get our babies hooked on the stuff) sufficiently worrying the parents and grandparents that they should feed the babies this stuff and not encouraging breast feeding. This time with our daughter, we’ve actually had a tour of our hospital room and it’s amazing. WI-FI enabled, a personal room, comfy looking bed, sink, monitors, doctors on call, a phone for ordering out etc etc. And the best part: No lawn chairs!