Posts Tagged ‘Pregnancy’

5 Differences Between Having a Baby in China and Having a Baby in America

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Contact us!In 2007 our son was one of 15.6 million babies born in China that year, according to the CIA statistics that 12.31 births per 1,000 population (Baidu says 15.9 million!). We didn’t feel that way though. He was our first. This year 2012, we’ll give birth to our second baby in America which surprisingly has a higher birthrate than China though Americans only make 4.25 million babies per year (also according to the CIA and MX’s amazing math). Our daughter will be one of those millions. There are a few differences between having a baby in China and (preparing) to have a baby in America. The differences range from cultural discrepancies to family differences and traditions.

1. I’ll see the birth if I want to.  Back in Shanghai when we had the boy oh so many years ago (4 years ago) I was not allowed into the C-Section operating room. Now that I’ve lived a few more years and talked to a few other fathers, I’ve heard that it was really a blessing in disguise. So there I sat with my mother-in-law in the make-shift waiting room outside the elevators near the multi-color tarp covering up the dusty construction zone. This time though I’ll be able to see everything, unless of course I faint.

2. I know so much more information this time.  Back in Shanghai the first time around it was all in Chinese or a little Shanghainese to spice things up a bit. There were many things that I would never have known that even MX didn’t know at the time. We were both 4 years younger and what that means to the human body (especially the female body) is important. There might have been a few concerns the first time around but this time we’ve been surprised about all the information that the nurses, technicians, doctors and assistants are telling us. We’ve had genetic testing, percentages thrown at us, warnings and visions of imperfect babies. We left some of those meetings thinking to ourselves, “Gosh, I didn’t want to know those details.”

3. appointments are a breeze.  When MX and I went to have an appointment in Shanghai it was a madhouse. There were no lines to speak of, well, ok I take that back. There was a line. A really really really long one that snaked around the entire floor. Pregnant ladies were sitting, standing, rubbing bellies, fanning themselves, husbands looking on, feeding wives water, mothers fanning, looking worried and some were downright melodramatic. When we got closer the lines devolved into nothingness, just masses of people with paperwork and louder voices. I try in those situations to notice different people and their reactions. The nurses behind the counter took it all with ease but it seemed they were beginning to go a bit kookoo. In the states the waiting room is quiet. Our boy runs to the fish. Cheesy magazines are there. Mx is called usually within minutes (never long enough that I can get anything read.) We never push, we never shove. There’s no melodrama.

4. if I don’t understand stuff this time it’s my fault.  When we were in Shanghai having the boy I had to learn a number of new vocabulary words. Such as diaper “niaobu” or pee cloth. It was a whole new world opening up to me. What is breastfeeding in Chinese? I didn’t know. What is a bronzed foot in Chinese? I didn’t know (I also didn’t know what a bronzed dinglehopper was but never asked) And what was that thing the nurse asked me to go out and buy for MX so that she wouldn’t be in so much pain? I hadn’t a clue. Now with our daughter in America: gosh, if I don’t know what the heck is going on around me, I’ll just blame it on the lack of coffee and not enough sleep! Plus, I’ll be explaining many a thing to MX. I think Google will continue to be my best friend. Either Google or Baidu or maybe I could find a Pregnancy Chinese/English Dictionary where it can help me translate “AYA!!!” when MX let’s it fly.

5. it’s a girl. Our first child was a boy.  He’s four now. You can read his bilingual antics on our twitter feed. Our American friends threw a baby shower for us but this time we haven’t had a shower. I guess it’s customary for only first children to get a shower and for the second child it’s not a big deal. We’re really excited for a little girl. We both were really excited to hear the news a few months into the pregnancy which of course was also a big difference. With the boy, MX couldn’t know, or wasn’t told, about the gender of the baby. This is typical in China but hearing and seeing our little girl (and getting pictures) has been a great aspect of this pregnancy that we didn’t have with the boy.

You can read about our entire 1st pregnancy with the boy back in 2007 here.  Plus some funny pregnancy in China comics here.

5 More Differences is here.

5 MORE Differences Between Having a Baby in China and Having a Baby in America

Friday, July 20th, 2012

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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!