My Pregnancy Adventures
Pregnancy for a first-time mom is an exciting journey and for me, it was also an adventure-filled one! It was particularly interesting because my pregnancy spanned two countries with the first two trimesters in Shanghai, China and the third trimester in Singapore. My pregnancy journey is one that is full of adventures and scares!
First Trimester – Money Shocks
There were certainly quite a few scares during the first trimester, for a start, finding a maternity hospital was not easy in Shanghai. Without naming the hospitals (which were very difficult names to recall!), I remembered first finding a hospital that catered to the expatriate community, not just foreigners but those whose employers would pay for the full costs of gynecologist checkups and delivery. This was because the consultation costs were at least over S$100 each time! Thus we decided that for the second consultation, we would look for a local well-known maternity hospital located downtown Shanghai. However, the long queue we were in just to get the queue number was over 2 hours wait! We finally gave up and asked if there were any other option and got directed to the premier maternity service located on the highest floor. The cost was comparable to that in Singapore with spacious waiting lounge and local doctors who had been trained overseas.
First Trimester – Miscarriage Scares
There were some spotting in the first few weeks and we weren’t sure if that’s normal. Though it was not accompanied with bright blood or abdominal cramps, we decided to be safe and tried to fix an urgent appointment. That was before we found the above local maternity hospital and we went to another hospital and skipped the queue as my colleague knew the appointment staff there. The queue for the ultrasound turned out even scarier than the vaginal bleeding! I had to queue a very long queue along the corridor in the hospital gown (without underwear), got ushered to a male ultrasound technician with all the other women, as if in a production line! Fortunately, all was well.
Second Trimester – Seriously, Shanghai Expo?!
This was probably the worst experience – we lived at downtown Shanghai but in a local flat which was right along a ‘prime’ street. The city government decided that for the Shanghai Expo that was to take place, all the local flats along certain prime streets had to be refurbished. The result? I had to stay in a flat that was scaffolded for most of my pregnancy and it was dangerous to move about the corridor with the building materials and certainly uncomfortable with the air and noise pollution. The scaffolding and pollution were the only present I received from the Expo as I left the city before it started.
Second Trimester – Who’s Moving?
There’s a superstition that one should not move house or office during pregnancy. It turned out that during my pregnancy, I moved the most times in my life – two home moves and two office moves. I moved from the scaffolded flat to a much better local condominium in anticipation of my parents coming over for my confinement. Turned out that I had to return to Singapore and so I only stayed a month in the condominium. It was lots of packing, unpacking and packing – all within a few months! Nothing happened to me though, proving that it’s superstition that you can’t move home during pregnancy!
Third Trimester – No Relief from the Crowd
It was crowded in Shanghai but taxi was affordable and I stayed close to work place. Back in Singapore, taxi was quite costly and I had to take an hour train ride, followed by a bus ride before reaching work place. All this traveling with a huge tummy (my baby was heavy, above 4kg at birth!) and it’s amazing how it’s not always that someone who would give up their seat. The graciousness in our society seemed to be deteriorating with the use of smartphones and being on the side ‘left standing’ when pregnant, I now always give up my seat or help a pregnant lady to ask for a seat.
Delivery – Baby out yet?
I had induced birth and had to wait 18 hours with no clear sign of baby coming. It was an arduous wait and I’m glad someone invented epidural. I’m even happier that the anesthesiologist was just in the next consultation room and magically appeared like a superman when I asked for the epidural. It’s strange though that delivery timing turned out to be gynecologist’s lunch time – I guess the doctor couldn’t have her other outpatients waiting too long at the clinic. Overall, I had a smooth delivery experience but was shocked at the inaccuracy of my baby’s weight – almost close to 1kg heavier than that of the estimated.
Pregnancy can truly be an adventure – looking back, it was a shared experience with my spouse and definitely one filled with scares, though funny at times when we look back!