12 April 2018

AMWF Couple: Pregnancy and giving birth in Taiwan

When people got to know I'm pregnant, everyone was excited but me. I was full of fear. 
We needed to choose gynecologist, but the only choice seemed to be male. My husband only wanted someone working in hospital, not in small clinic. It was difficult for me to go to male gynecologist, but get used to it with time. I noticed many woman come here, usually they was close to 40 years old. I seemed to be the youngest one. 
Nurses didn't speak English and all documents was in Chinese. I don't know Chinese, so my husband always had to come with me. Only the doctor knew some English 
All pregnancy went smoothie, except for maybe 2-3 weeks in the beginning when I felt like about to die haha. I still think compared to many woman I've seen I felt totally good. I even wonder why they walked a little weird way and seemed full of pain. 

I was very active all pregnancy, walking, cleaning, doing whatever I want, especially eat tons of sweet stuff. My mother-in-law though I shouldn't do much things and only rest. I felt like pretty much controlled because we lived with them at that time. I always needed to say where I go to, which made me feel not free. 
In the last weeks, about a month before birth, our doctor had to take one month days off... That was very stressful for me to suddenly change another doctor. Anyway, the other man happened to be better. He knew English very well, many professional words I couldn't understand, but he always explains a lot. Close to childbirth, I needed spend more and more time in hospital. Hospital was just 1km away from our place! That's amazing, because living in Poland the nearest one for me was 35km away... 

It was already 2 days after the day our son should be born. Pain woke me up at midnight but in the beginning I ignored it due to more contractions pain in last few days. About 4 am I woke my husband, telling him I gonna born baby. He seemed so stressful, woke his parents, while I wear my clothing and eat breakfast in peace. We went to hospital and the security guard asked few time if I really don't need a wheelchair. I thought walking is much better tho, but people just kept watching me strangely. 

I was waiting in the room and nurses just came to check a few times. I was asking for painkillers but they though it was too early. Well, it wasn't. Quickly they thought it's too late for painkillers!!! And it's time to give birth. I was crying and begging my husband for help... About 10am everything was finished and I could back to normal room. 
Before born they asked if I accept people visiting me or not. I didn't want, but it seems my husband doesn't translate or hospital doesn't care because just few minuets after I see my mother-in-law... Normally it have to stay in hospital 3 days, but I left day more quick. According to doctor and nurses, I was the most active woman which just gave birth. 

The room where woman stay after birth is usually for 4 people. Everyone except bed, have one additional chair which can also open as a bed for someone staying with you. Everyone also have curtains around so we couldn't see each other. Unfortunately our curtain couldn't fully close, so all the time people walking there always ended up watching me which was really annoying. The other annoying thing was my parents-in-law which first and second day came to see me. The second day they stayed with me whole day because my husband couldn't. I just wanted be alone at that time and rest... 
And finally I could back home but our son still needed to stay in hospital for 1 week to make sure everything is ok. 

Zuo yuezi - Postpartum centers
Actually woman in Taiwan doesn't back home right after born. They stay in kind of postpartum center which feels for me more like going to prison haha. Woman are supposed to stay in bed for whole month to get well. Those care centers nowadays looks more like five-stars hotels. Around Taiwan there are nearly 200 registered postpartum centers. Stay in this place on average costs 120,000 NTD which is really expensive! In last years in Taiwan over 50% woman choose postpartum center. In postpartum centers the baby can be only watched through window and parents can only visit a while, usually for feeding time. 

The rest of woman are taken care at home by mother-in-law. Even staying home with mother-in-law can feel much like prison too. Woman are adviced not to wash their hair, bath or go outdoor, which I didn't care at all. Also some food is believed to be better. Fortunately for me I could eat and do whatever I want. We stayed home and I took my few days old baby for a short walks nearly everyday. People think I'm really strong, which feels normal for me that woman should take care of herself and baby. 

Dos and don'ts of pregnancy and labor in Chinese culture 
- putting sharp objects like knife or scissors on the bed - baby will be born with cleft lip 
- touching anything with glue - birthmarks
- eating "cold" food to keep Yin and Yang balanced 
- eating pineapple can cause miscarriage 
- the father isn't present during delivery 
- first days after childbirth woman should stay in bed only 
- shouldn't wash hair in the first month to not get a headache 
- for the first month taking shower is not allowed - people believe the skin is loosen and water can enter inside 
- brushing teeth could loosen teeth and make gums bleed
- eating "hot" food can increase breast milk, should avoid "cold" foods and fruits 

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