Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fashionista's Review: Birthing Experience at Normah Medical Specialist Centre

I've been wanting to write this post ever since I've gave birth but having very limited time (I guess you might have noticed the lack of updates in my blog *sigh*), I guess now is as good a time as any so let me share with you my review on Normah Medical Specialist Centre (Normah for short), the hospital where I gave birth to Alexa.
Before you read on, let me first just say that I have NEVER been admitted to a hospital before, I rarely get sick and even if I do, I very seldom visit the doctor because usually I'd get better within a day or two. Mostly my frequent visits to the doctor would usually mean that I've got diarrhea or food poisoning. So this birthing experience would have to be my first admission to a hospital.
We selected Normah simply because hubs company covers for birth and after asking around, most of his colleagues recommended the hospital, and they even recommended the gynae which I have been seeing in the duration of my pregnancy, Dr Suria Idris. Unfortunately Dr Suria was away during my labor, I was attended by Dr Azah instead.
We had booked a twin sharing room, one of the bed is for me and the other is for hubs. For one thing is to ensure privacy, with the amount of people coming and going from my room, I don't think having a roommate is a good idea and for another thing, this keeps hubs close and comfortable as he can sleep in the other bed. In retrospect, I consider this as one of the best decisions that we've ever made. We had to stay at Normah for about 4 days (because I had to recover from my C-section operation so having an extra bed for hubs is definitely handy).
Normah provided me with a toiletry kit and this includes a travel toothbrush and toothpaste, a small face towel, a plastic cup and a pair of spoon and fork for me to have my food. How very thoughtful =). I particularly like the plastic cup as it enables you to measure how much you drink in ounces and milliliter (and this cup helps especially when you need to drink medicine and stuff that needs measuring).
They also gave Alexa a free baby bag and some baby stuff. I'd say this would be Alexa's first experience at a marketing campaign for baby products *haha*.
Here's Alexa, wheeled straight to our room about 15 minutes after I arrived in the room post C-section. She came home with this lovely blanket, also provided by Normah.
What you should know about Normah (although as time progress, changes could have been made therefore what you'll experience if you choose to deliver at Normah could be different than what I have experienced):
1. There are two midwives (usually working in shifts) so during my delivery, I was attended by a different midwife during the day and another during the night. Usually a midwife would attend to you until the delivery stage is near, only then your gynae would be called for.
2. The nursing staff would actually come to your room every morning and evening to inform you that the previous shift has ended and also to introduce to you the ones who will be available for the next shift. I actually liked this the most as it enables me to get to know who to call and I think it also helps the nurses to identify with the patients better.
3. The gynae (in this case Dr Azah) came to visit me and update on my condition several times a day, usually in the morning, right after lunch and early evening.
4. The pediatrician (Dr Alex) would visit us early in the morning and update us on Alexa's condition and also updating on any medical procedures that he has to do on Alexa (like administer a vaccine and stuff).

What I liked about giving birth at Normah is that for one, it was an absolutely comfortable experience. I got as much rest as I needed, the nurses were there to help change me (I literally felt like a baby), and they also gave me a body wipe the morning after the operation. I had wobbly feet (due to anesthetics) so I wasn't able to move much the morning after, but later in the afternoon the doctor advised me to walk as much as I can to aid my recovery so I did as much walking exercise as I could in the privacy of the room. I could call on the nurses any time and also requested them to bring Alexa into my room whenever I want. Alexa was put in a nursery then and as much as I've learnt about skin to skin and gentle birthing, I would have to admit that as a first time mom who's undergone her first ever major operation, I don't think having Alexa in the room right after the operation is a good idea. I could barely even move what more to say on caring for a newborn baby. Although I would have to say that knowing what I know now, it would be a good idea if the baby rooms in with you (and they do allow the baby to room in with you) but as someone recovering from surgery, maybe it would also be prudent for you to make sure you're capable of handling the baby (i.e. carrying the baby etc) to make sure that you don't accidentally injure the baby.

What I don't like about giving birth at Normah for one is the lack of privacy. There's only a curtain separating the labor room and the corridor and you could hear every pitter patter of feet, every conversation, everything that's happening in the corridor and that really does not help you to relax and focus on giving birth. Another thing that I didn't like is the labor bed itself and how labor is conducted, it's not very conducive to birthing. As birthing experts have mentioned, giving birth while laying flat on your back is not easy. I tried to lie on my side but that was not easy too as I was dripped on Pitocin (to induce labor) and the fetal doppler got in the way and I couldn't properly lie on my side either. I think the inability to relax could have contributed to the baby's increased stress as it made it's way down the birthing canal.

What I should have done; on one part I did know that Dr Suria wasn't able to attend to me and another doctor would be attending to my delivery, I should have actually enquired to meet the doctor and at least build rapport with her so that I'd be more comfortable during labor. Failing to build a relationship with the doctor actually added to my apprehension and nervousness. I do think that should I have met the doctor before and discussed with her what my concerns are, some of those fears would have been alleviated. So, I'm taking note on this one and will certainly take precautions to get to know who I'm going into labor with.

So the question is, would I give birth a second time at Normah? Definitely I would. I love the relationship that I have with my gynae, Dr Suria. She's an amazing doctor with an absolutely relaxed attitude to birthing (which helped calmed down my jitters). I also love their service and the attentiveness of the nurses and doctors when I was there. A few days after birth hubs mentioned that I looked absolutely fresh and rested despite just having given birth via C-section.

However I must admit that if there's another hospital offering better birthing possibilities (i.e. birthing in a tub or side lying at least) in Kuching, I would be tempted to try those. After all, it's our body that's experiencing the labor pain and knowing that I have to live the rest of my life with a C-section scar (hopefully this will be the one and only C-section scar for me), I'd better look for the best birthing possible for my next delivery.

Hope my review helps other expecting mommies out there.

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Do note that as a private hospital, nothing is free at Normah. They will charge for everything that they give to you including each and every needle used, every cotton ball, medicine/ drug administered, the maternity pads, even the blanket and toiletry set.

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