I will try to keep this update short and straight to the point as much as possible. But before I do that, I will have to explain a little bit of our situation so that you’ll understand better.
This is actually my 3rd pregnancy. I had a miscarriage with my first back in 2012, then Leo was born in 2013, and now I’m at 18 weeks, expecting our 2nd miracle in 2016. With my first and second pregnancy, we visited private hospitals and got our prenatal care at the private sector. Why did we choose that? Honestly, because we didn’t know any better. All of our friends seem to recommend certain hospitals and doctors and shared their experiences with us. So because if that, it was only natural that we choose wherever we want and where we felt most comfortable. Here’s the list of hospitals that we’ve visited and have a prenatal record:
- Assunta Hospital – I was here with my first pregnancy and doc was recommended by a friend.
- Columbia Asia, Puchong – I came here for a second opinion when the doc at Assunta told me that our pregnancy was not successful. I also did a D&C here in 2012. Doc also recommended by a friend. Check out blog post here.
- Pantai Bangsar – When we found out our little miracle was here, we immediately checked in here and went to a doc that a friend recommended, again. I loved this doc very much and he was very informative. Everything went well, until he told us that he’s retiring and will not be able to deliver our first miracle.
- UMSC – We came here after a long research and decided to try this doc. I googled about him and decided to take the chance. Doc from Pantai said he is good and we should proceed. UMSC is the private side of PPUM, which is a teaching hospital and this doc that we’re seeing is a professor too.
Leo was born at UMSC in 2013 and we were glad that things went pretty well in this hospital. Birth story here. Not really a whole bunch to complain about but we accepted it and we were just thankful that Leo was healthy and there was nothing major to be overly concerned about.
This time, I decided to take a big chance to get my prenatal care at a government clinic and birth in a government hospital. Along the journey of motherhood, I met other new mothers too and they shared their experiences with govern hospitals. I honestly never knew how to start or register in a govern clinic, as to private, we literally just walk in and chose our doctor. Long story short, I decided to give it a try. There were some factors that helped me make this decision:
Both of us were working full time during our first and second pregnancy so money was not really something we were overly concerned about. Of course we chose UMSC because it was cheaper than most hospitals, but it was more of a necessity and we didn’t really have a choice. But this time, I am no longer earning a fixed income where we can be comfortable anywhere. In fact, finances were tighter than it has ever been. We’re going through a wave in our family. So choosing free prenatal care was what seems natural to me. I did not have to pay at my appointments and I have prenatal vitamins for free. And we are saving thousands of dollars here. I would rather spend that money on good food/nutrition and stuff we need for the new baby (be it clothes, diapers, furniture, etc.) or even save it for organic baby food later on.
- Government hospitals support natural births and breastfeeding.
This was a huge one for me. In the “supernatural” world of gentle birthing and breastfeeding, we see many extremes. Most of them will be pro natural births (no vaginal exams, no Pitocin, no epidural, no episiotomy, delayed cord clamping, immediate skin to skin with baby, no baths for baby, etc). Pro breastfeeding (no formula, no bottles, no pacifiers, breast crawl, no pumping, etc). Uhhh, yes. Very extreme indeed. I’m just saying what I know and have read. I’m not against it and I am not super pro about it and I am not judging anyone. I did have everything naturally and smoothly with Leo when he was born. Birth and breastfeeding was great for us. It was great because I’ve done a ton of research on everything before I decided my birth plan and what I wanted. I was very well equipped and I am so thankful that we didn’t go through any major hiccups. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that birth or breastfeeding was easy. I’m just saying that it went well for us and I knew 100% what I was doing.
This time, I’ve done and still doing my research on how much was it to birth in government hospital vs private and the numbers are very extreme. This prompted me even more to have the baby in a govern hospital. You rarely read about “emergency C-sections” happening in government hospitals. Why is that? Because there is nothing emergency about it. I will share my research about this in another post. So yes, govern hospitals only do natural births unless you have a certain condition or you already had a precious C-section.
Govern hospitals are also pro breastfeeding. They are not equipped with “emergency” formula. I was shocked when UMSC gave me a form to fill and it had a box where I had to tick if I wanted formula for the baby or not. The nurse asked me “what if I didn’t have milk and the baby is crying?” I said “I will definitely have milk for him!”. Every mother will have, and it’s all in your willpower to believe that and to trust that your body knows what to do. Educate yourself and to do lots of research before you birth. Knowledge is power when it comes to breastfeeding. Again, I am not against formula. If there is a need, please go ahead. If you need a break, go ahead. It is there as an option to help mothers. This too, I shall share my research and thoughts on in a different post.
- Thorough checkups and waiting time.
Prenatal care is done at the Klinik Kesihatan, and not the hospital. So far, my experiences with the nurses were positive. They we’re friendly and informative with all the questions I asked and even helped me decide which hospital I can birth at. The usual time spent at the clinic is around 1-2 hours. Today I’ve only spend an hour (inclusive of parking, taking a number, taking regular tests, seeing the nurse and leaving afterwards). On some days when there may be more people, I’ve never waited longer than 2 hours, for everything done. I’ve spend a very, VERY long time at those private hospitals listed above, probably half a day! I can guarantee most women you ask, they will agree that waiting time is long and often; taking a number doesn’t really mean anything! I also like the fact that I know the results of all the tests done at each visit and I am aware if there may be any problems because it is all written in the pink book. You get to have a copy and so does the clinic. In private, I don’t remember having any record in my hand, except the ultrasound scans. Everything was with my doctor. There is always an advantage go this. Say I decided to enter private halfway through or decided last minute that I wanted to switch; my records are all with me. Oh, and I do not have to pay for anything.
God’s favor is upon us!
I am so grateful to hear this awesome news from the nurse at my appointment today. We were planning to go for a detailed scan for the baby sometime around 20 weeks. This is for my peace of mind. If you can relate, I often get a sudden anxiety of how the baby is developing. Checkups at the clinic do not include ultrasounds. Of course we can do it anytime in private clinics but I try to avoid having scans so many times as it is not necessary. A detailed scan is where they scan the baby to check for development abnormalities (brain, heart, liver, kidney, etc.) Initially we were going to do it at FMGC which is a private fetal medicine practice but I did not make an appointment because the price was a little too high for us. It was going to cost RM500 for the detailed scan. Today I found out that usually they cost around RM300. I guess the doctors at FMGC cost more because they are practicing at Pantai, Bangsar and because they have great reviews and experience. Today, the nurse told me that there is a free detailed scan given to govern clinic patients at a diagnostic center. It is a learning school for trainee radiologists to learn/practice and their job is to look for abnormalities in ultrasounds. I was thrilled and immediately felt that God was answering my prayers. The nurse also said that the scans are done by the sonographer and if there was anything wrong, we will be referred to the doc at the hospital. I am sure at private fertility clinics; the scans are not done by the doctor themselves too. I was relived and felt that this is what we are going to do. Again, if we were not satisfied by any of the services or scans, we can always go to FMGC later on.
My heart is so relieved by this news and I am so grateful for this opportunity. I know that God is in control of everything and His favor is upon this baby and our family. We did not have to spend a fortune at appointments (which is what we worry about and even wondered if we can ever afford to grow our family!) and He is really providing for us. Every step of the way. Thank you, Lord. Thank you!