Movie births always seem so wacky.
From waters breaking in public, fainting partners and surprise babies that ‘pop’ out in the back of cabs – it all makes for entertaining viewing.
But surely, giving birth IRL isn’t so dramatic?
Usually, it isn’t.
But sometimes, you find yourself in a foreign country rushing to hospital via boat hoping like hell you’ll make it in time.
This is where my birth story begins…
Half empty or half full?
Waking up with my first cold since moving to China, I count myself lucky that I’m eight months pregnant and can stay in bed all day if I want. *Pregnancy glow*
Then all of a sudden, as I say goodbye to my hubby who’s off to work, I feel a ‘wet surprise’ down below.
What the hell? I think, standing up.
Leaking my way to the bathroom, legs wobbling, I’m slightly in shock as to what is happening.
It can’t be my waters are breaking, surely? It’s far too early’ – I am only 34 weeks pregnant!
I haven’t prepared a hospital bag, I haven’t picked my ‘labour’ playlist, heck, I don’t even have my own birth plan. (I borrowed a friend’s, translated into Chinese).
These things were on my to do list, not today list!
Grabbing our passports and medical records, we run for the door with only the clothes on our backs.
Dr Idiot will see you now
Thankfully, I’m having only slight contractions as we enter the Fifth Hospital in Zhuhai.
I’m wheeled in to see the doctor right away, who looks me over and tells me the baby is too early to come. Well, duh.
Lying down, she performs an examination and “test”.
Glancing up, she smirks and says “Mei you” – aka “don’t have”.
Your waters aren’t breaking, she says through a translator. You’re just peeing yourself.
If eye rolls could speak, mine would have it’s own drumroll before yelling,
“My diagnosis is that you are an idiot!”
I’d like to think since graduating from diapers that I have a handle on knowing when I’m going number ones in my undies.
Jumping ship – on the boat to HK
OK, screw this, we’re not staying in a hospital where they can’t distinguish early signs of labour from incontinence.
I get up from my stretcher bed, and we flee the hospital.
Now lying down in the back of a taxi we head to the Zhuhai port, and onto a boat to Hong Kong.
I cross my fingers, and toes, that the baby doesn’t decide to make its appearance on the South China Sea.
The boat ride lasts only an hour and a kind hostess offers me a blanket and pillow.
I try to stay quiet and not fuss as I pass through the border security in HK, worried they may not let me pass.
(In recent years, Hong Kong has banned mainland Chinese mothers from giving birth in private hospitals on the island unless their husbands are HK residents).
Read more about the ban here.
To the peak!
Our chosen birthplace – Matilda Hospital – is a 20 minute cab ride from the port and at the very top of a mountain. Convenient, I know.
Checking in, I go straight to the delivery room, apparently ready to give birth at any minute!
My obstetrician bursts into the room.
“In what world could anyone believe that this isn’t your waters breaking?” are the first words out of her mouth.
She is a stoic British woman, who is to-the-point and seems to share my sarcastic attitude toward the Chinese medical system.
After a few hours of waiting, my contractions are a no show I’m sent to another room.
My HK doctor thinks I’ll give birth within four days, maximum, but that we’ll try to keep my baby girl “cooking” inside as long as possible.
This is when one of the most stressful weeks of my life begins..
Read more: Part Two of ‘My Crazy China Birth Story.