Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Is that a car seat?

Our nurse asked us this as we prepared to leave the hospital with our new daughter, yet another reminder that we just gave birth in the UAE, not the USA. Car seats and seat belt usage are not common over here and their use tends to announce your expat status. It is nothing to see small children sitting on the console, bouncing around in the car, or even hanging out the windows.

Medical care is different over here.  Even more than at home, you have to be a strong advocate for yourself and really truly know your medical history and medications. In the past month, we've had three friends either be given something they had identified as being an allergen or having pretty awful side effects that far exceeded the symptoms being addressed. When we went into my last prenatal appointment, the doctor told me that she was going to give me an exam, but did not mention that she would be doing an intervention to speed up when I would go into labor until the procedure had been completed.

As someone who developed pre-eclampsia with my first pregnancy and pregnancy induced hypertension with this pregnancy, I was considered "high risk." When my water broke at school, I was directed to immediately proceed to the Urgent Care department for admission, even though I had not developed any regular contractions. After being admitted, my husband ran home to get a few things that we had forgotten, and while he was gone, I went into labor. The nurses did not respond to the call button, so I called Rob to have him hurry back. An hour or so later, the nurses finally came to check on us, to find me in active labor. There was some confusion with the midwives and nurses because they thought this was our first child, after realizing that it was not, and that I truly was progressing faster than they thought they brought me upstairs to labor and delivery.

The doctor who administered the epidural did not shake my hand at the consultation appointment and was quite unhappy with me for not being still while he stuck a needle into my back and while I was having strong and regular contractions.  Then Rob had to immediately go downstairs to pay for the epidural....The relief from this pain medication though was quite welcome and the remainder of the delivery went much smoother.  We ended up staying for four days due to the timing of her delivery (just after midnight) and her development of jaundice.

Since we have been out of the hospital, we've been running about trying to get her paperwork in order. She has two birth certificates: Arabic and English, has had her passport photos done, and we've applied for her health insurance card. Tomorrow, we are off to the Embassy to register her birth, apply for her passport, and apply for her social security card. After that, we get a break until her passport is finished, and then will have to apply for her Emirates ID card, and residency visa. It is a lot of items to make her official. And Belle is loving being a big sister.