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The Albert Einstein experience

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So I’m behind on so much…new kid and all.  So a quick final having a baby in Brasil post.

It turns out you really do need to bring your own clothing to the hospital. When the nurses came in the next am, they asked me where my clothing was for the day… there was no gown (not that I would want to stay in the gown as it was completely open in the back!). They then showered me. Yeah, they walked me to the shower, then sat there and instructed me on how to shower, as well as held the shower head. When they did finally give me control of it, they sat and watched me sit (wasn’t allowed to stand) and shower. After giving birth, my sense of modesty usually goes out the window, so I really could have cared less at this point.

My first meal was an interesting one. Split pea soup, brussel sprouts and steak. Seriously, in the US, that would be considered nasty…the meat was much better than I got in the US hopsitals though. Overall, for hospital food, the meat was not bad. It was definitely Brasilian though, an interesting mixes of food though, like green grape sauce over chicken, or almond crusted salmon with applesauce… but still much more edible than I had in the US. They also brought in morning and night tea and crackers.

I had every intent of never letting my son leave my sight after the initial 2 hours “monitoring,” but it turns out that the hospital is MUCH more strict on controls, and every shift change your kid goes back to the nursery, so they can account for the kids. This was a MAJOR pain around feedings, as I had to basically try and force feed a sleeping newborn, as they are there for about 2 hours. Also, my son was completely gagging/turning purple on amniotic fluid, and keep throwing it up, so they refused to let me keep him at night, and would bring him to feed every 3 hours. They pumped his stomach twice. The second time seemed to take. Then there was the circumcision, so then again they wanted him to be watched in the nursery for a bit. Then the next day they decided he was a bit yellow and needed to take a light bath for 24 hours, so on my birthday they took him all day and night, and I would nurse him in the nursery every 3 hours. I never though I would have been okay with it, but I was. As he really does just want to sleep, so just slept calmly in the light bath, and my other son was able to come on Saturday and just spend the day with me and get mommy time at the hospital. Also, my husband got a good night’s sleep, as I had to go to the nursery all night to nurse.

One thing that I have come to really REALLY appreciate about Brasil’s hospital experience is every nurse was trained on breastfeeding. First breastfeed in the room a nurse was there helping me breastfeed. And they were knowledgeable… unlike nurses in the US, who all seemed kind of inept. Each feeding a nurse would stand by me and help to make sure I knew what I was doing.. manhandling the goods if necessary. With my first son I had to visits by the “lactitions” once at 9am … and they were NOT helpful, and actually pissed me off. For my first kid, I ended up using a shield for 3 months, as I couldn’t ever get him to nurse without it.  Also, despite the help, my son lost about 11% of his birth weight. When my other son lost 7% the US freaked out and told me I had to start using formula immediately. This time, the pediatricians said they were worried, but said to wait till my milk came in, and see my pediatrician as soon as I got home, to check to see if the weight came back.

As you can see their help has paid off, what a chunk.

Another thing that I thought was funny was that EVERYTHING had a barcode on it. My kid came in the room with a bar code on his butt, his hat, and each of his booties. It was kind of funny to watch them scan him like produce repeatedly throughout our stay.

Either way, I definitely think Brasil’s hospital is a bit tight on security, but I can understand why it happens.


The birth experience

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So I had my son on the 12th… the past 2 blog posts were “scheduled out” pre-birth, and I accidentally scheduled them for May … mostly I’ve just been sleeping 🙂

All of my “granola intentions” were mostly just that intentions.  We ended up inducing, which meant that at a certain point my contractions were so strong I couldn’t focus anymore, but my body wasn’t at the point of delivery— let’s just say I had another 4+ hours after that point, so I opted for the epidural.  My doctor actually had another woman giving birth at the same time as me, so the midwife was running back and forth between the two rooms, and at a certain point after the epidural, a doctor came and sat with me for what seemed like an hour just with her hand on my stomach monitoring my contractions— it was soothing and nice to have someone just sit there with me, and I don’t if I would have expected that type of attention in the US.  She said she was surprised I lasted as long as I did without the epidural, and that I let it wear off once so I could get the contractions to kick in and help things move along.  From what my doc said, those who do parto normal in Brasil get the epidural’s early on in the process.

When it finally came time to deliver a nurse pushed me through the door (bumping the frame) down the hall (bumping over the door frame bumps on the floor) and into the surgery room. Then I had to scoot myself onto the table, as they adjusted my legs (strapped in) on the stirrups (twice), and tilted me downward.  I told the room that had I not opted for an epidural, at this point in time I would have wanted each and everyone of them dead.  Seriously, it would have been awful to be at this stage and being moved.

My husband wasn’t around for any of this, because well he had to be sent to a totally different floor to put on his surgery clothes.  And since he had brought his laptop bag and I a backpack with random “labor stuff” for the 9 hour labor, he had to also run all of that up to our room, as we were told we couldn’t just leave it in the pre-labor room.  He ran into the room as I was making the first push, and the anesthesiologist was pushing on my stomach.  I politely said “really do we have to push on my stomach?” and he walked away, so no big deal other than they tried to push my baby out for me.  They did cut me, and there were like 10-12 people in the room between 2 obgyns, midwife, nurses, anesthesiologist, and the pediatrician.

I got to hold the baby, then they took him to get cleaned and weighed, and then he was brought back a few minutes later to nurse and bond with me. After that I was told we would go upstairs and he to the nursery for the next 2 hours to do all of the “baby stuff” that comes after birth… which wasn’t the 4 I had been told, so that was nice.

Either way, I’ve have a wonderful, sweet little bundle of joy… finally!

Being Brasilian– finally

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So I often joke my husband is Brasilian…he’s not he’s just really embraced some of the cultural things.  If our nanny (we don’t call her a baba as well my son calls his bottles babas so it would get rather confusing), is home for any reason she’s on the job in his mind.  Yeah so what, it’s a holiday, or a Saturday or what have you.  If she is here, he’s more than happy to hand off any and all work to her… in fact I worry what will happen when one day we are back in the US.

But I digress, one area that he is not Brasilian in is his cheapness when it comes to the baby.  My husband’s a finance guy, so this isn’t new news to me.  In fact, one of the first phrases I learned in Portuguese was “mão de vaca”  or in English, basically someone who is so tight fisted, their hand is really a hoof.  So when I posted about Brasilian baby traditions, like lembrancinhas and door signs, he said,

Let’s just write the kids name on a sheet of paper and slap it on the door.  And just don’t tell anyone we are at the hospital, then we won’t need lembrancinhas!

His co-workers (male of course), all agree with him (finance guys of course).  You think I exaggerate slightly on the hospital visitors thing, but the other day our nanny came home and said that one of my son’s park-playmate’s mothers indicated that she wants to meet me, and what better time than to visit me once the baby is born.  Yes, the first time I may or may not meet this women is right after giving birth!

So since my son decided that he didn’t want to come out on Wednesday (seriously it’s been a week now!), I decided that I needed to thoroughly nest, maybe that would make him realize it was time to say hi to everyone.  And that’s basically involved me putting together a door sign and a bunch of little lembracinhas… just in case.

For the record I am VERY VERY not crafty…. so I’m quite proud of the fact that I hand made something.  Oh and for all of you non Brasilians, no we are not naming our kid Muleke… my husband just really wants to have that up on the door– the name part is interchangeable.

Anyway, I’m off to part two of nesting,  continuing to spray down the load of whites with WD-40.  Yes, my son as a pre-pregnancy gift decided to drop in a blue crayon, and everything is covered in tiny blue specs…

Inducing labor in Brasil

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There are many recommend methods for labor induction.

Considering there is a sex shop on every corner, Brasil should be able to help with spousal intimacy.

Long walks in the mall Brasil can help with that- hanging at the mall is somewhat of a pastime here.

Spicy food isn’t too big here, but they’ve got peppers a plenty.

Dancing enthusiastically- Brasilians love to dance, in fact I have been chastised more than once for not going dancing while here.

But you know what Brasil has to offer pregnant women the most?? Crappy streets.

Combined with the cheap shocks of my Honda Fit by the time I get to my doctors office the kid is practically shaken out.

In fact since we got here my contractions have been 5 minutes apart. I had to explain that I was totally fine BEFORE the ride over.

She said today is the day..if it’s not, I think my hubby and I have some driving in store.

Customs for Pregnant folk- Brazil style

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So on these hospital visits I found two things.  The first was noticeable that every door of the hospital rooms had a wooded or cloth plaque/decoration with the babies name on it.  In Brasil, people know what their child is to be called, WAY before they’re born.  In fact, most people find it odd that I don’t have a name for my son yet.  We’ve just been telling our nanny to refer to him as “Lief” although that is DEFINITELY not the name we’ll use, we just find it funny.

These door signs are intended to be brought home and used for the baby’s room as well, so thus why they’re a bit more permanent.  Of course my husband thinks that having something on our door is absolutely ridiculous. For a few reasons.  One our kid doesn’t have a nursery yet, as he’s sharing our bedroom until we move. Two, it’s not like we’re gonna have a whole bunch of people visiting us at the hospital, since we’re a bunch of anti-social folk 😉 and we’re not Brasilian.

The other hospital tradition I learned about was lembrancinhas.  While waiting for the valet, my son tried to dive off the back of the sofa.  A nice lady and her daughter helped me out as I’m pregnant, and people in Brasil help prego folk out when their kid’s being a bit of a rascal and your husband is grabbing the car.  In fact, the little girl reached into her mom’s bag and pulled out a little cupcake with a fondant baby on top, and a chocolate ganache cupcake on the bottom.  Interestingly my son immediately knew it was a treat, opened it up and devoured the fondant baby head (creepy I know). This cupcake was a lembrancinha that the family hands out to the visitors.  In the US, you usually have little gifts for the nurses and such at the hospital, but not normally things that get handed out to all guests that visit.  Again, luckily we’re not Brasilian, so I doubt many folks will be visiting us anyway…but I guess I’d better get started!


Hospital Visit try 2- Albert Einstein

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I’ve got to say, after seeing Sao Luiz, I’m very disappointed with Einstein.  Love that everywhere in Brasil is Valet, it was R$12 for an hour, and again LA doesn’t have hospital parking that cheap…especially valeted.  But I digress.  You could definitely tell this was the hospital preferred by the wealthy.  Just to get into the hospital they took photos of us, and we had to show our ID, and get name badges.  Our son has learned how to say web cam… one of those words that kids who live away from gparents learn early… and kept saying web cam as they took our photos.

Anyway, downstairs is a Cafe Viena. If you have ever eaten at this chain, well that’s the food you can order when you’re up in your room.  I have been telling my husband that after I give birth I want him to go get me sushi, so I thought it was interesting that they had a sushi boat… hmm between the increase security and sushi, Albert Einstein was starting to look attractive. Though hubby pointed out Sao Luiz is in the middle of many a yummy restaurant that also delivers.

As we headed up to the obstetrics floor, the hospital was noticeably different from Sao Luiz. First the elevators weren’t as slow as Sao Luiz.  But the place was SUPER crowded. Granted we visited on a Saturday afternoon, versus mid-day Wednesday. But the people were different. Everyone had an Iphone in hand, and there were kids strewn across the floor playing with Ipads.   Yes, a much wealthier crew of folks here.  At least Sao Luiz seemed to have a large waiting area for people with chairs.   They showed me that there were 4 small rooms for labor… smaller than a hospital room.  I couldn’t see inside, but I’m imagining it was about the size of the pre-labor rooms at Cedar Sinai, and if that’s the case #@$%$! no am I sitting in one of those things during labor.  Then they had the delivery room, which was pretty standard, other than the fact that they have glass windows, so if you want your family to stand outside and watch they can (creepy much?).  The windows did frost over if you wanted.  Also do you see the size of those beds? Flat, hard and kinda skinny.

The 4 Labor & Delivery rooms were being occupied, but our very un-knowledgeable guide told us that they’re the same size as a regular hospital rooms.  Seriously, she knew so little.  The Bercario was up by the hospital rooms, unlike Sao Luiz, there is not the main one and the floor ones.  In fact, if you look at the photo, you can kind of see the wood/paint on the window is weathered, this is definitely an older hospital that hasn’t been renovated recently.  Again, she told us it’s 4-6 hours until you see your baby after birth. BUT she did call and find out that we can opt out of the Silver Nitrate in the eyes if we wanted.

The hospital rooms sucked when you put them up against Sal Luiz.  They’ve about the same size as the ones in the US, and just as old an crappy as old hospitals.  The couch that the husband is supposed to sleep on was also narrower than Sao Luiz’s, and the shower just looked dingy. I didn’t even snap a photo of it, as the video I posted last time, pretty much captures it, other than the walls being ALL white.  We asked about suites, and they basically just open the door to the room next door and put a couch and stuff in there instead of a bed.

Not as cool as Sao Luiz my Albert Einstein friends.  Also if occupancy is at 85% they won’t do it.  No idea on price, as they said I could call back in and ask for pricing— um I’m here now, seriously you can’t tell me?  I get the general idea, Albert Einstein doesn’t have to try as hard, as well they are “the” hospital.

Another difference is instead of a permanent Cartorio, Albert Einstein has a table in obstetrics a few hours each morning.  Kind of odd.  In the afternoon it becomes the photo sales area.

So are you getting that I’m not really in love with Albert?  Maybe it was the fact that all of these wealthy Brasilians were sitting around everywhere, and their kids were running around like wild monsters … I’m assuming this is because the babas weren’t brought to the hospital, and parents weren’t used to watching their kids.  But seriously, there were kids literally running down the hospital halls yelling. As well as sitting all over the floors in the lobby area. I may or may not kill these children in the future if I see them after I deliver… IF I choose Einstein.  Maybe my American showing, as I guess Brasilians understand kids are kids, but after giving birth I want things quiet, as I’m sure my baby does as well.

So I’m still debating back and forth between Einstein. The main reason is the Labor & Delivery room.  The table that they do deliver on normally DOES NOT look comfortable at all, and I’m fairly sure it’s the same over at Sao Luiz.  So if I can get L&D I want that… even if my room is super crappy.  Also, the guide did confirm that the weekends are always busier at the hospital – as I noted last time. So maybe during the week things would be better . . .

However, upon further research Sao Luiz seems to have more pre-delivery rooms than Einstein, which makes me think that I have a better chance of getting one of the natural rooms than Einstein, as I can see them putting folks into the L&D rooms at Einstein when they get full. In fact, to get into a natural Sao Luiz room, supposedly your doc needs to let them know you want to have a natural birth.  Also, other than my husband pointing out that the couches he would sleep on at Sao Luiz look nicer, and he could sleep in the “adjoining suite” versus with me and the baby, the natural birth rooms (2), look SWEET, and the tub is divine.

Not sure if you can make out the stars on the ceiling, nice touch right? And there is the birth ball, and it just looks roomy.  Also, check out the bath.  If you’re into it, they do the water births here.  Not that I’m into that, but if you were…

Hospital visit 2- Albert Einstein

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So Albert Einstein is supposedly the best hospital in all of Brazil.  With traffic it’s like an hour to half an hour from us.  Notice I started with an hour, as there is always traffic here in Brazil! So thus why we debate should we have the baby at Albert Einstein.

Although I found this really great stat, that I didn’t know:

Experience of Motherhood Albert Einstein, for example, reveals that the CS rate was 18% among 239 women who had opted for the LDR between April 2000 and June 2001, and 195 normal births occurred in this group of patients.

Veja Abril

Yeah, Albert Einstein has 4 Labor AND Delivery rooms. Unlike Sao Luiz where it’s just Labor rooms, you may actually get lucky and get an L&D room, and then the C-section rate is lower than the rate I faced in California (30%).

I was all excited to see the hospital today and make the decision… but as per the norm in my life they called at 9:30 for our 11am appointment letting us know every room, every surgery room, and every Labor and Delivery room was full up. Seriously, is this what I’m going to face if I choose them?

Also, in a frantic paranoid state I googled when people in Brasil schedule C-sections. In the US it’s usually Mondays (fyi).  From googling in Portuguese- seriously honing this skill- it seems Thursday/Friday are the preferred C days here.  Then the doc has the weekend off, and the family has the benefit of friends and family not working and being able to visit in the hospital.

So this baby be born mid week darn it!!