Friday, March 29, 2013

Giving Birth in Karaganda

Sunday, 24 March 2013

In Kazakhstan, most your doctor and dental services are located in the hospital, which is convenient, but this surprised me my first year here, when my assistants every now and then had to miss work to go to the hospital. I finally learned that this simply meant they had to have a check-up or bloodwork, it did not mean that they were very sick.

However, one place is separate here—the birthing center.

My friend's brother-in-law picked us up and drove us, out of town and quite some ways to this birthing center. It was down quite a bumpy and pothole-filled road. (Remember, winter has just ended, so most roads in Kazakhstan are like this.)

They live near here, which is why his wife gave birth here. (I was wondering why it was so out of the way!)

When we arrived and before we went in, we waved at the windows and searched for the one she was in; she was sitting there with her newborn and waving back at us.

We went into the front lobby, which was as far as we got. They have a strict no-visitors policy. No one is allowed, not even husbands. However, husbands are allowed during labor, which is a new policy, I heard. This is all for hygenic reasons, I believe.

There was a video-phone for each floor, which cost 40 Tenge a minute to use. My friend's sister knew we were coming, so she came with her baby to the phone, and my friend talked to her for a few minutes, while she showed off her baby. Then my friend's daughter talked to her. But the baby started to cry so we let her go.

Meanwhile, her husband was filling out a form and passing along the baby presents and food we had brought.

When I expressed how stunned I was at this, and how awful it must be on the mother to be shuttered away like this, my friend said, no one felt like this. It was normal, it was what you expect.

Different cultures, different experiences, different expectations...

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